Why we let our young soldiers die in Iraq and Afghanistan

July 8, 2010

Aghansoldiershill

In Afghanistan and Iraq, United States forces are trying to fight a shadowy enemy that does not wear uniforms, while being told to protect corrupt governments. But here is the really disturbing parallel between the current conflicts and Vietnam: Washington is drawing out the troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq long after any justification has expired, in order to postpone that moment when it must be admitted we did not succeed.

America won’t fail in Afghanistan or Iraq — but won’t succeed, either. Lives are being sacrificed so that American leaders can continue pretending otherwise.

A terrible price

Lack of success is different from failure. The United States military wins nearly every battle, and in Afghanistan and Iraq, most U.S. soldiers and aircrew have behaved in exemplary fashion. But the United States has not known success — we have not stopped Afghanistan and Iraq from being horrible places. Inconclusive outcomes, neither success nor failure, seem likely now. American leaders seem incapable of facing the prospect that a vast expense of blood and treasure has been directed toward an inconclusive outcome.

This is why we keep having public flare-ups on the Afghan and Iraq situations. In the most recent, former Afghanistan commander Stanley McChrystal was called to the White House and fired for speaking to a rock-and-roll magazine, while Republican National Committee Chair Michael Steele is in a storm about dopey remarks he made on Afghanistan under a picnic tent. If anyone could imagine what a realistic successful conclusion of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars might be, American energies would be focused on seeking that. Instead the energy is diverted to name-calling and finger-pointing.

Allowing our soldiers to die

It is shameful to allow more of our soldiers to die so that our leaders can avoid admitting mistakes. To postpone the moment when the United States admits it did not succeed in Afghanistan and Iraq, the country’s leaders, Democrat and Republican alike, keep opting to drag out U.S. presence in these conflicts. Exactly as during the final years of Vietnam, the young are dying so that the old can postpone admitting mistakes.

Shameful, too, is the lack of concern for civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq. In most cases, the killing of civilians by U.S. forces in these nations has been by error, not by intent. But to the dead it’s all the same. U.S.-caused civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq are barely mentioned in American political debate . The civilians being killed by Western forces in these nations are anonymous members of strange societies that America doesn’t like, so America doesn’t care about them. Small wonder, especially in Afghanistan, that no matter how many bad guys our side kills, the following day there are more.

The invasion justifications have long since expired

In 2001, the United States was attacked by forces based in Afghanistan. America had a clear self-defense right to strike back, and nearly all the world’s nations indicated support for America’s counterattack on Afghanistan. But that was nine years ago!

Last month, CIA Director Leon Panetta said the number of al Qaeda still in Afghanistan is “relatively small — at most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less.” Tens of thousands of combat soldiers, and frequent airstrikes, cannot be justified by a search for 100 people. In order to postpone the moment when U.S. forces leave Afghanistan, Washington has redefined the mission, which is now to hunt the Taliban. The Taliban are awful people – but they are awful people who have nothing to do with the national security of the United States.

As for Iraq, it can be argued that in 2003, to depose the dictator Saddam Hussein, and destroy any Iraqi atomic weapons program, constituted legitimate grounds for the United States invasion. In a year, Saddam was captured and inspectors had learned there was no Iraqi atomic weapons program. By spring 2004, the United States had done what it set out to do in Iraq — why didn’t we just leave? Simply leaving would have been the honorable course. Six years later, we are still there.

Why are we still in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Officially the continuing U.S. presence is to stabilize the country – the real reason we stay is to postpone the sectarian bloodbath that may occur when the United States withdraws. Yet U.S. departure has always been inevitable. Whatever is going to happen in Iraq when the United States leaves, will happen when the United States leaves. Postponing that moment only raises the death toll.

In Afghanistan, U.S. forces are now staging a “counter-insurgency” campaign. What are the insurgents doing? Resisting our occupation. It’s circular: we are there to fight the people who are fighting us because we are there. The Afghanistan government may be the most corrupt on Earth; that U.S. soldiers are dying to defend a corrupt government is a horror. If we left Afghanistan, would the Taliban take over? Perhaps, and that would be a dark day.

Do we owe it to the fallen to continue?

Would leaving Afghanistan or Iraq now mean earlier sacrifices were in vain? More than 5,500 United States armed service members have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, all with the idealistic hope that these places would be improved by their sacrifice. Senator John McCain recently said the United States should commit to staying in Afghanistan indefinitely — decades if necessary — because that “would make the war more winnable and hasten the day when our troops can come home with honor.”

