As of today, President Obama is reconsidering the idea of sending more U. S. soldiers to Afghanistan. Last week, he was going to send more troops; as requested by his commander in the region.
I was listening to NPR last week and someone was asking if Afghanistan was becoming a quagmire, like Vietnam. "Becoming
a quagmire?" I said, to the radio. The war in Vietnam lasted roughly from 1965-1975 and the war in Afghanistan has lasted from 2001-2009, which is about the same length of time.
I work with a man named Leon, who is on inactive reserve status with the Marine Corp. He's been to Afghanistan three times and he told me they want him to go back again. Leon is a field commander, and he said they offered him a promotion if he goes back. He isn't required to return to Afghanistan, but the Marines want his expertise. Leon's been in combat many times, and he's never been hurt. "Not even a scratch" as he says.
Leon's a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academey in Annapolis and he is well aware of how futile the war in Afghanistan is. The terrain there is some of the world's roughest, therefore easily defensible; the Afghan people don't want us there, and they've successfully repelled every imperialist nation that's ever invaded their country (this is the first attempt by the U. S., but Great Britain's fourth attempt).
After 9/11, the American people, in general, wanted Bin Laden's head on a stake. And all we had to do was to send some of our military commandos, along with some mercenaries, on a covert mission to do just that: find him, kill him, and bring back his head. Then Bush could have put his head up on a stake right at ground zero for the world to see.
You don't announce to the world that you're going to go after him; like we did, when we sent troops to Afghanistan. You sent commandos to do the job covertly. Apparently, Bush, Cheney, and company didn't really want Bin Laden (maybe Cheney knew he was only a patsy?), they wanted a long-term strategic foothold in the most valuable geopolitical region of the world: the oil rich Persian Gulf region.
The fact that we have built permanent bases throughout the region and have no plans to leave—ever—infuriates the Russian who, all things considered, have been fairly tolerant of our incursion into the region. But they don't like it and I don't blame them for not liking it. That oil is a lot closer to them than it is to us. Why can't we just focus on the oil we have in our own hemisphere? For that matter, why don't we leave that whole side of the world alone to sort out their own problems? And I don't buy the: "But we're in danger of the terrorists from over there!" argument. We won't be if we will butt out of their business.
If the U.S. would focus on our own side of the world—the Americas—we would have more than enough to keep ourselves very busy. As it is, we tend to ignore everyone over here but ourselves, because we're too focused on Israel, India, Iran, China, Russia, etc… Let those people—who speak hundreds of different languages—try and sort out their own problems. We can focus on America—North, Central, and South. We have an entire hemisphere to ourselves, and we only speak four different languages: Spanish, French, English, and Portuguese. It has to be easier for all of us to work together to solve our problems than it will ever be for Euro-Asia-Africa. They will always have difficulties simply because they have so many different people's, cultures, and languages to deal with. But we don't; we have four.
Forget Afghanistan. Let's bring the troops home from there and from Iraq. And let's begin to focus our attention more on the Americas, which is, after all, our home.