Letters to the Editor

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AFGHANISTAN: Time to get our troops out

Letter by David A. Thomson, Gig Harbor on March 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm with 21 Comments »
March 1, 2012 1:11 pm

I have long ago come to the conclusion that “nation building” in a backward country like Afghanistan is a fool’s errand.

We did not go into Afghanistan simply to enlarge an empire or to gain access to some strategically important resource. We went in after we were attacked by al-Qaida terrorists on Sept.11, 2001. Al-Qaida had its base of operations in Afghanistan with the blessing and support of the government controlled by the Taliban.

We quickly defeated al-Qaida and the Taliban and established enough control over the country for the Afghan people to elect their own government. Foolishly, we permitted Shariah law to provide the legal underpinning of their new constitution. But, be that as it may, we accomplished our objective and should have brought our troops home.

But we didn’t. We decided to stay, to improve the country’s infrastructure, and to educate and train its citizens to govern themselves and to form a stable and democratic society. A noble purpose no doubt, but doomed to failure.

Now, after the expenditure of much blood and treasure, we find ourselves being attacked by the very people we have been trying to help. This makes my blood boil. I say bring our troops home and inform the government that, in the process of withdrawal any attack by their people on our troops will bring a devastating response. It’s time to go.

Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. It isn’t known as the graveyard of empires for nothing:

    Afghanistan has, after all, stymied would-be conquerors since Alexander the Great. It’s always the same story; the invaders — British, Soviets — control the cities, but not the countryside. And eventually, the invaders don’t even control the cities, and are sent packing.


    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains
    And the women come out to cut up what remains
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.
    —Rudyard Kipling, “The Young British Soldier,” 1892

  2. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    I agree, let’s leave ASAP. Tired of wasting American blood.

    But, let’s melt sand before we leave so we don’t have to return.

  3. taxed – drop on nuke in Afghanistan (or any other Muslim country) and the US will be hip deep in Jihadists.

  4. bobcat1a says:

    If there is a more mindless expression of blithering idiocy than “melt sand” it has completely escaped notice by science.

  5. It doesn’t appear as if everyone in the US wants to get our troops out of Afghanistan. In fact, it looks like the conservatives want to stay a while longer….

    “U.S. policymakers should also be aware that leaving Afghanistan prematurely would likely lead to the revival of al-Qaeda and increase the threat of further attacks on the U.S. homeland.”


  6. There is absolutely NO reason for the United States to have ANY involvement anywhere in this region. We will NEVER turn a 12th century culture that contributes nothing to the modern day world, into a warm, fuzzy democrat of freedom. It is a total waste of ALL our resources.

    People, apparently our government as well, forget that one reason the Cold War ended was because the Soviet Union was bled dry in all its resources with a prolonged, fruitless involvement in that region.

  7. Dcr628 ” It is a total waste of ALL our resources.”

    Let’s NOT forget that among those “resources” are 1,908 U.S. citizens, American military men and women who have been killed in the Afghanistan War since that war started in 2001.

  8. hansgruber says:

    Oh Muck-

    March 1, 2012 at 11:55 pm

    It doesn’t appear as if everyone in the US wants to get our troops out of Afghanistan. In fact, it looks like the conservatives want to stay a while longer

    Are you calling Obama a conservative?

    Obama, urging patience, says Afghan war worth fighting

    Barack Obama commits 30,000 troops to Afghanistan

    Obama commits 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan

  9. If the Koch Brothers told them to the Heritage foundation would produce evidence that the earth was flat and the center of the universe.

    Hans – to be perfectly fair and balanced Obama is also withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan

  10. Read the article at the link I posted hans. Here! I will read part of it to you, but after this you are on your own …

    “President Barack Obama’s laser-like focus on timelines for troop withdrawals over the past two years has signaled that the U.S. is more interested in getting its troops out of the country than in achieving its goals.”


  11. Muckibr says, “Let’s NOT forget that among those “resources” are 1,908 U.S. citizens, American military men and women who have been killed in the Afghanistan War since that war started in 2001.”

    Exactly my point Mukibr. Keep in mind that I am one of the biggest sabre rattlers you’ll ever know….AS LONG as it is for a proper cause. Frankly, if this country and our leadership hasnt got the backbone or the will to wage an all out, total decimation of an enemy then we should NEVER be involved in a war anywhere. The ONLY “exit strategy” is VICTORY, and it doesnt have to take a decade.

    Frankly if we are going to piddle those “resources” away playing world policeman in a region that will never be thankful or democratic in the way we would like to see, then its time to call it a day and bring those kids and other resources home before we too are bled dry.

