Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Iraq and Afghanistan

The Register Guard of Eugene Oregon published an editorial, the type of which you can see in just about any newspaper. It caught my eye because it was brief, to the point and contained some basic stats which I found interesting.

For the first time since President George W. Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq in 2003, an entire month has passed without a single U.S. soldier dying in a conflict that has claimed the lives of 4,474 American service members.

The U.S. military is preparing to pull the last troops out of Iraq by the end of the year in accordance with a 2008 security agreement between the two countries. But there is troubling talk in Washington and Baghdad of extending that deadline to have U.S. troops remain longer in Iraq.

While Iraq was becoming less lethal, 67 U.S. troops died last month in the Afghanistan war, making August the deadliest month for Americans in the longest-running war in U.S. history.

Obama should also continue — and expedite — the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, site of a nearly decade-long war in which this country has invested $1 trillion, 10 years of effort and the lives of 1,754 U.S. troops.
I'm tired of the BS from Washington about withdrawing troops which usually comes with the disclaimer that the date could be postponed. What do the guys on the ground in Iraq think? Are they of the opinion that we're doing something worthwhile there? Or are they cynical and angry?

I suppose it's a good sign, no it definitely is a good sign that no fatalities happened in Iraq last month. My sincere prayer is that it may continue like that and somehow the government will do the right thing by the end of this year.

Afghanistan is another story. What in the hell has been accomplished there at such a cost? Was it all about Bin Laden and the Taliban? I doubt it, but whatever else it is, some strategic balance of power in the region or whatever, I say that's enough. Let's get out of there.

Unfortunately, as the August deaths indicate, it's going in the opposite direction. What do those troops think? Is the idea that the U.S. is policing the world in order to make it safer something that sustains them? Bush and Bush supporters always said that, but do people still think that way?

The op-ed I linked to made the point that in order to heal the economy at home we need to stop spending so much on these wars. That may be true, but to me there's a more important reason, a more human reason to end these ill-fated endeavors. We have young Americans dying over there and I honestly cannot see for what.

As has been said many times in defense of pacifist and non-intervention arguments, the best way I can see to support the troops is to bring them home, every one. We can spend some of that money on VA hospitals and PTSS clinics. We can invest in education and vocational programs for these young volunteers.

This is how we can make America strong.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment