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Will Afghanistan be Obama's Vietnam?

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Posted: Friday, May 22, 2009 10:00 pm

Since George W. Bush's final days in the White House and during the first days of Barack Obama's administration, fatalities sustained in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have all but slipped from the news.

On Memorial Day, it's appropriate to bring the focus back on those lost lives.

From the time Obama assumed office, an estimated 40 Americans have died in Iraq combat. The total combat deaths for Iraq and Afghanistan dating from the war's beginning, according to the Department of Defense, is approximately 4,300 and 685, respectively, with an estimated 100,000 injured.

While every single life lost in this misguided war is tragic, what could be more agonizing to a family than to learn that their loved one was killed in Iraq this week - more than six years since the pointless conflict began in March 2003?

All the rationale to support the Iraq War has long ago been exposed as a pack of Bush administration lies that was foolishly embraced by a spineless, disengaged Congress.

As News-Sentinel readers are well aware, during the Bush presidency, I was harshly critical of his Iraq policies. After Bush left office, I promised that I would take the same critical perspective on Obama, an equally untrustworthy president.

Recently, Obama, referring to it as a "war of necessity," has escalated the hostilities in Afghanistan and wants to expand fighting into Pakistan. On Capitol Hill, it's called the "Af-Pak War."

During his March press conference, Obama said:

"Al-Qaida and its allies - the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks - are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al-Qaida is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban - or allows al-Qaida to go unchallenged - that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can."

I tipped you off that those are Obama's words. If I hadn't, you might have assumed, because they are so similar in language and tone to Bush's, that our previous president spoke them.

Obama then added:

"Al-Qaida poses a clear and present danger to American interests and its allies throughout the world and must be dealt with by using all the instruments in our national security arsenal in an integrated manner. The terrorist organization's deep historical roots in Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan place it at the center of an 'arc of instability' through South and Central Asia and the greater Middle East that requires a sustained international response."

Does Dick Cheney write Obama's speeches?

Obama's saber-rattling analysis missed several key points:

  • First, he's introduced no tangible new evidence that ratcheting up the Afghanistan War will produce any different results than the stalemate we've been mired in for so long.
  • Second, eight years and hundreds of billions of dollars since 9/11, and Osama bin Laden is still at large. Obama, again relying on a page from Bush's book, promises that he "almost certainly" knows bin Laden's whereabouts. If so, why is he still at large?
  • Third, Obama makes no mention of any retribution against Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the 9/11 terrorists, led by bin Laden, learned to hate America.
  • Fourth, Obama's Afghani escalation denies history. By the time the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 at the end of the Soviet-Afghan War, nearly 14,000 of it soldiers had been killed. Nearly one million more were either wounded or, because of the harsh climactic and sanitary conditions, fell ill.

On Memorial Day, Obama will make speeches filled with flowery language about the sacrifices our American soldiers have made in the many wars we have fought.

The president is right to honor the memory of our courageous soldiers.

But Obama will not likely reference his true Memorial Day message: perpetual war and more American combat deaths.

Joe Guzzardi retired last year from the Lodi Unified School District. Contact him at guzzjoe@yahoo.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • posted at 8:36 am on Thu, May 28, 2009.


    correction: In the previous post "way" should read "war" ;)

  • posted at 8:36 am on Thu, May 28, 2009.


    Joe, it ain't just the way that has Obama in the doghouse.An Early Call for Obama's Resignationhttp://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/28-3

  • posted at 11:39 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    Here's a sure bet; the US will be attacked again in the future by Al-Qeda.No need to place blame, it will happen no matter who is president.They are a zealot army of haters who will just keep on trying.

  • posted at 5:35 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    C'mon you guys! We are weak because we refuse to produce enough of our own energy. Obama wants America to lead the way towards a clean energy future -- and that's nice -- but first he needs to de-rectify his noggin from a very awkward position. In other words, we won't get to where we want to be without a bridge; and that bridge is oil. Let me sum it up this way: Americans are dieing because we won't drill. Yes, fossil fuels (coal and oil)are dirty; so tax the gas for Gods sake. But no! We'd rather give the terrrorists all the tools they need to kill us. Some call it "leadership"; and I say, yeah, if you're headed for HELL!

  • posted at 5:12 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    T&C I have a question for you, If all of the 9/11 High Jackers were Saudi Arabian Why did we attack Afghanistan and Iraq instead of Saudi Arabia?answer, Oil, the Same reason we invaded Iraq. You mention drugs and thegrowing of!! Well T&C that drug money funds the Taliban and where doesthe bulk of that money come from, the good old USA. The US consumesmore heroin than all the countries of the world combined…I didn’t Vote forObama but after Bush he is a breath of fresh air…You rant about all the money being wasted rebuilding the country, it’s close to a Trillion dollarsUnaccounted, for try putting the blame where it belongs, right in the lap ofHalliburton and KBR… And the beat goes on!!!

