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America Needs To Get Out Of Afghanistan Too

By James Donahue

NBC News reported that Defense Secretary Gates and the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon admitted recently to President Barack Obama that there has never been an “end game” for dealing with Afghanistan. They said that was what they were working on, now that we have a leader smart enough to ask for it.

Mr. Obama’s plan to send another 17,000 soldiers and Marines to Afghanistan to bolster the overworked and super-thin number of forces we now have in that war-torn region is obviously necessary . . . at least for a short time. But after eight years of fighting guerilla Taliban forces that are not a military representing Afghanistan but a group of radical Islamic fighters hiding out in the desolate mountainous regions of neighboring Pakistan, and using attack and run strategy, we are no closer to victory today than we were when President George W. Bush ordered forces into that area.

We all vividly remember the shock of the 9-11 attack, and were easily persuaded to agree with Bush and our military leadership that we needed to send troops somewhere and strike back against what to us was an invisible enemy. When we were told the assault was the work of a Moslem radical group called the Taliban, who were hiding out in Afghanistan, there was little resistance to the Bush plan to send forces into that country and smoke them out.

The object was to get the ringleader, Osama bin Laden, and put that gang out of business once and for all. But things went haywire. We never caught bin Laden and he remains at large even to this day. We made some kind of pact with Pakistan, expecting that country’s military to deal with Taliban forces on their own soil. That didn’t exactly happen. And by 2003 Bush had most of our troops moved from Afghanistan to Iraq after shifting the focus of his “War On Terror” to unseating former CIA operative and Iraq dictator Saddam Hussein because Hussein didn’t play fair. And as it has turned out, there is strong evidence that Osama bin Laden also was a CIA operative, and may still be on the government payroll.

So you may wonder why America is financially broke, and yet spending billions of dollars every day maintaining two pointless wars without even having an “end game” plan . . . that is an objective for winning something and a plan for ending the fighting.

Indeed, we wondered all this before Bush sent troops into Afghanistan. At a time when questioning our leadership about its strategy following a blistering attack like 9-11 was not only unpopular, it probably got those of us who did it on a government watch list, we dared challenge the idea of attacking Afghanistan.

Even then we knew that it was not the Afghanistan government or its military that attacked us. And it was obvious that the militant group that pulled off the attack was a very smart gang of radical thinkers who almost succeeded in destroying the American economy in one fell swoop of three hijacked aircraft. That gang was not a large army, however. At the time, we proposed sending in a team of well-trained commando forces to find Osama bin Laden and his pals and bring them to justice . . . one way or another.

Such a response would have been quick and highly effective, and Americans would have been able to hold their heads up high again knowing justice was properly served.

Instead of doing the right thing, Bush, Cheney and the Joint Chiefs of Staff took actions that literally turned the world against us. We overthrew governments in both Afghanistan and Iraq, set up our own “puppet” and “democratic” governments in areas where tribal rivalries will never allow a democratic form of government to survive, and we appeared to be conducting a modern-day crusade by Christians against the Moslem people.

Instead of protecting America against radical Islamic terrorists, Bush & Co. created a whole new generation of very angry young men who are thinking already of ways to get even for what we have done to their homeland, their parents and their way of life.

American voters in November booted most of the bad guys out of Washington and replaced Bush with a very bright and articulate orator who may be able to talk us out of a lot of the trouble now brewing in that neck of the world. But it would help a lot of the new administration would show some courage and hold Bush, Cheney, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and a few of those military brass up for war crimes.

And first and foremost, we MUST bring our troops home from both wars. Issuing an apology for what the old guard did to them, and maybe helping them rebuild the stuff we bombed into rubble might also be a good gesture.

They say the United Nations forces, also in the area, are already working on the latter. And that is a good thing.