Withdrawal is dishonorable

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Now we learn that next summer we will pull our combat troops out of Afghanistan, abandoning a cause we once thought worthy of the lives and blood of those we sent to fight and die. We tied their hands with rules of engagement so restrictive they couldn’t fight and win, and now we leave bloody, tired and without victory.

This is not the first time we’ve done this to the American military.

Korea, Vietnam, Somalia and the first war in Iraq are all wars we abandoned without victory, thereby dishonoring the blood, lives and money we spent on them before we lost interest – or lost the guts – to win. In Iraq and Afghanistan we have so far lost nearly 5,000 American lives with nearly 35,000 injured. In Vietnam, we lost more than 58,000 lives and more than 153,000 were injured. No victories in sight.

We already know what will happen when we leave. We’ve seen it before, in Vietnam and elsewhere. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, will be slaughtered, tortured and persecuted because they worked with us and trusted us to protect them as we promised. We have abandoned them and we abandoned our solemn promises, leaving them now to suffer at the will of Islamist terrorists as they move in to replace our departing soldiers.

We have betrayed the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan just as we betrayed the people of South Vietnam. The ultimate betrayal is, however, what we’ve asked the men and women of the American military to do for us while we repeatedly show them that the causes for which they fought and died weren’t worth winning in the first place.

And now we learn we’ve decided to negotiate with the enemy and perhaps release some of them from Guantanamo Bay to kill more Americans, or to participate in the upcoming genocide.

Tom Taber

Augusta

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burninater
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burninater 02/09/12 - 01:38 am
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I sincerely feel absolutely

I sincerely feel absolutely horrible for soldiers and their families that believe they are being sent to war by old men in air conditioned offices, with their hands in the pockets of defense contractors, on missions of honor.

avidreader
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avidreader 02/09/12 - 06:08 am
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You write, "a cause we once

You write, "a cause we once thought worthy". Who is "we"? Are you attempting to speak for our nation as a whole. Many of the "we" never thought our exploits in Iraq and Afghanistan were worthy in the beginning. I am one of the "we" who has been proven correct in my assumptions.

And yes, Mr. Taber, you are correct about Korea, Vietnam, etc.; so why does our nation continue to strike against countries where victory will never be an option without the total annihilation of the opposition's infrastructure. We are simply too civilized to fight wars.

I guess WE will just have to fully withdraw from the middle east, lick our wounds, and hopefully learn a lesson from this hopeless attempt to Americanize nations that only see US as the infidel.

However, I doubt that the consequences of history will ever stop a rabid government from jumping into the fire at a later date. And on a personal note, I am more concerned with OUR economy than that of distant, tribal nations.

agustinian
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agustinian 02/09/12 - 07:24 am
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Mr. Taber, are we living in

Mr. Taber, are we living in the same country? What was dishonorable about our departure from Iraq? (a war I didn't agree with). It's a democracy with a tyrant gone.

What is "victory" in these types of wars? What was it in Vietnam? I have no idea. (BTW I was in Vietnam twice). It's not our job to create a likeness of America everywhere we go. It's not our job to make sure girls in Afghanistan can go to school, or people can vote. Our job was to deny an area/country for terrorists groups to orchestrate attacks on the US.

We have been in Afghanistan more than 10 years -- how much longer you want to stay there?

There isn't anything dishonorable about leaving Afghanistan now. We have done enough. And if the terrorists raise their ugly heads again, we go in and quash them. The Afghans need to figure out, on their own, what kind of country they want. They need to fight for what they want. Americans shouldn't be dying for someone else's freedom.

I'm a veteran, willing to die for my country, but not someone else's.

Carleton Duvall
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Carleton Duvall 02/09/12 - 07:26 am
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avidreader, you took Mr Taber

avidreader, you took Mr Taber to task for his use of the word "we" in his letter and then did the same thing in your second paragraph when you said" we are too civilized to fight wars." I say to you after reading the news every morning that many of us are not too civilized. To the contrary
many of us are not civilized at all.

dichotomy
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dichotomy 02/09/12 - 11:03 am
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I agree with you colonel.

I agree with you colonel. Soldiers unfortunately have to do the bidding of a nation full of schizophrenics with hot flashes. "Oh, I'm bored with this war. Let's quit and go home."

There is no question that the taliban and al qaeda will retake control in Afghanistan when we pull out. It's very probable that shiite controlled Iraq will fall under the influence of the radical regime in Iran. Couple that with the rise of the muslim brotherhood and other radical muslim groups in several other countries during the "Arab spring" and I fear that we will soon regret our current schizophrenic regime's decision to dismantle our military ground troops.

They will dismantle our military ground forces and cut back on their pay and medical benefits. But, when the next attack comes, and it will come, we all know who they're gonna call and it won't be Ghostbusters. After 911 you could hardly find anyone that didn't want us to go kill a bunch of somebodies. It didn't really matter who. They just wanted to sit back and turn on their TV and watch us killing somebody. They didn't want to win a war because they didn't, and still don't, realize this is a long term war where the other side intends to kill us at every opportunity. The other side is controlled by an inbred, ancient cultural, religious ideology. We are controlled by schizophrenics with hot flashes. They are on a dedicated religious mission and the best we can do is throw an occasional temper tantrum followed shortly by clinical depression.

