The past 18 years have seen little more from Washington, D.C., than unproductive arguments. Elected officials don’t solve problems, they argue endlessly about solving them while accepting campaign contributions. In exchange, they do the bidding of whomever is willing to further the officials’ political careers.

That is well demonstrated by the stubbornness of those who refused to accept that war in the Middle East would not benefit the United States as a whole. In fact, that was the advice from Marine Corps Intelligence Schools and the Naval War College, conveyed to Washington while I was being educated and trained by them in the late 1990s. Instead, large-scale military operations that aimed to transfer control of the region to U.S. allies were expected to further motivate groups like the one responsible for the attacks of 9/11. A political decision to invade was made — one likely supported by large campaign donations. The fact that it was later embraced by military personnel, dutifully following orders, is irrelevant.

The national debt was about $6 trillion in 2001. It now exceeds $22 trillion, thanks to bad decisions like that one. According to the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University, the government has spent or is obligated to spend $5.9 trillion on those wars and estimates interest payments could total over $8 trillion by the 2050s.

Change is desperately needed in Washington — one that removes incentive for politicians who make decisions that excite those who make large financial contributions while ignoring the advice of experts.

Jamie Beaulieu, Farmington