Senator McCain, a Vietnam veteran, knows his generation of warriors was denied its victory parade through Times Square, and other forms of recognition — there was never a moment when the Vietnam War was won, and the tickertape fell. But United States forces could have fought in Vietnam for many years more and that war never would have been “won.” That was not the fault of those who served in Vietnam, it was just the reality. What was happening in Vietnam was fundamentally political, and military organizations cannot solve political problems.

Today, regarding Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no scenario that leads to a declaration of victory and fireworks around the Statue of Liberty. That is not the fault of the United States military. Our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan already have covered themselves with honor. They have bested Saddam and routed al Qaeda, creating a chance for Iraq and Afghanistan to someday evolve into better places. Would the fallen want more U.S. soldiers to die, just so admission of the lack of a victory-celebration outcome can be postponed for another election cycle?

The choice not made

The cost of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts is between $1 trillion and $2 trillion, depending on factors such as long-term benefits to disabled veterans. If the United States had spent half that amount building schools and hospitals in these nations, instead of trying to identify people to shoot at, would Iraqis and Afghans today love Americans? Perhaps. At this point, the chance has been lost.

When the next time comes, let’s remember that just because the United States has the world’s greatest military — and that use of that military is manly and dramatic for presidents — does not mean sending in our armed forces is necessarily the smart move.

What the past tells us

On the day he died, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was polishing a speech he planned to deliver that week. The speech contained this remarkable line: “More than an end to war, we want… an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method” of settling differences.

The key word in Roosevelt’s speech is impractical. Bombs and artillery were the only solution to the Nazi menace. But mainly, war is impractical — usually it doesn’t work. War is not working now in Afghanistan and Iraq. Why must we continue to postpone, at the cost of soldiers’ and civilians’ lives, the day on which this is admitted?

37 comments

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It will be recognized as the failure of our times, as as mentioned it started out as a clear mission to get Bin Laden, who is still at large, and then became a jobs program for Halliburton at the highest cost.

Cheney and Rumsfeld are war criminals are deserve to be prosecuted as such.

Posted by jstaf | Report as abusive

Why does anyone need a published author to convince them of the truth, a truth everyone knew right at the outset.
Iraq was a typical example of the US meddling in a country without credible evidence to go to war.
Is that going to be repeated with Iran? And after Iran?
What new conflict area does the US administration need for the weapons industry to test their new toys?. In Vietnam it was agent Orange and few more horrible chemical weapons, which was also supplied to Saddam Hussein to use against the Iranians. Yes, the US has much to answer for.
Phosferous and expended uranium munitions during the Gulf War? What horrible deeds do we not know of, and the US wants to plant its flag on the moral high ground!. How mentally challenged does anyone have to be to be that gullible to invest in American foreign policy!.

Posted by kerahdah | Report as abusive

There is no just cause for war. No matter what anyone says, history is not on the side of the milatary and the generals. War is a phoney cause particularly when meaningful dialogue is never attempted in the first case.

Posted by kerahdah | Report as abusive

thanks, Greg, and Reuters, for this article..also, war, along with prostitution and arms sales and drug trafficing, is great business..Helmand province, after all, grows a lot of dope..what’s a few dead soldiers when there’s money to be made..

Posted by gramps | Report as abusive

I want the $3 trillion we spent in Iraq back. We have the most read general life, home foreclosure and job hunting stories on the web at http://storyburn.com

Posted by STORYBURNeasy | Report as abusive

I have to agree with the last two comments. The American people could have an even better standard of living if their tax dollars were spent at home.
And yes, the drug trade and everything else in Helmund province takes precedence over human lives. That’s a big part of the free market system, and what keeps it alive and well.

Posted by kerahdah | Report as abusive

Doesn’t matter who gets killed on the ground, war works just fine thank you for the billionaires in weapons manufacturing. They’d really like to keep it that way by having as much war as possible, ‘slong as you don’t mind.

Winning is neither a consideration nor an option in modern warfare, just the maximization of the longevity of conflict so that the war profits remain sky high forever, amen. And yes, these guys should all be behind bars, every damn one.

Posted by HBC | Report as abusive

“It’s circular: we are there to fight the people who are fighting us because we are there. ”

Well put, but I believe you are preaching to the choir.

