If there is one area that disturbs me the most about President Obama (who I sincerely hope gets re-elected), it is in his handling of the war in Afghanistan. I, like most of the people who voted for him, had hoped he would see the senseless slaughter going on there, and realizing that nothing was being accomplished (except to create new enemies of the U.S.), would put an end to it. Unfortunately, he just continued the failed Bush policy, and actually extended the war by several more years. The current ending date is the end of 2014, but there is no assurance that will not be extended again.
I know the lie that was told to get us into the war -- that we had to do it to get Osama bin Laden. I even fell for that lie myself back in 2001. But back then people didn't realize (and weren't told) that the Taliban government had actually offered to turn Osama over to Western authorities, as long as he was tried by an international court in the Hague (instead of given a kangaroo court in the United States). That was a reasonable offer, and should have been accepted. But that wasn't good enough for the Bush administration. They didn't want justice. They wanted revenge -- and they wanted it bloody.
And we learned recently that even bloody revenge didn't require an invasion and seemingly endless war in Afghanistan. Navy Seal Team Six showed us that a small team of properly trained professionals was all that was needed to get the job done. Osama is now dead. But the war and the killing goes on, and nothing seems to be getting accomplished. We should have looked at the Russian intervention in Afghanistan and learned from it, but we were blinded by our American exceptionalism -- sure in the knowledge that we could accomplish what no other country has been able to do.
Well, we haven't accomplished any more than the Russians (or numerous other invaders) did. But the killing goes on. Last Saturday, the death toll of United States soldiers reached 2,000. That's the official count of our own government. The independent organization, icasualities, puts the American death toll at 2,125. In addition, other coalition members have lost 1,066 of their soldiers (including 433 British soldiers). Also, 10,000 members of the Afghan security forces have died, and a minimum of 20,000 innocent civilians have died (although that figure is probably much higher).
Most of these deaths can be laid at the feet of George W. Bush, but President Obama must accept his share also -- since he should have ended this insanity soon after taking office. But the killing goes on. When will it be enough?
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