Monday, April 13, 2009

Somebody Help Me Out Here

“I do not ask for this support lightly. These are challenging times, and resources are stretched. But the American people must understand that this is a down payment on our own future.” - President Obama

When I first read this quote, I thought it a poignant reference to the bailout funds or to our investments in the stimulus packages, but I was surprised to learn the quote referred to President Obama’s decision to deploy 4,000 additional troops (and more money) into the war in Afghanistan. I must be missing something.

I have been iffy about some of our new-presidents policy but I really need some explanation about this. What exactly are we doing in Afghanistan? It took me a while to remember how all this started; 9/11 led to bombs in Afghanistan (because that’s where the terrorist were right?), then we moved on to Iraq (because that’s where the oil was… I mean money for the terrorist + WMD’s were right?). Pretty quickly the world realized that Iraq was, at best, based on false assumptions and, at worst, an elaborate grab for oil but no one really recanted on Afghanistan.

Have any of you been to Afghanistan? Well neither have I, but I have seen pictures… and movies… and let me tell you, it’s nothing worth fighting over. It is virtually a wasteland full of rock and opium, but its most abundant resource seems to be the pride in its fighting people. Since 1970 superpower’s have been treating them like punching bags. First Britain, then the Soviet Union and now the noble US have bombed and shot the living daylight out of these guys… and they don’t seem to give up. Reading the news the other day got me thinking about all this again. I had forgotten, and most of you have probably forgetten as well, that 13 of the 19 terrorists involved in the Twin Towers attack were residents of Saudi Arabia. It is obvious why we would not go bombing Saudi, but we should offer at least a similar hesitancy to the Afghans.

So Al-Qaeda trains in its mountains, are we willing to tear up the floorboards to find the mouse? Like Iraq, the number of civilian and previously un-involved (meaning non-terrorists prior to the invasion) citizen casualties vastly outnumber the number of ‘terrorist’ deaths. This whole thing is like the broomstick in Fantasia, while trying to destroy one deviant we spawn a million others. Focusing our efforts on destroying the group that we think wronged us (despite the fact that this group is much more complicated and diverse than we initially imagined) is simply making other groups pop up in response to our own ‘terror’-like behaviors.

I guess I am just a little flabbergasted that with all the other problems going on in the world we are still committing resources to a war that I have yet to see a point in. I really am hoping someone can explain this one to me, because I must have forgotten a long time ago why it is we went into that place.

Oh wait, now I remember, after an attack on American soil we could not just sit around twiddling our trigger fingers. We had to bomb SOMEONE, why not the Afghans.


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