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive

American politicians are just sore losers and cannot handle the truth.

Just keep your brainless heads in the sand, ostriches.

Posted by doctorjay317 | Report as abusive

We are in Afghanistan to prevent it from become a training ground for terrorists AGAIN.
We are in Iraq because we removed a genocidal tyrant (who we and everyone else believed was developing WMD, refer to the UN resolutions) and because the country is on its way to becoming a stable democracy. It’s not fun but that’s why. Now feel free to continue with your entertaining conspiracy theories.

Posted by mheld45 | Report as abusive

First, let’s reform the American electoral process to resemble the will of the people. By people, I mean the residents of the USA, not the people who have placed themselves in charge. Free and open ballots. Free and open elections. No more gerrymandering. No more 98% re-election rates in the House of “Representatives”. No more officials blathering that we have an unending commitment to ANYTHING. The PEOPLE make commitments, not bureaucrats.

Second, let’s take away the ability of the military to have overseas bases. They have proven themselves not worthy of the trust of the people. We keep starting wars because we have troops abroad.

Posted by txgadfly | Report as abusive

This guy is one complete idiot.
The way to WIN in either nation is to provide it a method of survival for when we Do leave.
Iraq? Has elected a new govt several times since we turned over elections to them. Has a viable economy, and is slowly getting back on its feet. A Success from where it was 10 years ago. And in 10 years from now…will be a Power Player in the Middle east.
Afghanistan needs infrastructure…that will take decades to build…but if the USA/ALLIES can build up the National Military/Police force…and allow for some small progressive steps to be established…it can turn itself around in less than 2 decades.
This is obviously one of those liberals that thinks we should just QUIT when things get difficult.

Posted by JayWx | Report as abusive

It sure is funny…today, many people are cutting down the government for its part in a war. Politics run the wars, not the generals/admirals. Not too long ago, people started saying this Afghanistan “thing” was going to end up like Vietnam. Nah, no such thing, IT WAS ALREADY THAT WAY, Dummys!! IF we were in a war to win it, then the people who know what they are doing would run the show(the Generals and Admirals). Let the Politicians run it and they run the war and the country into the ground and do more damage. This really started in Korea. My father served during Korea and I did ‘Nam. Many people are injured, maimed, and killed. I still wear a MIA bracelet as does my wife for two MIA from ‘Nam.. I have known 3 POW’s personally and highly respect them….. War is necessary=ask the 9/11 survivors

Posted by LeosDen2469 | Report as abusive

This is one of the worst writers I’ve read in years.
Of course Americans are predominately killing civilians in error. If we were doing it with intent, it would a war crime. In fact, it still is, and some individual soldiers have been brought up on charges!

This author is badly misinformed. We are drawing down are troops from Iraq quickly. So quickly it is one of the largest and fastest movements of materiel in history.

With only 5500 people dead for over 8 years of conflict, these are some of the most amazing wars fought in history. The most restrained and disciplined military the world has ever seen restored democracy to Iraq and destroyed the ability of the Taliban to attack the United States from Afghanistan (At least until the Obamination came to office and tweaked the game plan, allowing terrorists to get dangerously close to hitting the US again)

Posted by Matt4987 | Report as abusive

it was clear from day one.
Why we have to spend money and lives outside our country?

Posted by robb1 | Report as abusive

A country can have the best military machine in the world, but if it does not win the hearts and souls of the population — it will lose EVERY time. For $3 trillion we could have paved the streets in gold. Time to bring the guys home. Good reporting Gregg!!

Posted by gitagrip | Report as abusive

@leosden2469 — excellent comment on the politicians. Once these low-life members of our society get involved, they make decisions which kill our own, yet they escape accountability. This happens over and over in the USA, and Oh-blah-blah-ma is no different than his predecessors.

Posted by gitagrip | Report as abusive

An excellent, thought-out article. Some people reduce wars to mere statistics such as, 5,000 dead in two wars over that time span are excellent numbers. To think of all the people blown to bits illustrates beyond stark statistics. And what is gained by all that pain and suffering? Only cold heartless people see any benefit in that.

Posted by ecojec | Report as abusive

Teasing the public with politicians and their government bungling is fun, but what military and business generals are is politicians.
There are few or no generals without a MBA. MBA’s think they must strategize like generals. Both are politicians, or they aren’t promoted.
If they try to operate somebody else’s sawmill, we get cut. But tea bag geniuses want to privatize and outsource government and military functions in favor of business. Money is the object, the source is the obection: give my business more tax money, but lower my tax. And vote ‘em all out, or don’t vote at all.
In other words, participate less so I can raise tax, blame taxman, not be responsible for redistributing your money to my bank.
bobby99

Posted by BOBBY99 | Report as abusive

Looks like the wars serve a purpose.

Anyone joining the US military, wheather or not checking the history of previous wars and the lies involved, not noting the poor treatment of the veterans perhaps is destined to suffer consequences of the evolutional process of pure Darvinian elimination.

Posted by coinageboy | Report as abusive

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sundance, Surabhi Rajan. Surabhi Rajan said: "Why we let our young soldiers die in Iraq and Afghanistan" – Gregg Easterbrook http://bit.ly/bk1OZl [...]

“Cheney and Rumsfeld are war criminals (are) who deserve to be prosecuted as such.” Why stop with these two goons. George W. should be sitting right there on the bench with them. How could people with so much disrespect for human life ever be appointed leaders of such a great nation?
Apart from that, nice to see that a different interpretation of these shameful events makes it into the headlines of a respectable news site.

Posted by Rhino1 | Report as abusive

No one, not the USA, no one, not anyone, should be going into anyone else’s backyard under the pretext of improving conditions for the locals. Why does America engage in thse concerts so far from home? Vietnam was a disaster, the Gulf War showed the world just how stupid an adminstration can be, the war in Iraq was based on a phoney rationale, and Afganistan is just plain crazy and stupid! How much evidence does an ordinary person need to be convinced.Believing that a threat to the American homeland is being brewed in Afganistan or Irag, or wherever, is proof of how well the administration’s conditioning, and war psychosis have worked. Being patriotic does not mean believing every bit of rubbish that government dishes up! Patriotism also means using one’s brain for thinking, for analysing, for being smart enough to know when government is using the ‘patriotism’card to fool the nation. There is a use for the brain other than filling up one’s skull!. Emotional nationalism is just so much b.s.!! It really is!

Posted by kerahdah | Report as abusive

It would help if the USA invested in democracy. What it has at the moment is some fictitious version of the ‘thing’ they would like everyone else to invest in. 300 million people and it has two political parties contesting so-called elections every four years. Do the Republicans and Democrats represent the will and choices of all Americans? Are the choices so narrow that two political parties can cover the national interests?
When the USA truly begins to invest in democracy, the American people, and the world might be a better place to live in. But that’s not likely to happen is it? A watered down form of communism can never succeed at masquerading as democracy. But, you can fool all of the people some of the time and……..etc., etc., etc!!

Posted by kerahdah | Report as abusive

obama is just using the wars to get new voters on his side fater loosing the majority of his supporters. It’s wrong to use our forces strictly for political gain. The troops hate him and most Americans want him to go away.

Posted by blackbirdxx | Report as abusive

If Iraq and/or Afganistan don’t want it why should we want it for them? “Three Cups of Tea” is an excellent posture. Our kids are getting killed for countries who really don’t care about them. They’re regarded as a nuisance and occupiers. Education is a powerful, awakening tool. It just may introduce the initiatives for those countries to take action on their own.

Posted by Cybs | Report as abusive

If Iraq and/or Afghanistan don’t want it why should we want it for them? “Three Cups of Tea” is an excellent posture. Our kids are getting killed for countries who really don’t care about them. They’re regarded as a nuisance and occupiers. Education is a powerful, awakening tool. It just may introduce the initiatives for those countries to take action on their own.

Posted by Cybs | Report as abusive

mheld45- the whole world knew Iraq was not building WMD. What are you taking about ?
Iraq was bad before, its worse now.

Posted by aakash.shrestha | Report as abusive

“we have not stopped Afghanistan and Iraq from being horrible places” – just one correction to the otherwise brilliant article: these places actually deteriorated when the wars and occupations started and are getting worse! Why doesn’t anyone talk about the 100 of thousands of lives of the local people that were lost in this “moral” war on terror? Now Pakistan is being plunged into chaos b/c of this?
I don’t think that America is in control of its military anymore-I think they’re the hitmen for a much more sinister global ruling elite. America was not founded on the principles of an empire!

