Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Joe Guzzardi The war in Afghanistan is too expensive to continue

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Joe Guzzardi

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:32 am, Mon Dec 13, 2010.

The distance from Washington, D.C. to Afghanistan is 7,000 miles. For embattled President Barack Obama flying high on Air Force One, that's just a hop, skip and a jump.

Although White House officials emphasized that the main purpose of Obama's early December journey was to visit the troops around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, that's only part of the story.

Since Obama badly wants to get away from the Capitol Hill heat generated by nasty in-party debates about extending the Bush tax cuts, no trip is too far. But Obama's choice of a spontaneous visit to Afghanistan only focuses the nation's attention on what is an endless and impossible war.

To win in Afghanistan, the commander-in-chief needs to have some objective other than to keep fighting and losing with the hope that one day the war will go away. We've been through that before in the Southeast Asian war.

More than 1,400 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan since 2001; a third of them lost their lives this year alone.

The increased deaths are tragic but not surprising. In 2009, Obama ratcheted up force levels to expand the Afghan military campaign. Many of the extra troops have been thrown into the toughest battles, including a major offensive in Kandahar, the southern Taliban heartland.

Whatever Obama's exit strategy may be, it doesn't consider public opinion. A new New York Times/CBS poll showed that 54 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. "should not be involved in Afghanistan now," while only 38 percent believe "the U.S. is doing the right thing by fighting the war in Afghanistan now."

Over the past decade, $337.8 billion has been allocated to the Afghanistan war. According to the website www.costofwar.com, Lodians have paid nearly $200 million of that total. The price tag for maintaining the Afghanistan war will soon pass expenditures for the Iraq war.

As if the staggering sum spent to keep an unpopular war going isn't enough of an headache to Obama, he now has to cope with the confirmation, long suspected, that the Afghani government is corrupt and inept. Wikileaks exposed that in the opinion of the U.S. envoy to Kabul Karl Elkenberry, Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai is paranoid, unprincipled and clueless about how to lead his nation out of the mess it's in.

Next week, the White House will release its updated Pentagon strategy. Early assessments of conditions on the ground are various degrees of terrible.

A year ago at West Point, Obama promised that "after eighteen months, our troops will come home." Obama added that he hoped by 2014, the Afghans "... are in the lead ... and that we are not still engaged in the combat operations of the sort that we're involved with now."

That's wishful thinking. Although the analogy isn't exact, it's impossible to have lived through the Vietnam War, America's longest, and not see growing parallels to Afghanistan. Like Lyndon Johnson and then Richard Nixon, Obama is determined to show that he won't be pushed around and pledges to do whatever it takes to win.

But the nation we're rescuing (Afghanistan) is, like Vietnam, a divided state governed by incompetents. And it's accustomed to successfully resisting foreign invaders.

That was the exact case in Vietnam. The United States couldn't outlast the North Vietnamese.

In the end, presidential rhetoric aside, foreign armies cannot defeat insurgents on their home turf.

What it comes down to is that Obama is unwilling to withdraw troops and risk being remembered as the president who the jihadists could claim they drove from office.

Fear of being perceived as weak is exactly what motivated Johnson and Nixon to fight on. An important lesson can be learned from Johnson's private 1964 analysis of Vietnam. In a taped White House telephone conversation about Vietnam, Johnson said, "I don't think its worth fighting for and I don't think we can get out."

Johnson's insightful realization aside, the Vietnam War continued for another decade.

Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District in 2008. He is currently a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization. Contact him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:

  • Joshua Hutchison posted at 8:35 am on Tue, Dec 14, 2010.

    Joshua Hutchison Posts: 57

    I couldn't agree more. I just watched "Restrepo" a movie about some brave young soldiers in Afghanistan. Their courage is inspiring. I find it very troubling that they are fighting in a place where corruption is so pervasive that most of the money we spend there end up in the hands of people who will use it to wage war against us.

     

Recent Comments

Posted 12 hours ago by Thomas Heuer.

article: Editorial: Let’s take a deeper look at …

This has been a real silly argument. Hot, uncomfortable bleachers is not a tradition worth maintaining if you can't upgrade an already up…

More...

Posted 12 hours ago by Simon Birch.

article: Letter: The path to Benghazi

Thomas: I was doing some work in the comments admin. Nothing sinister, although I'm sure someone will accuse me of conspiring with the Musl…

More...

Posted 13 hours ago by Jerome Kinderman.

article: Letter: Questions for Obama supporters

Oh sure, it was real alright. But if one looks at the polls right now regarding Barack Hussein Obama's performance, me things there's a tad…

More...

Posted 15 hours ago by stan taves.

article: Letter: Questions for Obama supporters

The load that the left bought -- but have yet to pay for -- is real. It's really real; but until you actually have to pay for it, you won't…

More...

Posted 16 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Obama may be protecting his chi…

Hey, you're right about something! That picture didn't change my mind one bit.

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists