Given the status of the ongoing wars in the Middle East, the invasions by Putin, the ruthless terrorists in Central Africa, (among other equally distressing situations) I have come to the conclusion that we must change the game book in order to adequately protect U.S. citizens.

To begin with, we have to “clear the decks.” By this I mean that we have to issue an edict: Notice to all volunteers, NGOs, missionaries, Peace Corps men/women, Doctors Without Borders, English teachers and others involved in the commendable efforts to help the unfortunate people in such nations, that they have 90 days to pack and leave. Period. They, their families and their employers/sponsors have to understand that after 90 days, we will be bombing relentlessly whenever and wherever we need to, to defeat those Muslim extremists.

I don’t want to see U.S. troops on the ground anymore — we have done that and as a result, in many ways, we helped make the mess we are in today. (“Hearts and minds,” right?) This is not an even playing field. Our rules don’t work in their world. And while I am sorry that many local civilians will also be killed, that’s the cost of a war — every war. But at least we will not be bombing our own people when we blow up another hospital or school — either on purpose or by mistake.

Think about it: What makes us Americans so high and mighty that we believe we have the right/obligation/calling to go into another country and “help the masses” with their lifestyle issues? Do the Germans work in the West Virginia coal mining towns? Are there Brits volunteering as teachers in the hollows of Kentucky? Do the Danes provide medical services in upstate Mississippi? Are Belize citizens building churches and schools in North Dakota? I mean, really! What makes us so empowered to provide these humanitarian services in these other countries? And we are often not even invited! We just do it because we want to.

I think the time has come to stop investing in other damaged countries and let them rely on themselves, their neighbors, and their sympathizers (if any), to help them with these challenges. After all, the result of all of our hard voluntary work is often hatred towards us — more and more hatred — the “Ugly American” is a real thing, not just a movie.

On the other hand, once the 90 days have passed, there will be unfettered ability to wage war, without our government having to apologize to families, rescue hostages, negotiate with terrorists and such. With sufficient warning, anyone who walks across a border “by mistake” while hiking, is abducted while teaching, is arrested and charged with spying while reporting, etc., are all on their own. End of story.

We can’t wage a war and rescue civilian hostages at the same time. That is ridiculous, expensive and puts our own elite military at risk. Let the U.S. government get out of this rescue business and leave the “good works” to those who have that calling in those countries. And if there are none of those people in those countries, so be it. We have enough to worry about here at home. It is time to come home and let us properly take care of business.

Brian Opert

commercial mortgage banker

New Orleans