Just two days after the alleged April 9 chemical attack in Douma, Syria, TV host Tucker Carlson asked Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker, “What is the American national security interest that would be served by regime change in Syria?”

Wicker responded, “Well, if you care about Israel you have to be interested at least in what’s going on in Syria.”  Carlson shook his head in disbelief before pressing Wicker to clarify his response.  Not surprisingly, Wicker offered no further justification for wasting precious American blood and, likely, billions—if not trillions—of dollars our country doesn’t have in order to exacerbate the intractable problems besetting the Middle East.  While we have become numb to politicians who lie, Wicker’s stark honesty shocks even the most disgusted political observer.  His candor and openness do have a limit, though.  In his response, Wicker forgot to mention how his comments may have been influenced by his fealty to his fourth-largest donor, NORPAC, self-described as

a non-partisan political action committee whose primary purpose is to support candidates and sitting members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives who demonstrate a genuine commitment to the strength, security, and survival of Israel.

Only the day before, on April 8, the Jerusalem Post reported Israel’s Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan as demanding that “the US must attack the Assad regime in Syria in response to the alleged chemical-weapons attack in Douma.”  Unlike Wicker, at least Erdan was promoting the interests of his own country.  In arguing that American boys who buy their coffee at gas stations should die so that Israeli boys who build apps don’t have to, Erdan trumped NORPAC’s Wicker.  While they mull that rhetorical defeat, Mississippi voters should read the analysis published in the April 10 Journal of the American Medical Association before heading to the voting booth.  The report, focused on the United States’ rising “Deaths of Despair” from opioids, diabetes, and suicide, ranked Mississippi last in life expectancy at 74.7 years.  Wicker’s misguided foreign-policy focus, combined with Mississippi’s withering population, argues forcefully for repeal of the 17th Amendment.  Before that legislative abomination permitted the direct election of senators, states would appoint officials who would promote their home polity’s interest in the senate, not the interests of Gilad Erdan, foreign countries, or the treacherous demands of the PACs supporting them.

Forbidden questions abound.  Where in the Constitution does the federal government derive the power to go to war in defense of a foreign country?  What treaty, ratified by Congress, binds the United States to the defense of Israel?  And to rephrase Carlson’s opening query, which parts of “American” and “national-security interest” does Wicker not understand?  Rent-seekers, lobbyists, and other fauna of the D.C. swamp will dream up daisy chains of unlikely events to scare the gullible American public into believing life-threatening dangers lurk in every corner of the globe.  What if Carlson had instead asked Wicker, “What is the American national-security interest that would be served by regime change in Venezuela?”  While we will never know the answer to that question, after reviewing the list of PACs who funded his recent campaign, I doubt he would have responded, “Well, if you care about Guyana you have to be interested at least in what’s going on in Venezuela.”  In one of his few coherent moments, fellow Southerner Jimmy Carter once hypothesized, “the national interest is not always the sum of all our single or special interests.”  Someone needs to teach Wicker that axiom before he votes to send American troops to die for a foreign regime.

Previous American interventions have failed to promote our national-security interests.  The rewards for our two Iraq adventures and our misguided bombing of Libya total roughly 4,500 dead and 32,000 wounded American servicemen, along with five to seven trillion dollars in additional national debt, depending on whose estimate you accept.  And forget about our 17-year war in Afghanistan for now.  Historians estimate some two to three million Vietnamese died during our then-longest war in Southeast Asia.  But Americans don’t like to think of the bad stuff war produces, like civilian deaths.  So they blithely dismiss Iraqi civilian casualties, whose estimates range from the Health Ministry of Iraq’s lowball 87,125 to The Lancet’s more credible 654,965; of the latter figure, 92 percent is supported by birth-certificate evidence.  We deserve a thank-you card from Iran for destroying her eternal foe.  The bombs we dropped on Libya opened a floodgate that allowed countless refugees, asylum seekers, and anyone else wily enough to pose as either one, to stream unchecked into Europe.  Congress rarely debates these unjust wars.  And it never asks the all-important question: What happens after the war?

What if a congressman had asked that question before our “police action” in Korea?  How excited would the American public—excluding the members of the military-industrial complex and congressmen with military bases in their districts—have been if they were told American troops would remain in Korea for the next 65 years, with no end in sight?  Our extended stays in Japan, Germany, Afghanistan, and Iraq provide a users manual for Syria’s conversion into our next useless vassal state.  Postwar U.S. foreign policy mimics the old syphilis joke: one night with Venus, and a lifetime with mercury.  Except mercury hurts only those it touches.  Our worldwide garrisons give those prone to hate us tangible reasons for doing so, as Chalmers Johnson reminded us time and time again.  How would you like to see Chinese troops massing on the Mexican side of our southern border to defend “immigrants”?

The Deplorables who voted for Stormy Daniels’ ex-boyfriend can now look back nostalgically at his 2013 noninterventionist tweets when President Obama flirted with sending troops to Syria.  “AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!” came the thunder from Trump Tower on September 5, 2013.  Fearing Obama didn’t HEAR him, New York’s gaudiest real-estate developer repeated himself four days later with “Don’t attack Syria—an attack that will bring nothing but trouble for the U.S.  Focus on making our country strong and great again!”

That was so five years ago.  After ordering missile strikes in April on three unverified chemical-weapons sites in Syria, the President tweeted an evocation of  George W. Bush’s banner day aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln in 2003: “Mission Accomplished!”  Trump’s cognitive dissonance mirrors the logic of Bush, who stood before that “Mission Accomplished” banner and said, “Our mission continues.”  With newly appointed National Security Advisor John Bolton whispering sweet neocon nothings in Melania’s husband’s ear, only a fool would assume we have seen the last American intervention in Syria.