I will start this post by repeating the title. Please Mr. President. Anyone who may have read my postings during the past four years plus may have the impression (unless they read all of them carefully) that I simply blast away with criticism for the GOP. I have been blunt at times but mainly because I am above all interested in the truth and in a deep sense that Government actions that directly affect the ACTUAL lives of American citizens (military or not) and civilians in other places on the planet should not be carried out for "political" reasons or for any agenda controlled by corporations (oil being the main influence carrier and our own military industrial complex as well).
LIVES ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO BE USED OR SACRIFICED UNLESS THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER CHOICE!
The attack carried out against America on September 11, 2001 was without question a horrendous act and all Americans should have been outraged. But, this was hardly the first attack but rather a continuation of sporadic actions against America and her interests and allies that has been going on for decades. Too few of our citizens understand the history of America's actions across the middle east region or understand the reaction from many in that region to what they perceive as a long standing invasion by the West on their land and their culture. This posting is not strictly about that aspect but I only wanted to expand the horizon of thinking about what is at its core a cultural issue as much as it is about oil (well, maybe not that much).
When the "news" that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out by the group known as Al- Qaeda and that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for funding and planning the attacks, although 15 of the 19 terrorists were Saudi Arabian citizens (how did our Government publish complete dossiers on all these men so quickly after the attacks?) or actual conclusive evidence has yet to be presented (many terrorists individuals or groups like to take credit for deadly attacks whether they themselves did the act or not). There are lots of questions still on the the table about Osama Bin Laden and in fact the relationship between the powerful Bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia, The Saudi Royal family and the United States (or more specifically, ties to oil interests here and some powerful Americans), but that is just another area not for this posting.
The fact that Osama Bin Laden was allowed to use territory in Afghanistan (after the heat became a little too much in the Sudan) created the perfect opportunity for a double retaliation by the United States (through a military strike). A little background first. During the Afghan-Soviet Union conflict of the 1980's America was covertly (meaning unofficially) involved in providing critical weapons and intelligence support to the "freedom fighters" battling for control of their country against the "evil empire" (to quote former President Reagan). For more than 10 years, these tribal warriors (along with a large group of "freedom fighters" from neighboring areas) finally prevailed and the mighty Soviets withdrew. The scene that remained in Afghanistan was chaotic with the nation in ruins, hundreds of thousands dead or wounded and no real form of central Governmental control (has that country ever actually had a central control?). Afghanistan sank into a civil war but war and conflict is certainly nothing new to the modern heritage of the country or its people. It was 90 years ago following the THIRD Anglo-Afghan war (the first back in 1839) that Afghanistan finally regained it's status as an independent nation from the United Kingdom (just another western invader). There have been Kings and assassinations and coups and foreign influence from countries close by and far away and through it all there have been the tribes and their fighters, who have been labeled at various times as "freedom fighters" or hired guns or terrorists or just dedicated citizens of their country always willing to fight for their beliefs. No doubt the primary reason for American involvement in the Afghan war against the Soviets was motivated by the continual struggle to win the cold war or cripple the Soviets at every opportunity (much as covert Soviet support was used to aid our "enemy" in Vietnam). The Afghans were mere pawns in a much larger battle and many in that country have realized this fact over the years. But, American involvement in Afghanistan has always had another motivation which was and is to develop and protect potential oil and gas pathways in the region. Please Mr. President, be the first to actually stand up and be honest about that fact!
As I mentioned, following the Soviet conflict, Afghanistan was a nation in ruins and the mighty United States (having succeeded in their immediate geopolitical goal) walked away and did very little to assist this devastated nation and its people to try and rebuild their country. But the Afghan people are, if nothing else, a strong and determined group with long memories. They have been attacked and conquered and manipulated for literally thousands of years. It is part of their culture and something badly under estimated by the United States for decades most recently by former President Bush but now President Obama appears to have fallen into the same sinkhole. Please Mr. President, think this through. I have to believe that our new President (and probably those before him) has been counseled or at least studied the history of Afghanistan in much more depth that I and MUST realize that the task of bringing "our" form of government or religious beliefs to the people of Afghanistan is an exercise in "unreasonable expectations".
Mr. President, you waged a campaign with a main theme of ending our involvement in the debacle that the previous administration got us into in Iraq which as we know had nothing to do with the attacks of 9/11 but somehow morphed into a major battleground for the "War on Terror" and has yielded thousands of American dead, tens of thousands of wounded and hundreds of thousands of family and friends here at home to bear the tremendous burden this so-called war has caused, not to mention the hundreds of billions of dollars spent during the past six and a half years. The Government of Iraq and the majority of the Iraqi people decided even before our 2008 elections that it is time for the Americans to leave and at least we are in the final planning stages for getting out. The situation (once we blasted out the regime of Saddam) became an internal struggle for control of a sovereign nation and it will remain so after we leave. Iraq, like Afghanistan has been an area invaded, dominated, used and abused for a very long time and there was no chance that we were going to fundamentally alter the religion or cultural structure there.
