Ukraine is officially America’s new forever war. President Biden, how does this end?

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Ukraine is the new obsession for Washington’s war hawks. ‘As long as it takes’ remains the mantra of the Biden administration regarding support for Ukraine. 

According to reports from September’s U.N. General Assembly meeting, U.S. and G-7 allies expect the war in Ukraine to continue for at least six to seven years. Of course, the other implication is ‘as much as it takes.’ No price tag is too high. No weapons system is off the table. All questions of risk and tradeoffs, along with those who raise them, are causally dismissed. 

Ukraine is officially America’s new endless war.

The deep state’s memory is short and rose-tinted. The Biden administration employs the same rhetoric and tactics that the Bush and Obama administrations used to conduct indefinite military engagement in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention undeclared intervention in Libya, Syria, and beyond. With billions flowing from the U.S. to the Ukrainian government in ‘economic support,’ long-term security guarantees, and the reconstruction effort already underway, we can’t help but feel a sense of deja vu. 

The United States is heading down the same path that mired us in Middle Eastern conflicts for over two decades, all without clearly articulating the objective or how victory is achieved. 

The time is ripe for a national conversation regarding a real strategy for Ukraine.

Last month, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the U.S. prompted members of Congress to ask ‘how he plans to win the conflict.’ Such deference to the interests of one foreign leader on the receiving end of a massive payday from the American taxpayers should be raising more eyebrows. The Biden administration extends President Zelenskyy unlimited access to America’s checkbook without accountability or communicating U.S. objectives and expectations for success.

When pressed on accountability concerns, the Biden administration heralds the Offices of Inspector General from the Department of Defense, State, and USAID now overseeing the $113 billion in appropriated funds for Ukraine. They point to ‘a decade of shared experience gained from joint oversight of eight different overseas contingency operations.’ 

The administration conveniently forgets to mention the spectacular failure of oversight of these overseas contingency operations, and how the same agencies in charge covered up instances of waste, at times deliberately misleading the American public on the progress made in Afghanistan and Iraq. They also fail to mention their opposition to a more formal structure of establishing a Special Inspector General.

Thus far, Congress has been content to placate Ukraine by punting on any conversation regarding an actual strategy. But the winds are shifting. Skepticism from some, and outright opposition from others, continues to grow among fiscal conservatives and foreign policy realists on additional supplemental appropriations. The time is ripe for a national conversation regarding a real strategy for Ukraine.

The American people deserve answers before more of their money is sent to Ukraine. To that end, we are introducing the Define the Mission Act, legislation that would require President Biden to submit a comprehensive strategy to Congress regarding U.S. involvement in Ukraine. 

Further, it would require the president to be upfront with Congress and the American people by explaining how Ukraine fits into our national interest, how much more time and money will be expected to achieve our objectives, and how much Europe plans to contribute to the war taking place in their backyard. 

Congress owes it to the American people, who are fatigued from decades of war in the Middle East, to hear from their president, not President Zelenskyy, the plan for U.S. engagement in Ukraine moving forward. 

‘As long as it takes’ will no longer suffice.   

Republican Mike Lee represents Utah in the United States Senate.

Republican Warren Davidson represents Ohio’s Eighth congressional district in the United States House of Representatives.


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