Posted by pesheff | Report as abusive

I am a soldier, an Infantry soldier. My job in iraq the 3 times Ive been there was to find the enemy and kill or capture them…..at least at first. My last deployment i spent more time talking to locals, looking at public works projects, training iraqi soldiers and paying locals who stood gyard on places around Iraq. I was trained to do none of those things. What you are all seeing is the dfeeply embedded American mentality that once we kick the crap out of a country we most also build it back up. Like we did with Germany and Japan. People war is violent and it should always be a very last resort. But if we are going to under take it in this day and age we need to go in with clear objectives. take Iraq for example. Go in, get Saddam find his WMD’s and leave. staying in a country will only bring out an insurgency we cannot win aginst. Who cares if when we leav the country is a wreck. Don’t give us cause to go there and you won’t have to worry about it. I am tired of paying for The Marshall Plan. And my friends were not worth anything that can now come out of iraq or afghanastan.

FOR: Joshua Madden Keith Fiscus Jon Schoolcraft and Greg Rundell

Posted by Arnie2407 | Report as abusive

Amazing! Aside from a few pro-war types here almost to a person everyone who commented so far agrees with the writer of this article. Many, including myself, feel the business aspect of war–with outrageous amounts of our tax dollars going to war profiteers–is perhaps the prime reason for these wars in the first place. It also seems that these corporations along with wall street and the giant banks are controlling this country. We the people have no say anymore. Yes, we vote but there seems little difference in the parties in what they do (not what they say). One of Obama’s first moves was to send thousands more to Afghanistan and what happened to closing Gito?

Posted by linggy | Report as abusive

The US is great at projecting military power — China is great at projecting economic power — I weep for our losses both militarily and economically…

Posted by mckibbinusa | Report as abusive

no one asked him self this question: why america chosed theese poor cuntries:afghanistan,iraq,lebanon,iran,l ibya,somalia,south philippen,sudan,west china,pakistan(arabian islamic countries!!!)and choosed the dangerist wipons to destroy them(tora bora),firist gulf war!!second gulf war!!!and as a clint of israeli war on gaza strip!and why theese weapons companies pushes to distroy civilisation and the relations between civilians!!!! it is a war aganist both arabs and muslimans all over the world!!

Posted by roffa55 | Report as abusive

The United States has made too mistakes in war. We should never fight another countries war.We should fight
only to protect our own country.Sure we should have gone
after the people who did 9-11 but they killed themselves.We should bring all troops home and guard our borders. Stop the drugs from coming into our country
and screen every person wanting to come into America.At
this moment I understand we do not know who is here and
when they arrived. Lets face it we have a very inexperienced Person for a president(another mistake)But
we have the house and senate to take care of that problem
if they would do their Job.They are not!!!
So we must replace them when the time comes. JUST MY OPINION.

Posted by Imo | Report as abusive

I am a 32 year old mexican woman who was married to an american soldier, i’ll always be proud of him and US soldiers dead or alive, yes i may not be an american born but i’ve embraced the language, the culture and most importantly i’ve embraced the army’s heart, their braveness and committment, they need to be home fighting for their country not someone else’s war which was since the beggining a cover up… my heart and prayers are with all the soldiers, their wives, their children, their parents… gob bless y’all, may god keep ya’ll safe…

Posted by hotlatinakuhl | Report as abusive

Economists like to consider the “counterfactual”–what would have happened with an alternative course of action from that taken. Einstein called it a “mind experiment”.

Think about this counterfactual ‘mind experiment’:

We invaded Iraq, found no WMD’s (there never were any and President Bush knew it). We captured and subdued Saddam Hussain, but since neither he nor his long-abandonned WMD program posed any direct and imminent threat to the United States, we shook him vigorously, let him be, and departed after destroying the better part of his warfighting capability. In effect we reinstated the status quo ante: careful monitoring, no fly zones (remember them?), etc. He reinstated himself and his Baath Party thugs. So be it. It’s not our business to make the world safe for nice, benign governments, but rather to protect ourselves from clear and present dangers. That’s what we’re spending seven hundred billion for each year.

Further, we wiped out the Al Qaeda threat in Afghanistan at the outset (using the Northern Alliance–remember them?), and we set up the same kind of close observation monitoring as established in Iraq. Any funny business in future from the Taliban making nice with Al Qaeda–we bomb them till the ‘rubble jumps’ (to use Churchill’s phrase). Taliban wasn’t so wedded to Al Qaeda as to risk getting bombed back to the stone age prior to the stone age in which they currently exist.

