Tonight's Point Taken debate explained: Is the US doing more harm or good in the Middle East?

After 60 years, 5 major conflicts, and more than $300 billion in aid, is US presence in the region doing more harm or good? Point Taken producer Kousha Navidar breaks down the issue into one word to get you up to speed on both sides of the issue ahead of tonight’s debate.
  1. M: Measure. How do you measure “good” or “harm?” Different metrics tell different stories. Between 2004 and 2010, American aid helped Afghanistan’s life expectancy grow by 20 years. On the other hand, independent investigation of drone strikes has concluded they’re killing more “unintended targets” than the US admits.
  2. I: ISIS is one factor we shouldn’t ignore. The US underestimated this group at first, but more recently our military has made progress. Airstrikes have killed more than 20,000 ISIS fighters. Could that intervention suppress terror?
  3. R: Rationale. Security, oil, democracy: What are the right reasons to stay involved? The answer’s important, because America has enormous influence. We spend more on our military than the next 7 countries combined. Saying US military is strong is like saying shawarmas taste good. (They’re delicious!) Deciding when & how to use power is important.
  4. E: Expense, in dollars and in lives. Since the War in Iraq began, more than 4,000 American soldiers and 150,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed. “Good” and “harm” - can one even exist without the other?
  5. There you go: Tonight’s debate can be explained with the word M.I.R.E. Where do you stand on this week’s topic?