  12. Pacman33 says:

    FEB. 23, 2012 AT 9:23 AM

    “Let’s be honest and admit that the Muslims have a right to be pissed at the U.S., especially when our soldiers throw their Holy Book in a trash fire. What Evangelical Christian is just going to calmly say “Oh, that’s nice.” when someone throws his or her Holy Bible into a fire? Oh no? Then how about you toss your Bible into a cesspool and see how you feel about that!”

    Why is muck speaking on the topic of American military men and women?
    Their value to muck has been made quite clear.

  13. pacadoodle33, As a Vietnam Era Veteran of 7 years in The United States Army, father of a U.S. Navy Submariner and two U.S. Marines, son of a career U.S. Air Force NCO, grandson of one of the first to join the U.S. Coast Guard, I will comment on the U.S. military any damn time I feel like it. You, pacadoddle33, know where you can shove your disrespect for the United States Armed Forces!

  14. Pacman33 says:

    Disrespect for the United States Armed Forces would be apologizing for and making excuses for crazed extremists murdering Americans for their defacing their own Holy Book which is considered Blasphemy and punishable by death under Islamic Law.

    Have some decency if you can’t show respect. You don’t have to love your country, it is only decent to keep your hate for country to yourself while we have troops overseas.

  15. Muckibr, as often as we tend to disagree, THIS time I’ll simply extend a knowing nod. You and I and those like us understood when all these “experts” were blowing bubbles in their baby bottles.

    And, you obviously enjoy a rare batch of offspring. Be proud.

  16. concernedtacoma7 says:

    What we can do is support the few, proud, 0.1%’ers who fight an enemy determined to die to fight us overseas. .

    We (the US military) destroyed the enemy’s safe haven shortly after 9/11. Since then, radicals from all over the world, part of the original AQ movement, have fought us in AFG rather then in mainland America. We feel safe going to the mall, a sporting event, ect. because a small percentage of Americans are willing to bring the fight to the enemy.

    This enemy still exists. So do the small portion of Americans willing to fight them on their turf. Bring the troops home and the fight will move here (hopefully not but being a realist). We have an open border to the south and an increasingly PC nation. Be careful what you ask for when you demand all troops come home. Remember this is their choice.

    Before you judge, I placed a uniform on today and will place one on tomorrow (no, I am not NG and work many weekends).

  17. Pacman – you confuse an understanding of the “enemy’s” mindset with disrespecting the military. And, you confuse criticism for the mistake made by some individuals in uniform with criticism with the military at large.

    The military has a very important role. When they screw-up it is not disloyal or unpatriotic to acknowledge the screw-up.

    ct7 – Your conclusions are based upon speculation and circular logic: you conclude that we are safer here because you believe the rationalization put forward by the Bush Administration for being in Afghanistan and Iraq. Since al Qaeda is not based in a nation but rather fluid there is no real evidence that attacking the Taliban in Afghanistan is why they haven’t launched a similar attack like 9/11 on American soil. I would credit the efforts of FBI and other homeland investigations for keeping us more secure more than I would troops in Afghanistan – this is not a denigration of the troops, just a more direct reasoning.

  18. ConcernedTacoma, first of all, as a veteran from probably before you were born, you have my respect…REAL respect, not the faddish yellow ribbon stuff.

    That being said, your statement of fight them there before we fight them here has been applied to every conflict in the last century.

    Here is my thought. How about we bring you kids home, stay out of foreign entanglements that we were warned against over 100 years ago, and mind our own business. The argument of course is out there that muslim extremists want us gone either way so they will still come here.

    Based on that argument, how many terrorist attacks has Canada suffered? What animosity does the rest of the world have toward Canadians? Virtually none that I know of, becuase they MIND THEIR OWN AFFAIRS.

    Its just a thought that I think is high time our government at least take into consideration.

    I am open to education on this.

  19. Dale – unfortunately the Arab world (I’m including Afghanistan, even though they aren’t Arabs) has a much better understanding of their own history and a much longer memory than we do. I’m afraid that, even if we unilaterally pulled out of the region, they would still view us with considerable suspicion and, yes, hatred due to the Cold War interventions of the CIA throughout the region that stifled democratic reform and ultimately helped the theocrats to take and maintain power.

    Still….it is worth a shot because our current policies clearly aren’t working.

  20. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Lets not ignore the fact that America has been fighting Muslim terrorists for hundreds of years (‘The shores of Tripoli…’). On a grander scale, western powers have been battling them forever.

    In today’s global society we cannot be isolationists.

    DCR- Canadians are fighting in AFG right now. America’s Hat is more than likely not viewed as threat or influence in the ME.

  21. Well then Concerned. That being the case, and both you and Beerboy are correct on your last comments in my opinion, we have only two options then…

    Continue the centuries old, long drawn out conflicts, or take care of it in one fell swoop with an exercise in overwhelming military power.

    The last of course we haven’t got the backbone so it will never happen. So, we may as well just accept it and hang on for the ride.

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