Therefore, we would have had Saddam in power in Iraq, and a careful Taliban (or mix-it-up with others) in power in Afghanistan.

Now add to the mixture an AGGRESSIVE IRAN WORKING HARD TO REALLY DEVELOP NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITY!

Having taken the counter factual course, we would have had a sworn enemy of Iran (Saddam and Company) right across the border from Tehran! And anybody who can think back a brief thirty years will recall that Saddam clobbered Iran for no particular reason other than pure enmity!

What do you think the counter factual circumstance would be now? We’d have ‘our boy’ Saddam in power in Baghdad. He’d be gearing up his formidable army to wipe out the Mullahs in Iran, and very likely we’d be real cozy with him behind the curtain, re-supplying him with armaments to go after Iran and its nuclear ambitions! Saddam would be ‘Our Bastard’ once again! Our boy Saddam would NEVER STAND FOR A NUCLEAR-ARMED IRAN ACROSS HIS EASTERN BORDER!
AND HE WOULDN’T THINK TWICE ABOUT LOSING A MILLION MEN TO CRUSH THE MULLAHS!

What’s this all prove?

The bright boys in D.C. haven’t been capable of strategic geopolitical thinking since the end of the Cold War. They don’t run the alternatives through the ‘thought mill’ before running off to war.
They don’t do ‘mind experiments’ before sending our boys off to war and into a sodden mess which will cost us dearly in blood and treasure before we skedaddle as in Vietnam.

And here’s one more likely consequence of the counter factual reality: Baghdad and Tel Aviv would be bosom buddies–Bebe Netanyahu and Saddam ON THE SAME SIDE–BOTH INTENT ON A KNOCKOUT BLOW ON TEHRAN! AND WE WOULDN’T HAVE TO LIFT A FINGER! Just smile like the Cheshire Cat in the background.

Where’s Rod Serling and the Alternate Universe when you need him?

Posted by atem | Report as abusive

Great article, Gregg!
The reason the US is in Afghanistan and Iraq is because We The People are lazy, complacent and brainwashed(by TV)and allowed it. There is absolutely NO real reason for our involvement in these ugly dramas, as well as in Vietnam, which is not a cover for the egotism of Politicians in Sodom-upon-Potomac…the article mentions what’s happening, politicians are afraid to admit they screwed up.
Many comments mention that there might be a bloodbath when we leave – has anyone considered asking the inhabitants if they’d like to take that chance? I bet many Afghans and Iraqis would sit up and grin and say, “We’d like to try…Just leave – please?”
The main problem,especially in Afghanistan, is that 40 years of constant war has left them with nearly no real infrastructure. The “Charlie Wilson’s War” film mentions this fact near the end, that a small amount of money, compared to the millions spent on AA Missiles, spent on schools, roads and water sources, maybe some clinics – would have been mostly the end of Afghanistan as a problem.
Political situations have a way of evolving, no matter what US politicians(a world away) want. If we leave, the situation would eventually stabilize – no matter what happens half the people in DC will soil themselves anyway.
The real reason our young men die in these places is because someone is making money from it. The “Bottom-Line” mentality runs our country and it has made our country not so great anymore.

Posted by GMN | Report as abusive

There was a time when we, most of us anyhow, understood we would do our best and not have another “Viet Nam”. Attached to that idea was the so-called “Powell Doctrine”.

It was “so-called” because it was never written down as a law and order to our troops but it stands today as it did in 1991, an idea of how NOT to get drawn into an war that cannot be won and have A CLEAR EXIT STRATEGY. (for reference see:http://www.pbs.org/newshour/extra/te achers/lessonplans/iraq/powelldoctrine_s hort.html)

Colin Powell should have taken his own advice and stood his ground in 2003 but declined to do so. Perhaps he would have been the 1st African-American president in 2004. But instead he chose to get behind the “Neo-Cons (emphasis should be on the “con”) He and our leadership let us all down. It just wasn’t Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Powell. It was Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and other Democrats who knew this was a hoax and voted to go to war anyhow so as not to look bad when they ran for president. Now they also have the blood of Iraq and Afghanistan on their hands as well as those who stood proud to serve and were butchered for the furthering of their political goals. “It IS Viet Nam again”. The combat death toll is down but civilian casualties in those countries is beyond the forgiveness of man.

When will Obama bring the troops home ? When we, demand he do so or when we have new – really new leadership in a bankrupt Washington.

Posted by CalBoomer | Report as abusive