Our young men and women who respond to our call when we are ready to throw another temper tantrum are the best and the most honorable this country has to offer and we use and abuse them and put them away wet every time. Couldn't blame them at all if the next time we called they did not come.

RonRoberts
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RonRoberts 02/09/12 - 03:31 pm
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Dichotomy, I can't keep up

Dichotomy, I can't keep up with who your "they"s are, frankly.

First of all, I'm not sure (nor do many) what the definition of "victory" is in the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan. What were the goals?

CLEARLY, the goal in Iraq was to topple Saddam Hussein's regime (a regime we spent billions propping up from 1979 to 1989) after falsely inflating his intents to do us harm (there were none). So his regime was ousted, he was caught, found guilty of crimes we probably helped him carry out over the years, and put him to death. We found no WMD, we found no al Qaeda, so we propped up a shoddy excuse for a democracy and left. Say what you will about Saddam (and he was a grade "A" jack***, but that was partially of our own making), but he was a strong secularist who ran a fairly progressive nation in that region, and kept the batty religious ideologues in their place (mostly for his own benefit, but it benefited us all, in the end).

As for Afghanistan, again, I ask - what was the goal? To find those who attacked us in 2001? Last I checked, we've done that AND dismantled the regime that gave them safe haven. We also propped up a fledgling and deeply flawed "democracy" there and have been training cave-dwellers (and the higher-educated Afghani's aren't much better, unfortunately) in semi-sophisticated defense and weapons protocol.

This is the Bush legacy of "nation-building." We barge in, break it, and are on the hook for patching it back up in some sort of workable fashion; only our military's not designed to do that. You know what they ARE designed to do? Protect us from invasion & threats; covert ops like that did us well in killing Osama bin Laden and retrieving hostages in Somalia, and invading feeble nations with militaries a tenth of our size and squashing them like a bug in a matter of days or weeks.

Then again, those defense contractor$ don't make enough on covert ops and simply defending the homeland.

harley_52
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harley_52 02/09/12 - 05:15 pm
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If we don't know the goals,

If we don't know the goals, how can we support them? And if we don't support the goals, why then are we asking our soldiers to fight and die for them? That's the point here.

Blaming "Bush" is nothing more than a demonstration of a political agenda. It' isn't just Bush, it's Presidents of both parties over decades and yes, including Obama. He "surged" troops into Afghanistan and left troops in Iraq for three years of his Presidency. Have we won those wars, lost them or tied them?

If we don't want to win them, why do we fight them?

RonRoberts
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RonRoberts 02/09/12 - 08:45 pm
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I'm not demonstrating a

I'm not demonstrating a political agenda; I'm stating a fact. We chose to tear down and rebuild nations (aka "nation-building"). We cannot do the former without responsibly doing the latter, as well.

President Obama did what I believe even President Bush would have (eventually) done; he waited for conditions to be right for our withdrawal. I wanted us out of there ASAP, myself, but won't find fault with making sure we'd done our due diligence. You dont' "rip" a band-aid off a wound, do you?

Again, I ask, what is the definition of "win" or "victory" here?

allhans
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allhans 02/09/12 - 08:47 pm
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Quiting is so much easier.

Quiting is so much easier. And, it is an election year, got it now?

harley_52
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harley_52 02/09/12 - 09:14 pm
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RonRoberts said "Again, I

RonRoberts said "Again, I ask, what is the definition of "win" or "victory" here?"

Who are you asking? That question is one to be answered before you send people off to die and before you spend billions of dollars.

When are conditions "right for our withdrawal?" Can you quantify that? Is it after we've reached some threshold in dead soldiers, or spent some number of billions of dollars? Apparently it has nothing to do with military considerations since the Generals all seem to think we should stay at least for the "fighting season."

Who says we have to rebuild what we "tore down?" Does any other country on earth do that?

Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 02/10/12 - 12:53 am
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Our problem in Afghanistan,

Our problem in Afghanistan, like that in Vietnamand in Iraq, is simple: We have a history of wanting self-determination for foreign folks more than do these folks themselves. But we won't admit that disquieting fact to ourselves.

It's time to mind our own business and to get our domestic and fiscal houses in order.

RonRoberts
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RonRoberts 02/10/12 - 03:38 pm
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So Harley, you think we "win

So Harley, you think we "win hearts and minds" by destroying cities and schools and infrastructure, then leaving? Wow. Yeah, that'll work.... (note: sarcasm)

Yes; we destroy, we re-build. Maybe "we" need to consider that cost, along with the loss of life on our part and their citizenry, too, before we allow a cowboy to go sending our troops into another country.

As to who I'm asking what the definition of "win" or "victory" is...I'm asking ANY body; the author of this letter for starters. I mean, were we supposed to stick around on the supposition that MAYBE things would deteriorate when we left, when at the time, Iraq was, by and large, a safe and sound government and nation?

I never said a thing about "thresholds" of troop loss or billions (or trillions) of tax dollars spent, either.

Oh, and FIND me a general who'll say it's okay to leave a theater of combat. Heck no; it's in the best intere$t that they stay. Vietnam-era generals were probably all too willing to just stay there, too ...

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