Plain Talk – 6.29.10
Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 8:01 pm
By: Nicolle Crist, Guest Columnist
Americans don’t like being told what to do, especially by foreigners. Yet for some reason, we think we’re unique in that attitude and that the rest of the world loves to be told what to do and even welcomes it.
We’ve occupied Afghanistan for over 9 years now, longer than any other war, and it’s just now starting to dawn on us, that maybe the people of Afghanistan don’t really want to be told what to do by foreigners either.
When I was growing up, the enemy was communism. I grew up hearing adults argue about the Star Wars Defense System and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
Those adults came of age when preventing the spread of Communism in Vietnam, Cuba and South America was considered a noble cause.
Today, we not only trade freely with The People’s Republic of China, but we’ve also shipped our middle class jobs to the largest Communist country in the world. Why? Is the concept of Communism no longer considered evil in America? No, that can’t be the case.
I don’t know why. I wish just one elected official could explain it to me. What I do know is that we’ve ignored our economic dependency on a communist nation in order to fight our new enemy – terrorism.
General Stanley McChrystal was supposed to be leading our troops in the fight against terrorism in Afghanistan. He was supposed to be implementing the Counter Insurgency strategy known as COIN.
It’s just another name for nation building. Instead of recognizing that it is a job the military cannot do alone, without the help of diplomatic and humanitarian aid organizations, General McChrystal got complacent and revealed his long and deep-seeded disdain for American rule of law in Rolling Stone magazine of all places.
President Obama was right to relieve General McChrystal of his command. The American military gets its orders from civilian leadership, our Constitution demands that.
Finally, it appears as if Republicans and Democrats have one more thing that they agree on – civilian leadership of the military is the American way and it is not going to change for some rouge, outspoken general who thinks he knows better than everyone else.
Stanley McChrystal may be out, but Afghanistan is back in and the recent drama will hopefully refocus all American on what is it we are actually spending $3 billion dollars a month for.
Yes, while unemployment is the highest we’ve seen it in decades and while counties right here in West Tennessee are facing unemployment rates of more than 20 percent we are spending $3 billion a month in a country that by all reasonable intelligence estimates has less than 50 or so Al Qaeda members.
We are supposed to be hunting for Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Perhaps if we had focused our intensity and resources on Afghanistan nine years ago, we could have achieved success, but that ship has sailed and now all that we are doing is half-hearted trying to bring stability to an otherwise failed nation-state.
We are fighting some of the very same people that we trained to fight the Soviet Union – but after the Soviet Union failed, so did our support for Afghanistan. We propped them up, pledged our support and left them hanging out to dry continuously since the 1940’s.
Is it really any wonder why the people of Afghanistan don’t trust us? Would you?
The most important thing that General McChrystal and the Rolling Stone article offers is the cold hard truth from the Generals own mouth, “…f or every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.”
He calls it insurgent math. We had our chance to stabilize Afghanistan many times over the past 60 years and we blew it. It’s time to bring our troops home, let them be with their families and focus on rebuilding America.
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