Don’t Let Them Do It Again
By Jerome Grossman
The same neo-conservatives who promoted the mistaken war in Iraq, are now urging President Barack Obama to greatly increase the number of American troops in Afghanistan and to stay there as long as it takes to conquer that country and defeat the native resistance.
Led by William Kristol, the same ideologues who insisted that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass distraction and was involved with Al Qaeda, both not true, have sent an open letter to the White House describing Afghanistan as a "war we cannot afford to lose." Among the signers were a raft of prominent Republican politicians and military hawks as well as former Bush adviser Karl Rove and that "expert", former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
This effort comes as support for the war is falling. A CNN/ORC poll in August showed increased opposition to the war among 74% of the Democrats and 57% of Independents, with overall support down to 39%. Public opinion has been affected by the mounting U.S. death toll in Afghanistan, the multiple charges of election fraud, rampant corruption in the U.S. supported Karzai government, and the disinclination of the Afghan army to fight.
The American military forces in Afghanistan now number 62,000 in addition to the 70,000 contractors, mostly American, hired by U.S. corporations to provide food, clothing, shelter and other services for the troops. The suggested increase could bring U.S. forces and contractors as high as 400,000 at a cost that would exceed the trillion dollars we spent on Iraq. And we are still in Iraq in force. Our NATO allies won't help: they're cutting back their forces in Afghanistan.
Is the occupation of Afghanistan worth the effort? Al Qaeda is no longer there, Osama bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan, if he is still living. It is difficult for the only superpower, bestriding the earth like a colossus, to admit a mistake, but the cost in lives and money is too great for the miniscule benefits. America, go home from Afghanistan. Ignore the failed advisors that wasted so many lives in Iraq. Don't let them do it again.