Promoted from the diaries by Rosi
Are American political leaders so insecure that they need bombs bursting in air to give proof that our flag is still there? With two large wars in progress, and many more small to huge ones in our history, apparently the answer is “Yes.” How little they learned from Vietnam and other past wars. The flag remains in place, their judgment not so much.
Americans have trod heavily through the Middle East with ever-changing goals, creating new enemies with each step. In Finkel: The Good Soldiers, about the war in Iraq in 2007-8, President Bush says our actions will permit “this country to survive and thrive as a democracy.” A Colonel keeps saying, “It’s all good.” The soldiers say [extremely foul words.] The locals say, “If we talk to you, our neighbors will kill us.” So much for victory.
Al-Qaeda and their partners are terrorist hoodlums who should be treated as criminals. Fighting them in Afghanistan is like Wackamole; they run across the border to Pakistan, and they already have sites in at least three other countries to which they can move. We have drones and Special Forces which, with local permission and local help, should be used to end these criminal activities – not a big, occupying army which is prey to hidden IED’s and which depletes our treasury.
Achieving victory through war is illusory when we “nation build” and meddle in other countries. In Afghanistan in the ’80’s we supported the Taliban against Russia, then we pushed them back and installed a corrupt, inept government, then we lost interest and turned to Iraq, and now we are back with renewed effort battling the forces of evil. We likewise fought two wars against Iraq and played a role in their earlier war with Iran. So much for our victory efforts. Ultimately, it is the Afghan and Iraqi people who on their own initiative and in their own way will determine their future.
New Jersey recently buried Sgt. Marcos Gorra, 22, of North Bergen. He was on his first tour in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division. 95 NJ soldiers have died in the two current wars. Many, many more are returning to our state with PTSD, severe brain injury, and amputated limbs, facing an overcrowded and inadequate VA medical system and a life of despair. We honor their efforts but we lament that their losses and suffering were so unnecessary.
These two wars undermine our domestic needs and further increase our Federal budget deficit. With certainty we can say they have created over 5,000 US soldier deaths and over 450,000 returning veterans to be treated by the VA. We have bequeathed a great deal of suffering to the Iraqi and Afghan people, perhaps as many as 800,000 deaths. It is with NO certainty that we can trumpet any victory now nor in the future.
The press pays little attention to these wars. Republicans, some Democrats and our President are complicit in prolonging them. President Obama “surged” our troop level in Afghanistan and created a troop reduction date which later turned out to be ephemeral. If in Iraq there is extended wrangling over forming a new government or violence increases, our president might well be under pressure from Iraqi or US military leaders to extend the stay or not reduce troop levels. That is not what he campaigned on, and it is not what he should do. Forget Victory. NJ citizens and our Senators and Representatives should be adamant: “BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW.”