“War is hell.” William T. Sherman
It is not so bad for those who instigate the conflict from the comfort of padded chairs in comfortable, well-appointed offices. It is not even so bad for those who order others into harm’s way, from command posts well back from enemy lines. But for the young men and women who confront an armed enemy or their deadly bombs on the front lines daily, war is indeed hell.
War should only become an option when all other methods of restoring peace have failed: meetings of ambassadors, leaders, negotiations and mediation. It should only be undertaken when the enemy is literally at the gates and the safety and security of the homeland is in imminent danger.
Invading another nation halfway around the world, because some elements among the civilian population may pose a threat to the homeland at some future time is completely unacceptable. This was the action decided upon by George W. Bush and his administration in 2001 when they attempted to pursue Osama bin Laden into Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is a rough country consisting of desert, hills and mountains. Its people are poor tribesmen, mostly illiterate, trying to eke out a living from the bleak terrain that is their home. They practice the Muslim religion and endure a way of life they have followed for many years.
Since “Operation Enduring Freedom” began in 2001, approximately 2,220 NATO troops have been killed and many more wounded. The number of Afghan citizens killed is not reported but they number in tens of thousands, including those who died because of displacement, starvation, disease, exposure, lack of medical treatment, crime and lawlessness resulting from the war.
Understandably, every death deepens the hatred the Afghan people feel toward the invaders from the West. Ironically, by this ill-advised invasion, the NATO coalition may succeed in bringing about the very acts of terrorism it sought to suppress.
Not only the United States troops but all NATO forces should withdraw from Afghanistan as soon as possible. This is one conflict that cannot be won. as Russia learned in the 1980’s.
Americans and citizens of other allied countries are becoming increasingly disheartened and impatient with the lack of progress. President Obama wants to begin withdrawing United States troops in the summer of 2011, hoping that Afghan soldiers will be able to take over policing duties in some areas. However, General David Petraeus, the commander in Afghanistan, feels this goal is unrealistic.
“It is going to be a number of years before Afghan forces can truly handle the security tasks in Afghanistan on their own,” Petraeus said.” Reuters, June 29, 2010.
In these times of global economic hardship, when the United States debt stands at $13 trillion , it cannot afford a war which is costing $3.6 billion a month.
The major threats to homeland security in NATO countries recently, have originated from Muslim extremists either born in those countries or holding visitors’ visas. The enemy is not only at the gates; it is within our towns and cities.
Our military forces are desperately needed at home. The sooner they can be repatriated, the better off both the NATO coalition countries and the Afghan people will be.
All accessed November 18, 2010
Reuters, June 29, 2010
Top general plays down Afghan war expectations
Afghan war cost grips both parties