A Letter to Republicans

December 2, 2009

Dear Republicans,

I’ve heard your complaints and now I wish to address them one by one.

1. Obama never said the word “Victory.” That’s because there is no such thing as a victory in what we’re doing. We’re fighting the terrorists, not the country. And as I said in my post last night, there is no way to weed out every single terrorist. The military knows it, the President knows it. I’m surprised so many of you don’t.

Everyone was so enraged about not using “Victory,” I’m sure some pundit put it  in your heads that it should be said, but do me a favor, and imagine what a VICTORY looks like. Think about WWII, think about celebration and patting ourselves on the back.

Now think about the work we’re doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. What does a victory look like to you? Maybe you see life as a movie, that one Afghan who wears a symbol of terrorism, runs down a crowded dusty street as our GI Joe tries to catch up. There are a few moments when we all wonder, will this last terrorist escape?!?! Then Joe springs out of the dust to catch this man. Joe spouts off a wise crack before the streets erupt with cheering and US flag waving. All the Afghans cry and laugh and cheer because victory has finally arrived!

This is not what Afghanistan is about. In order to leave, we have to trust them with their own government. It will not be so much a victory, which implies one’s dominance over the other, but a returning to the people something that was already theirs.

2. Obama “dithered” I love this word, but its just not true. MSNBC fact checker (don’t skip this part because its MSNBC):

OBAMA: “Let me be clear: there has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war.”

THE FACTS: He is correct, despite being accused by former Vice President Dick Cheney of dithering by taking the autumn to review options for Afghanistan.

Dick Cheney is only hurting the Republican party. Not a single democrat is going to vote for him, he’s one of the most unlikeable people ever, he shot a man in the face. Republicans, you need to do something to shut him up. He’s not helping.

3. The money issue, which we’re just going to have to disagree on. If you want to know what I think, I can post it later.

4. The withdrawal date, which McCain and Palin (together at last!) both criticized. McCain said “that gives the wrong impression to our friends, it’s the wrong impression to give our enemies.” Sometimes I think you guys, republicans, want to just go ahead and take over Afghanistan, claim it for our own. The truth is, we have to leave someday, we can not stay there forever. It might not be 2011, but that is the goal. And the goal may have to be moved up or back, only time will tell, but we’re looking at 10 years. 10. And you guys just want more and more.

And if you guys believe that we are under a time frame of 12 months to win, if you’re using that number to keep on saying he dithered, how can you say you actually need more that 18? Pick a side and stick to it.

I can’t address fully 5. fewer troops than were asked for and 6. Address at Westpoint, but I will say for 5, McCrystal said it was enough and 6, I loved watching him look the troops that probably will be deployed in the eye and tell them what will happen to them. What their future will be.

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On Topic: Afghanistan From the Left

December 2, 2009

True cost of Afghanistan

Obama makes the announcement tonight. It looks like 30,000 more troops are being deployed to Afghanistan. I watched twitter as the “leaked news” hit and its fair to say every emotion is represented in the responses.

Here’s my bottom line: We all want out BUT how?

Maybe the more important question is WHY are we even there? I don’t ask this out of ignorance. I’ve heard the reasons, to protect the people from the Taliban, to stop Al Qaeda, to spread democracy…

Whatever reason you use to justify the last 8 years, by invading Iraq and Afghanistan, we entered 2 wars that go on and on and on with absolutely no end in sight (I’ll get to Obama’s deadline later)

No end because you can’t fight terrorism. Do you think that because we stationed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan that terrorism has stopped? Do you think terrorists live exclusively in those countries? If 10 people from a certain country bomb a major building in the USA again, does it give us the right to take over that entire nation?

Worst of all, people unconnected to the Taliban or Al Qaeda pay.

Do you want to know the cost?

Military deaths in Iraq = over 4000

Military Deaths in Afghanistan= over 800

Iraqi and Afghan civilian deaths= unknown.

We don’t keep records of the people we accidentally kill maim or injure, like this little boy or people celebrating a wedding

Or you can watch this documentary about how we locked up an innocent journalist in Abu Ghraib.

And you may be out there saying, “death is bound to happen in war” maybe you should tell me what these people did to deserve an invasion, to lose the ones they love. They shared a country with hate-filled extremists who committed horrible crimes and I don’t think what we’ve done will inspire a lot of love for Americans (Side note: I have spoken to army personnel who say the people do love the troops, but what about the boy who lost his father or the girl who watched her brother die? Terrorism is rooted in hate, hate sometimes rooted in bitterness)

Maybe money moves you more than human lives. Before the end of the year nearly 1 TRILLION dollars, more than Viet Nam or WWII, (this is after inflation adjustments) will be spent on Iraq and Afghanistan.

All that said, I’m against this thing, but I don’t want to pull out all at once. I think we need a plan. The decision he’s made shows patience, cooperation and courage. Patience in dealing with a mess this country was in, cooperation with the generals who asked for more troops and courage to go against his own party.

I loved what he said tonight: America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect to isolate those who destroy, to strengthen those who build, to hasten the day when our troops will leave, and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner and never your patron.

God Bless the troops in their efforts to bring this war to a close. I can never repay your sacrifice and I’m praying for you all.

Be sure to check out Hanna’s post from the right.