Afghanistan

There is a general consensus in the nation now that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a blunder.  While disagreement continues over whether those who orchestrated and advocated the war acted in good faith or not, most now agree that, in hindsight at least, the war was ill-advised and unnecessary.  Tens of thousands of people have been killed in this unjust and unnecessary war, including over 4,000 American soldiers.  Many thousands more have been maimed for life.  The unintended consequences of the fiasco include the decimation of the 2,000 year old Iraqi Christian community, and profound international distrust of and ill-will towards America.  And the enormous financial cost of the war has contributed to the economic disaster we are experiencing, and will be a debt burden of our country for generations, if not forever.

Barack Obama was elected President, in part because the Iraq experience so soured Americans on the folks in command of the Republican party. 

So it is with a growing sense of uneasiness, if not a scary sense of deja-vu, that many Americans are receiving the warmongering rhetoric of Mr. Obama.

In a speech last week to the VFW, Mr. Obama sounded frighteningly like John McCain, or Dick Cheney:

The insurgency in Afghanistan didn’t just happen overnight and we
won’t defeat it overnight. This will not be quick, nor easy. But we must
never forget: This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity.
Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left
unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven
from which al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans. So this is not
only a war worth fighting. This is a — this is fundamental to the defense
of our people.

Of course, we don’t need to be told that the Taliban won’t be defeated “overnight.”  Almost eight years into the war in Afghanistan, with almost 800 American soldiers killed there, and almost $225 billion spent, everyone who is paying attention knows that.  And some of us, who are especially paying attention, recall what has happened to every empire in history that has tried to conquer Afghanistan, including, most recently, the Soviet Union.  It is for good reason that Afghanistan is called “The Burial Ground of Empires.”

Over 70 American soldiers have been murdered in Afghanistan in the last 60 days.  July was the deadliest month since the war began, and August will likely surpass it.

So all the President is telling us is what we already know.  There is a lot more that he isn’t telling us, however, most likely because he has no clue himself.

The war won’t be “quick” and won’t be “easy,” he tells us.  So how unquick and uneasy will it be?  Will we be in Afghanistan five more years?  50?  100?  Until we just can’t borrow any more money?  And how many American lives and how much American treasure does “this will not be quick, nor easy” translate into?

At this point there are almost 70,000 American soldiers in Afghanistan, and another 130,00 in Iraq.  The Obama adminstration has called for increasing the troop commitment to Afghanistan, where the insurgency is stronger than ever.  The U.S Army-Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual estimates that effective counterinsurgency requires a ratio of troops to population of 1:50 and requires 12-14 years.  There are 35 million people in Afghanistan.   And are we willing to commit 700,000 troops to Iraq for 12-14 years, at a cost of several trillion dollars?  The truth is that we couldn’t do that, even if we had the stomache for it.

What we have not heard from either this administration or the previous one is a description of our endgame.  Is this a war that is winnable?  If so, how?  And at what cost? 

And why must our soldiers continue to be murdered in Afghanistan, while our nation is driven into bankruptcy?  The President’s claim that “this is fundamental to the defense of our people” rings hollow.  It simply cannot be true that the “fundamental defense of our people” depends upon who governs Afghanistan.

It is time to end this insanity.  No more Americans should kill or be killed in Afghanistan.  Let us be done with chickenhawk politicians of either party and return America to the foreign policy of the founders–noninterventionism.

Love Wins

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