BY EDWIN E. VINEYARD
Mr. Obama, just get us out! Get us out of Iraq! Get us out of Afghanistan!
There is little being accomplished by keeping over 100,000 troops and a large corps of civilians in Iraq. Those people really do not want us there. Their legislature is referring the matter to a public vote. Why wait around?
It would be better to leave now rather than under the terms of the agreement made by George W. Bush, which keeps us there another year and a half. They seem to have their own internal religious fights to wage. There is no point in our being in the midst of those.
Some may say that it is sobering to Iran if we have an unoccupied fighting army close by their borders. We don’t really plan on invading Iran, do we?
The problems in Afghanistan are not as much different from those in Iraq as we might tend to think. We went there to get Osama bin Laden by taking sides in a civil conflict. The Taliban government had given bin Laden safe haven while he plotted against us, and they refused to turn him over. We joined with the northern regional rebel forces to put the Taliban out of power.
But both the Taliban leaders and bin Laden took refuge in the wild country of Pakistan, from which the Taliban continues to harass our occupying forces. It is their country, not ours. We are occupiers, not really welcome there.
If the Afghan people do not care enough about their freedom to do their own fighting against the Islamic fundamentalists, then that ceases to be our problem. Their present government is corrupt. Their elections are rigged. We should not keep wasting ourselves in that war of occupation.
It seems increasingly evident that our principal reason for being there – to hunt down and kill Bin Laden – has become subordinate to fighting with the Taliban. Maintaining a base in Afghanistan for pot-shots from drones at Bin Laden and his cronies holed up in Pakistan may be of some value. But that idea should be re-studied. There are other ways of taking pot-shots from afar, if we have the intelligence to aim them.
It seems as though we are again off course. Some call it “mission creep.” Obama does not appear immune to the afflictions of Bush. We did not go to Afghanistan to occupy their country, nor to take care of their governance problems for them. That is their business, and we should get out of there shortly and leave it in their hands.
We have not adopted the Afghan or Iraqi people for welfare projects, and we can not afford decent care for our own people right here in the U.S. If we have not given up the notion of nation-building by now, we should do so.
The United States should plot its future without occupying land and facilities around the world, and without keeping large military forces lodged in foreign lands.
Our 30,000 man force in South Korea is not sufficient to deter an attack by hordes from the north, but it is instead a liability in case of such a new war. They could be captured in a situation much like Bataan and Corregidor in World War II. They should not be exposed to such vulnerability. Prosperous South Korea can defend itself.
If we stop involving ourselves in ground wars in the Middle East, we will no longer need facilities in Germany – nor the forces stationed there throughout the cold war. We have widened NATO commitments right up to Russia’s front door. That is neither wise nor necessary. There is no support here for war with Russia if they invade obscure nations in central Europe, especially territories of the former Soviet Union.
There is a mood in this country for disentangling ourselves from foreign conflicts and foreign alliances. We have had our fill of sacrifices for fights in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Our own national security must be directly at stake. There will always be a safe haven somewhere from which our enemies will plot against us. We cannot occupy them all.
We possess the technology to make pin-point strikes from afar on those who threaten us. An earlier missile attack on Bin Laden’s camp came within an hour or so of doing what we have not been able to do since. Let us use our technology as we did then and in Kosovo, and improve our intelligence.
Meanwhile, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 51% of the people do not believe that the Afghan war is worth fighting. Only 24% support increasing troops there, while 45% say troops should be reduced. Only 47% say they support the war there.
Obama should take note that 70% of Democrats say that Afghanistan is not worth American blood. It appears that the Militant Moderate is much more on target than anticipated when he first wrote this essay.
– Dr. Edwin E. Vineyard, AKA The Militant Moderate, lives in Enid, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer