Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The President's Speech

Some of my readers already know that my computer was down for nearly four days.  Monday night I got back on line and within an hour of doing so I fell and hurt my back.  Blogging has not been possible during the interim.  Even though I am not very alert right now due to constant pain, I feel compelled to comment on the President's speech last night.

As I viewed the President delivering his long awaited speech I looked at the faces of those young plebes who were watching with full attention and wondered how many of them would die in an unwinnable war.  They looked so trusting and so very young.  They are among the finest of our young people and to think that some of their lives will end or be ruined in a mideaval county is appalling to me.

We cannot afford this war. The object, as stated by the president, is to dismantle Al Quaeda. It's a fool's errand. Al Quaeda is also in Somalia, and many other countries. Are we going to follow them wherever they are?    They will always be able to find a safe haven in another backward country and will continue to plot to kill as many Americans as they can.  I am sure there are cells in our country right now planning to wreak destruction.   Killing one man, Osama bin Laden, would never stop the fanatics either.

If the object of being in Afghanistan is to provide safety for the U. S. (As claimed by the President) some of the money would be far better spent securing the cargo that comes into our ports daily and to beef up our intelligence and share the information with the agencies responsible for security. 

Nation building should be the responsibility of the nation being helped and not ours.  Our own infrastructure is crumbling so why should we spend our wealth building roads in a backward country?  If it were possible to bring Afghanistan into the 21st Century it would take so many years and so much money we would bankrupt ourselves in the process.  

I have never been an isolationist.  It is a small world, after all.  Nonetheless, common sense must prevail as to how our aid is distributed to other countries.  I view Afghanistan as beyond help.  The government is corrupt and without the Afghan government's cooperation, it is a lost cause.

I am, however, concerned about nuclear weapons in Pakistan falling into the hands of the extremests.  I have no doubt that they would use them.    Our concentration should be on doing away with these terrible weapons world wide. 

George Santayana's familiar quote, "Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." was never more appropriate than now.   Afghanistan is becoming another Viet Nam.


trillium said...

So right you are, Darlene. How different the world would be today, if we had just turned the other cheek. Not gone to war at all. We could have invested a fraction of the war cost into our own infrastructure. As it is the terrorists, foreign and domestic, just have to wait for our bridges to fall into rivers, our grid to collapse, our economy to crumble.
Over the holiday I had a chat with the young bride of my nephew, who is going back for his third tour. She said that she was not going to proceed with her divorce plans, unless he came back. Oops, quite a slip of her tongue there, all I could do was offer more coffee. I understand her position, her husband and my nephew has been unable to hold a job, he's been snippy and harsh. He is not the same man she married. It reminds me of all of the PTSD's that came out of vietnam, and most of them only had to do one tour. We have a small group of people that are immolating themselves for this "war of choice." There isn't any tax surcharge to help pay for this, there isn't any draft to make sure that the sacrifices are spread out across a larger segment of society. Oh well I could go on and on. It all seems so pointless and painful.

Lydia said...

This packs a wallop. I totally agree with you that we should be securing our own ports as a first line of defense. I am so torn as one who is strongly against this war while still strongly supporting this President. Wobbling on the pointy fence is more than uncomfortable for me. It makes me wonder what Joe Biden is going through right now because we all know his advice was counter to Obama's ultimate decision, yet he's the VP. Will we see a resignation?- god I hope not because his voice is more important than ever, but how seriously was his view considered, I wonder.

For someone who isn't feeling very alert you wrote a monumental column here! You take care and let that back heal.

20th Century Woman said...

I hope that the main reason for this war is to keep the extremists from getting nuclear weapons. Pakistan's government is weak, and if Afghanistan falls to the Taliban then Pakistan is even more vulnerable. I agree that it seems like a hopeless task to prop up a primitive place like Afghanistan, but the whole thing is a terrible problem. I don't know what the answer is, or if there is an answer.

Joy Des Jardins said...

I too am trying to strongly support President Obama...and yet this really does feel hopeless at times...and very frightening to the continuing safety of our troops. Could it honestly have been as easy as turning the other cheek? I have my doubts about that, but I feel we certainly have gone too far and too long now.

I'm so sorry about your back must be Thanksgiving Curse leftovers....huh? Rest and feel better very soon. Hugs, Joy

Darlene said...

*trillium - I'm so orry about your nephew. That is the lasting tragedy of any war - the lives that are ruined. PTSD's have a high suicide and divorce rates and people forget about their suffering. I think many of our homeless are men who suffered the syndrome from the Viet Nam war.

*Lydia - It is hard to know what's right when you don't have all the information. I understand your dilemna. I am basing my analysis on past history.

*20th Century Woman - I wonder if we supported strenthening the Pakistan government by building schools, hospitals, etc. and helping their army fight the Taliban if that might be a better place to put our support. That's where the nuclear weapons are.

*Joy Des Jardns - I don't think it was necessary to turn the other cheek. The original war in Afghanistan was a war of choice, but I fear we lost it when we went into Iraq and now have no hope of winning it.

Rain said...

