I'm reading some news this morning and I find myself getting madder and madder. First, some headlines reaming the General in command of Afghanistan because he's going all over talking about how more troops are needed over there or we're going to lose the war. Critics are saying it is "better for military advice to come up through the chain of command." Well, maybe if the President would grant the General an audience it would come up through the chain of command! Did you know that The President has spoken to the Commanding American General in Afghanistan one time since he's been president? One. Time. Never mind the obvious practicality of talking to the guy in charge of a war -- what kind of message does that send? What does that leave the troops fighting this war to think? What message is that sending to the widows? the orphans? their buddies left behind?
While the President and his wife are flying in luxury to European capitals to wine and dine with foreign delegates and champion the cause of our athletes, American troops are dying while the President contemplates strategy and declares that his decisions will not be driven "by the politics of the moment".
How about by some discussion with the people in charge? How about with some recognition of how guys are dying while he takes his sweet time trying to figure out what to do, as a guy who has no experience in knowing what to do with a war?
More headlines referred to a latest attack on some remote posts near the Pakistan border. Eight Americans were killed and four Afghans, with 11 more Afghani police taken hostage by the militants before they fled. The Taliban claimed responsibility. These outposts "are among many in Afghanistan's remote and volatile regions that U.S. forces plan to pull back from in a bid to turn the war around".
Turn the war around to what? The other side? "The new strategy calls for U.S. troops to pull out of these remote areas and concentrate instead around Afghanistan's population centers."
What do you think is going to happen if we abandon the "remote" areas? Is there something I'm missing? Some pieces of information that I don't have privy to that would change what seems so obvious? If we patrol the cities, and leave the rest of the country to the Taliban, what's going to happen as soon as we leave the cities? What motive do decent Afghanis have to work with our efforts to bring peace to their country, knowing that just a few miles away, Taliban forces are just waiting for us to leave, and to grant punishment on those who cooperated with us while we were there? What's happening to those 11 Afghani police forces who were kidnapped this weekend during the raid on their post? What ordeal are they going through right now, as you're reading this? If they're even still alive. And all because we didn't have enough guys out there to watch their back. And now they're talking about taking those few guys away, too.
Well, we should. We should just take the whole lot of them away, unless we're going to hunker down and do what it takes to do this right. Right now. The outcome is inevitable if we don't, so why waste any more lives fighting a war that our President doesn't even consider important enough to make a decision on. It's disgraceful. Disrespectful. Above all, disheartening.
Here I haven't been heard from on this blog for a couple of weeks and you come back for this. Well, I was mad. And already I'm calming down, but while I was still mad I thought, "I'm going to write about this, da#@it, and get it down. Because later when I'm not so mad I won't want to." And that's what happens. We get mad, but then we get over it. Because we have our own lives, our own responsibilities, our own pressing daily minutiae. I don't think we get over it, but we do get on with it -- on with things we have control over. And the war in Afghanistan isn't one of them.
March 30, 2012
5 years ago