  • posted at 3:45 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    Gator wrote on May 23, 2009 8:10 AM:"In the long run I believe the US has finally learned how to fight a counterInsurgency war. You don’t win by blowing the hell out of things and people, you win by turning the populace against the insurgents." Finally learned? Give us all a break! These people in Iraq and Afghanistan have made their income for a thousand years from DRUGS! Those villages depend on that money, and their life, and the lives of their families depend on their cooperating with the terrorists! Rurn against them, and they are killed. Those people are glad to take our money/Bribes.... but where are the returns for our money? Bin Laden is alive and well, LAUGHING at America! How about showing me 100 terrorist training Camps destroyed along with 5,000 terrorists in those camps!!! Then I will get on board and say we are turning the tide of insurgency by turning the population against them. Until then, we are WASTING Billions and well as the precious lives of our service men and women!

  • posted at 3:39 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    OTH... we never had a chance to WIN any Iraq or Afghanistan War! People must first be willing to help themselves beforte America can help them! Every day our service men and women die, in battle from ambush or bomb! They WANT our Billions but hate us! So many countries in the world are that way towards us! I say... Take care of America first. Get us back on SOLID ground, Employment/Mortgage/and Financial stability! So many seniors are NOW unable to retire at the AGE they hoped too, because they lost all of their savings! Obama SAVED all the Banks, and did nothing to restore the LOST savings of those Americans who wanted to have a good retirement. If you use the scenerio that well, you made a bad Stock investment, then the same holds true for the BANKS who gave out millions in Bad loans. The banks should Not have been bailed out! It is a sad year for America, but fear not Demo's... always say with a smile "You voted for him"!

  • posted at 3:33 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    I feel that if you are NOT an American Citizen, you are not entitled to all the rights of an American citizen! Plain and simple! We are trillions of dollars in Debt.... the Banks all got their money, but where are all these 3 MILLION jobs to help American families? Now we are going to have a hispanic Supreme Court Judge appointed, which CINCHES Obama's Re-Election. It was the HISPANIC voters on Hillaries side that got Obama Elected, no one disputes that! Hillary got her special Post as a reward! We need to get out of Afghanistan and Iraq! Those Billions could be helping America's families! Those two countries and many of those contractors are skimming off Billions out of greed so we are NOT helping the people the money was intended for! But remember Demo's.... "You voted for him"!

  • posted at 3:27 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    I seriously doubt if 10% of any EVIDENCE discovered against these terrorists will be admissable in a Court of Law! That said, there will NOT be enough EVIDENCE to convict and because NO other country in the WORLD wants them in their country, they will be given U.S. Citizenship, after all, they were found innocent by a federal court. With terrorists who hate America now in our midst, they can blend in perfectly in the muslim populations. SEND them BACK to their own Country! They do NOT belong in America to attack us at their whim!

  • posted at 3:22 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    Obama will Do NOTHING about N. Korea, no matter how many missles they fire or Nuclear Bombs they detonate! Obama has removed the "Teeth" from America's Military Might! Afghanistan has been and will always be a LOST Cause. They have been killing each other in the middle east for thousands of years! If OBAMA truly cared about America, he woul have the GOVERNMENT produce and sell at a LOW COST, an ELECTRIC four door compact car! But too many BILLIONS are made off of gallons of Gas!

  • posted at 3:19 am on Tue, May 26, 2009.


    I would NEVER EVER buy an Obama Bobble Head Doll, but Obama has millions of LOST SOULS following him, and he is Guaranteeing his re-election with an HISPANIC Supreme Court Judge so, what the Hell... here everyone, Buy your Obama Bobble Head Doll! Obama needs the Royalties Check!http://www.goantiques.com/detail,president-barack-obama,1874446.html

  • posted at 11:42 am on Mon, May 25, 2009.


    No ! How about one of Darth Cheney or Dubya as Bozo the clown, your price, Cheap!!

  • posted at 7:04 am on Mon, May 25, 2009.


    Does anyone know where O'Bama Bobble-Head Dolls can be obtained? I need a couple for the dash-board of my cars.

