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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Obama or Romney on Death in Afghanistan = CLUELESS

Found buried under September news about topless Kate, Obama/Romney gaffes, and election polls:

Two Marines were killed and several more injured when Afghan militants armed with rocket propelled grenades and small arms breached the perimeter of the main U.S. Marine base in southern Afghanistan, following a rocket and mortar attack on the base that is shared with British forces.

Nine others were wounded.

“Six Harrier fighter jets were destroyed and two more damaged during an attack on Camp Bastion/Camp Leatherneck that also killed 16 Taliban, Friday September 14, an International Security Assistance Force's Joint Command spokesman told Fox News.”
(“Deadly Attack on Base in Afghanistan Destroys Five Aircraft, Damages 3,” Fox News, September 15 2012)
Wearing U.S. army uniforms, the attackers toted automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests. One of their teams was able to breach the perimeter fence, at one point, according to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

The insurgents inflicted considerable damage around the base, while six refueling stations were destroyed.

And the next day came this report:
'A gunman in an Afghan police uniform killed two British soldiers in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, a day after insurgents dressed in U.S. Army uniforms attacked a military base, killing two American Marines,'” military officials said.

Britain's defense minister said the two soldiers, from 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, were killed at a checkpoint shooting in Nahri Sarraj district of Helmand province in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban have their strongest roots. NATO said earlier that the gunman was wearing a uniform used by the Afghan Local Police, a village-level fighting force overseen by the central government.”

(Deb Riechmann, “2 British Soldiers Killed in Afghan Insider Attack,” Associated Press, September 15 2012)

And, then, the very next day came this report:

Four U.S. troops fighting with the NATO-led alliance were killed in another suspected 'insider' attack in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, bringing the total number of deaths this weekend caused by Afghans turning on their allies to six.”

(Jessica Donati, “Six Die in Weekend 'Insider' Attacks in Afghanistan,” Reuters, September 16 2012)

At least 51 foreign military personnel have been killed in "insider" attacks this year, deaths that have badly strained the coalition's relations with Afghan forces as it moves towards handing security responsibility to them by the end of 2014. At least 12 such attacks came in August alone, leaving 15 dead.

The rise in such attacks has led to the training of new recruits to the Afghan army and police being suspended.

With foreign combat troops withdrawing from the increasingly unpopular and expensive war, the enormous cultural divide still separating Afghans and their allies after 11 years of conflict has become more of a concern than ever.

My Take

When he was running for president the first time, Barack Obama declared that the war in Iraq was wrong but that the war in Afghanistan was right. Consistent with his assertion, when he came into office he doubled down on U.S. troop levels, twice surging additional forces into the fray. Now, after four years in office, Obama has announced the U.S. pullout will take place at the end of 2014.

In his presidential run, Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger for the White House, contends Obama was wrong to put a deadline on our combat presence because that only encourages the Taliban to wait us out before vigorously pressing to reassert control. Maybe he was wrong. But what is Romney's plan? Your guess is as good as mine.

Does either Obama or Romney have a clue to fighting the 2012-2014 war in Afghanistan? New sacrifices are being made every day. 2014 is years away. I doubt if either man honestly believes our invasion of the country will produce any semblance of a stable government. Is any present U.S. strategy working in Afghanistan? Evidently not – read the gloomy headlines if you can find them. Sadly, people have grown accustomed to stagnant, ineffective policies. Too few seem alarmed.

I contend the war in Afghanistan should be over TODAY. Our troops should come home immediately. Didn't the United States enter Afghanistan in response to the September 11th attacks arguing that Osama bin Laden and his group Al-Qaeda were behind the attacks and could be located there? The campaign was certainly not to free Afghanistan, since the U.S. agreed that the Taliban could remain in power so long as they handed Al-Qaeda figures over.

Now, bin Laden is dead. Isn't the mission accomplished?

Evidently not. Our armed forces are screening and training Afghan security troops for the 2014 withdrawal. Neither our government leaders nor our military officials are able to judge the loyalty of these so-called “security” forces or future leaders of Afghanistan. So, what is happening to our troops? They are being forced to sleep with the enemy. They are dying at the hands of Afghans that they are trying to protect. This mission is senseless and leads to the insane, traitorous slaughter of Americans.

I believe a parent with a son or daughter stationed in Afghanistan should be outraged. In fact, all Americans should be concerned. Here is a war in its second decade that seems like a back-burner issue these days.

An American President must ask himself what gains have been attained after invading Afghanistan. True, Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Troops; however, he was killed in Pakistan in 2011. Then, Pakistani militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, vowed retaliation against the U.S. and against Pakistan for not preventing the operation.