Sorry to hear about your back, Darlene. Do call or email me next week so we can work out getting together while we are in Tucson. I hope it will be possible.

Tabor said...

Darlene, I miss your posts sometimes because the coding on my side blog does not work for me. Anyway, here you are in pain and still thinking clear as a bell. I am tending to agree with you, although I must admit that I have been riding the fence for a few days. I wonder why we can't spend more money sneaking into these countries and dismantling that way. We have the wealth and intelligence and global support.

Hope you are up and back at it soon, although even a fall doesn't seem to diminish your convictions!

Looking to the Stars said...

I agree with you and the quote at the end is soooo true! Once again you have done a great post!

I'm sorry to hear you are hurt. Take care of your back, I hope it heals fast.

Kay Dennison said...

Indeed!!!!!! I wrote about this earlier this week and I agree completely.

And I am so sorry you had thwe fall! I hope you mend quickly and well.

Do you have any idea why I can't get updates on your blog with the "follow" feature? I've added you but don't ever get updates?

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Darlene said...

*Rain - If I had your telephone number I have lost it. Please e-mail it to me. I would love to see you and Farm Boss again.

*Tabor - I wish I knew how to fix all the computer glitches in blogging. I am a complete nerd when it comes to this kind of thing.

*Looking to the Stars - 'Fast' is not a word you can apply to healing when you get as old as I am. The healing process slows up with everything else, but thanks for the good wishes.

*Kay - I wish I knew how to fix it. If I can find out I will let you know. See what I wrote to Tabor.

Thanks for the good wishes.

Sylvia K said...

Darlene, I've had trouble sending you a reply, so I'm trying again, but I do so agree with you! I do so hope you're feeling better! I do want to support President Obama, but I'm not happy with this decision. Guess we'll just have to wait and see. Please do take care of yourself, I'm holding good thoughts for you!

Much love,


joared said...

Hope your mending well and the pain is lessening. If deep tissue bruising is involved that can often take longer to resolve than that of so-called ordinary falls as I learned the hard way many years ago. You know the routine whatever the issues, be patient.

You wrote a pretty strong piece for someone in pain and on meds. I can only imagine what you might have written if you had been functioning at 100% level.

Yeah, our previous Administration made a colossal no-brainer mistake in the very beginning not following through to capture Bin Laden in Afghan if they were going to invade a country. I don't suggest that would have deterred Al Quaeda from rebounding eventually, but I think many factors would have altered in our favor, including having the support of much of the rest of the world.

Perhaps even our relationship with Pakistan might have resulted in more support from them than the token efforts they've provided toward curtailing Al Quaeda for so long.

When I consider so many government decisions for numerous years, not just those with the Iraq war, but the financial collapse, I have to wonder has anyone anywhere involved in governing even read history?

Rummuser said...

Darlene, I hope that you would not mind an Indian taking a slightly different point of view. Despite India's repeated attempts at persuading the USA that they were backing the wrong horse and doing wrong things, the USA kept going by Pakistan's view of that part of the world, the reasons for which are not far to seek. If the USA now goes in with 30,000 more troops, with a clear cut strategy of recruiting, training and handing over the job to a responsible Afghan army, it would to some extent undo some of the damage already done to the USA's prestige in that part of the world. The time table is however unrealistic. The Taliban will simply disappear and wait out the time and regroup after the last US soldier has left Afghanistan. After that, what will happen to the mad men located there in terms of jihad against the USA is anybody's guess at this point of time, but, India will be in the forefront of a lot of damage. As it is I expect the current situation in Pakistan to result in a refugee problem for us with local Muslim population having to put up with some massive Indian right wing back lash. Other countries too will likely have the refugee problem of moderates of Pakistan being driven away like it happened in Afghanistan when the Russians first and the Taliban next took over. The mess has been created, let us not now worry about by who, why etc, but it has to be cleared and sorted out with a permanent solution. It is difficult and your President is feeling his way around and may well do the job.

Darlene said...

*Sylvia - Thank you so very much. I really appreciate your good thoughts.

*Joarad - Thank you for your very good comment. No, I don't think they even understand what's happening today, much less what occurred in the past. Sigh!

Darlene said...

*Rummuser - Your comment was posted just before mine. I want to reply to yours because I really appreciate getting the viewpoint of someone closer to the area. I understand what you are saying and you may very well be right. My biggest concern is that Karazai will not reform the government and we will just prolong the disastrous results. If Afghanistan is unable to defend herself after we leave, we will have spent money and lives unnecessarily.

The timetable for leaving is not written in cement. The Administration explained that we will leave only if the Afghans are able to defend themselves and keep the Taliban out. My concern is, they will not be and we will end up staying another 8 hopeless years.

Xtreme English said...

great post, Darlene!!

Darlene said...

*Xtreme English - Thank you.

LadyLuz said...

I couldn't agree more Darlene. I have a rant at the t.v. and newspapers every time new bodies are brought back home. This war is totally unwinable. Santayana was right.

Darlene said...

*Lady Luz - Santayana is quoted so often that you would think the politicians would 'get it' eventually.