The new administration, President Obama in particular, at the very least, should finally be the one to be honest with the American people with respect to our ever increasing commitment in Afghanistan. WHAT IS THE PLAN??? What are we trying to do? We hastily invaded Afghanistan a scant six weeks after the attacks of 9/11 (we sure seemed to be gearing up for the invasion even before 9/11, didn't we?) and "if" our plan was to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden why, oh why did we not cutoff the exit routes into Pakistan BEFORE we invaded. The mission (if we wish to call it that) appeared more about toppling the Taliban than dealing with those we believed responsible for the attack of 9/11. Why? I believe that answer goes back to our "relations" with the Taliban well before the attack on U.S. soil.
I mentioned earlier that following the Afghan-Soviet conflict, America and its allies basically walked away from that poor and destroyed country. This led to the rise of the Warlords in various regions of the country (of course armed with "modern" weaponry that WE provided) and the country descended into numerous internal struggles leading to even more civilian deaths. By 1994, the Taliban (with the backing of Pakistan) began to take political and geographic control and by 1998 they controlled about 95% of the country. The Taliban instituted severe restrictions of the "freedoms" that we hold dear and created an oppressive fundamentalist environment. WE didn't show the outrage that made it way to the surface years later for two main reasons. First, we didn't really care and second and most important to understanding what all this is really about, America in concert with a few of our oil giants still held out hope that we could negotiate with the Taliban to gain access to the territory to build oil and or gas pipelines. During 1999 and all the way to 2001, the Taliban resisted our overtures and America has never liked it when another country denies us our "rights". My contention is that as soon as Bush became President active plans were being made for the military overthrow of the Taliban and the fact that Osama Bin Laden (former "freedom fighter" supported by the United States) had been given refuge there and then the timely attacks of 9/11 provided the perfect situation fully supported by American outrage (why weren't we outraged to that point following the 1998 Embassy bombings or the attack on the USS Cole in 2000?) to invade and eliminate the uncooperative Taliban. Of course, once again we under estimated the situation. Did we really believe that by bringing in a "puppet" Government to control the Capital and building some schools and a few roads (this was already tried and it failed then as well), we were going to win the "hearts and minds" of a nation steeped in the history of conflict and betrayal? Did we really believe that the Taliban minded people were just going to go away or become enlightened about the benefits of a free and open society? The underground involvement in Pakistan (another storm on the horizon by the way), the scattering out to the territories by the Taliban faithful to wait out our firestorm, and the tribal lordships present throughout Afghanistan provided virtual assurance that any central Government inserted in the capital was doomed to irrelevance at best and complete failure at worst. When the Bush Administration made the fateful decision that Afghanistan was simply not enough to feed the appetite of our awakened military machine and set their sights on Iraq (and of course all that oil under that soil), it created a perfect opportunity for the Taliban to regroup and slowly gain their control back. The most recent estimate is that over 70% of the country is now under Taliban control once again.
PLEASE MR. PRESIDENT slow down our recent escalation of troops being deployed to Afghanistan (already double the number since you became President!) and THINK THIS THROUGH! Again, what is the plan? At the very least you owe a full and honest explanation to the American people, before the KIA numbers from Afghanistan spiral upward. ANY more death is unacceptable without at least convincing yourself and the rest of us that there is a CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER to the United States. The American military should not be placed in harms way for the purpose of nation building (something many of our former leaders always insisted we wouldn't do, but always seem to do anyway) or other economic agenda pushed by large business interests.
The "fight" against Islamic extremists or other individual enemies we may have will never be defeated by using our traditional military assets and especially not by flooding a country like Afghanistan with more and more troops who simply become targets for potshots and roadside bombs. These brave men and women are in harm's way TONIGHT, Mr. President! It was probably nice that you were able to have some quiet vacation time with your family this past week or that the Vice-President was able to attend the Little League World Series today or that our entire elected Congress (and their staffs) have been able to take an entire month off (during a time of "War" and other National crisis) but during all of that rest and relaxation, American lives have been lost because our military has been ordered to combat by their leader. Eight months into your term of office, you no longer have the luxury of our involvement in Afghanistan (or Iraq) being blamed on the former President. Yes, he got us into it but you sir, and only you, now have the power to get us out! Please do not begin to use the "excuse" that to leave Afghanistan would somehow dishonor those that have already fallen. It wouldn't at all. I suggest that a decision by you, Mr. President to remove our troops from harms way (except for a few elite squads with the sole mission of finding and taking out Osama Bin Laden) would be not only the correct thing to do but would also honor our military men and women. They will continue to fight and die, as ordered because that is their job. YOUR job, Mr. President (as I posted to former President Bush on numerous occasions) is to protect this nation from immediate threats and to protect the members of the armed forces that you command. The "threats" to America are many and could come from almost anywhere, Former President Bush talked often about protecting America and its people yet he never did manage to close the holes in our borders that at this moment could be the avenue for "terrorists" or weapons of great harm to gain entry into our country, nor did he ever fully implement a full system of checking our ports to eliminate the possibility of items that could kill American citizens here at home. Will you, Mr. President?
I realize the economy and now the issue of health care has dominated the national discussion and those are very serious subjects as well and need thoughtful attention and decisive action, but please do not let those things distract you from making the necessary decisions with respect to our foreign military engagements. The lives of our troops and the numbing effect ANY death has on their families must be more important than the price of a house or the failure of a bank or almost anything else I can consider. We have somehow let the reporting of casualties become little more than a report of numbers, like the stock market ticker or the upcoming weather report and that is not acceptable!
PLEASE, MR. PRESIDENT, it is truly; TIME TO THINK AGAIN.