Certainly, the terrorist attacks have not ended. The “war on terror” in Afghanistan seems to have made the world more insecure, a more dangerous place to live in.

There are other reasons beside the growing “green-on-blue” attacks that suggest the alliance’s policy and strategy in Afghanistan is at best stagnant. Even provinces once thought relatively secure are suddenly flaring with new combat. The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has failed in the past, is failing now, and will fail in the future until someone stops the madness and brings the troops home.

And, let me ask you this question as improbable as it may seem. Is an integral part of the U.S. war on terrorism capturing a new, abundant source for heroin? Without a doubt, America does help finance a regime and an economy dependent on drugs.

Figures from 2008 showed since the U.S. invasion on Oct. 7, 2001, opium output had increased 33-fold (to over 8,250 metric tons a year). At that time, the U.S. spent $177 billion in that country alone.
The United States has the most powerful and technologically advanced military on Earth – GPS tracking devices that can locate any spot imaginable by simply pushing a few buttons. Yet, is any tracking even happening? (Thomas Retterbush, “Did the US Invasion of Afghanistan cause a Heroin Epidemic In Europe and America?” Zimbio, March 3 2012)
Despite our presence there in 2007, Afghanistan supplied 93% of the world's opium, according to the U.S. State Department. Illicit poppy production brought $4 billion into Afghanistan, or more than half the country’s total economy of $7.5 billion, according to the United Nations Office of Drug Control (UNODC). And, still, bumper crops keep flourishing year after year, even though heroin production is a laborious, intricate process.
An obstacle to getting rid of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan is the reluctant collaboration between US forces and Afghan warlords in hunting drug traffickers. In the absence of Taliban, the warlords largely control the opium trade but are also highly useful to the US forces in scouting, providing local intelligence, keeping their own territories clean from Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents, and even taking part in military operations. The U.S. military turns a blind eye to opium production as not being central to its anti-terrorism mission.
Since the Taliban allegedly makes Afghanistan's opium business easy, offering credit, seeds and fertilizer to farmers to grow the drugs that fuel the Taliban insurgency, the US authorities were determined to change that momentum by offering similar incentives to steer farmers away from the drug trade and toward alternative, legitimate crops, like grapes, wheat and saffron.
How's that policy going?
Well, production experienced a decrease in 2010 but it was a result of disease in poppy plants. But even with the hit in production, Afghanistan was able to provide the world with 80% of its opium. According to the U.N., opium production in Afghanistan rose by nearly two-thirds in 2011, and farmers' revenues soared.
Ten years after the 2001 US-led invasion to drive the Taliban from power, Afghanistan still produces 90 per cent of the world's illegal opium, funding much of the militia's insurgency despite an expensive Western eradication program.
President Karzai’s cousins, Ahmed and Rashid Popal (former mujahadeen and heroin smugglers), have paid off insurgents to protect supply routes through their security firm Watan Risk Management — dollars that most likely make their way into the opium trade. What isn't being said about the spike in opium profits is that Pentagon dollars have indirectly made their way into Afghanistan's opium trade through military contractors.
What about the opinion of our President, Barack Obama? Here is what he told troops at Fort Bliss, Texas, on August 31, 2012:
"With our allies and partners we've taken out more top Al-Qaeda terrorists than at any time since 9-11. And thanks to the courage of our forces, Al-Qaeda is on the road to defeat and Bin Laden will never again will threaten the United States of America," Obama stated.

"So make no mistake, ending the wars responsibly makes us safer and makes our military even stronger. And ending these wars is letting us do something else, restore American leadership. If you or anyone are trying to say that America is in decline or that our influence is waned, don't you believe it," Obama said.

"Because here is the truth, our alliances have never been stronger, we are leading on behalf of freedom including with the people of Libya who are finally free from Muammar Qaddafi. Around the world there is a new attitude toward America, new confidence in our leadership. When people are asked, which country do you admire most? One nation always comes up on top, the United States of America."

Oh my, those words certainly satisfy my need to understand why we are still in Afghanistan. Do you question their validity? I do. It's time our leaders face the truth instead of spouting unfounded patriotic doublespeak. We must leave Afghanistan now so that more United States men and women do not give their lives under false pretenses.

I love and respect our American armed forces, and I understand our government's need to aid those who share our concerns for freedom and justice; however, “saving face” or “preserving respect” by keeping troops in Afghanistan under the present conditions is criminal. We all should be enraged that so little attention is now given to a terrible war. Obama or Romney? I abhor both of them for business, money, and politics as usual. Excuse me, but I say "Fuck the polls and write in Ron Paul."
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