  • posted at 8:30 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    Brian, the only reason of the limited success we have had in Iraq was because of General Petraeus. He knows how to punch and how to soft peddle, you don’t blow the crap out ofany and all and win over the population, you don’t win over the locals you lose.. Now to the Importance of Afghanistan, main reason it’s next door to Pakistan and they have Nukes. Next, Taliban and Nukes equal smoking hole some where in the US.. So there it isIn the simplest of terms.. Petraeus will call the shots in Afghanistan and if we fight theCounter insurgency style of war we will prevail.. You need to learn to think like your enemy and most of all stop thinking like a westerner … The sad and sorry fact is we wasted good lives for naught in Iraq. We had Sadam in a box and had we stayed in the Stan it would be over by now, pure speculation on my part!!

  • posted at 4:27 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    Joe wrote:Obama's saber-rattling analysis missed several key points:First, he's introduced no tangible new evidence that ratcheting up the Afghanistan War will produce any different results than the stalemate we've been mired in for so long.-Indeed. Many a military have eventually just walked away from Afghanistan for centuries. To say that "Afghanistan is a logistical and strategic nightmare" is an understatement.

  • posted at 4:19 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    Obama's plans will put his kind right in our midst, awaiting either a trial they may win or a federal court ruling that may spring them.

  • posted at 4:18 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    If Obama is now to reverse field and try these terrorists, the results might be disastrous. It's unlikely that the prosecutors would be able to use all the evidence against them because it wasn't gathered with an eye to its admissibility in a criminal trial. The best evidence couldn't be used against the 20th hijacker, Zacharias Moussaui, so he did not get a death sentence or even life in prison. If terrorists are acquitted or released by a federal judge's ruling, the odds are good that they will go right back to fighting against us. In our book, "Fleeced," we describe some of the most egregious examples of freed terrorists' returning to their wicked ways. And former Vice President Dick Cheney in his address Thursday said that one in seven of the detainees freed from Guantanamo has rejoined the terrorists. Consider the case of Abdullah Mehsud, who was captured in Afghanistan and, after hiding his identity as second-in-command of a Pakistani Taliban group, was freed after two years at Gitmo. Once free, he kidnapped two Chinese engineers who were working on a hydroelectric dam and killed one of them.

  • posted at 4:17 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    Some detainees will be tried in US courts on US soil. The first will be tried in New York. This raises two problems: First, if he is acquitted, where will he be released? Likely, he'll just be invited to walk out the door and onto the streets of New York. Second, is there a danger of terrorist retaliation or attempts to interdict the trial with violence? Trying a terrorist in the Big Apple serves to paint a bull's-eye on the courthouse. The recently foiled plan to attack New York City synagogues demonstrates that terrorists have the city in their sights, as they have since the 1993 World Trade Center attack. Could Obama find a worse place to conduct a trial? The very concept of trying terrorists under US law is a slippery slope. We specifically allow our military and intelligence operatives to proceed without the procedural safeguards enumerated in the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth amendments. Why? Because we didn't plan for trials in civilian courts, we didn't take care to see that the evidence was obtained so as to be admissible in civilian courts.

  • posted at 4:15 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    http://www.nypost.com/seven/05232009/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_terrorists_best_us_hope_170582.htmTHE TERRORISTS' BEST US HOPEPRESIDENT Obama is attacking a red herring when he defends his decision to send the worst terrorists at Guantanamo to United States prisons by saying the likelihood of escape from secure federal facilities is very low. Of course it is. No rope ladder or prison laundry truck is likely to do the trick. But when it comes to federal judges, we can't be so sure. The reason we sent the terrorists to Guantanamo in the first place, rather than bring them onto US soil, was never really connected to worries that they might escape. The Bush administration feared, quite correctly, that if the inmates were in federal prisons on US territory, federal judges would take their pleas for constitutional rights more seriously. That argument is still true, and bringing the terrorists to the United States puts us at risk that they could be freed by court order.

  • posted at 3:19 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    GatorI totally agree with you about Afghanistan. If we had done what we should have done to begin with instead of turning the country over to drug running war lords things might be different now. The U.S. needs to win the war there from the inside out.

  • posted at 3:10 am on Sat, May 23, 2009.


    I don’t believe I have ever seen such a contrary, sour individual as yourself ! In the long run I believe the US has finally learned how to fight a counterInsurgency war. You don’t win by blowing the hell out of things and people, you win by turning the populace against the insurgents We failed in Vietnam and for a time in Iraq for failure to do just that.. As for Afghanistan we let it sit on the back burner while we fought the wrong war!! As for bin Laden I would lay oddshe is dead and Dr, ayman Al Zawahiri is running the show…Special Operationstroops are doing over 75% of all operations in Afghanistan as they should…Joeyou truly think like a westerner, we could be out of both countries and they wouldstill want us dead!! They hate all the westernized world not just America. It’s ourculture, our life style, our movies, TV our way of life and the hate isn’t going away…


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