I Need a Time-Out

afghan woman

George McGovern, the 1972 loser of the Presidential election, has written an opinion piece in the Sunday edition of the Washington Post:

As you settle into the Oval Office, Mr. President, may I offer a suggestion? Please do not try to put Afghanistan aright with the U.S. military. To send our troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan would be a near-perfect example of going from the frying pan into the fire. There is reason to believe some of our top military commanders privately share this view. And so does a broad and growing swath of your party and your supporters.

True, the United States is the world’s greatest power — but so was the British Empire a century ago when it tried to pacify the warlords and tribes of Afghanistan, only to be forced out after excruciating losses. For that matter, the Soviet Union was also a superpower when it poured some 100,000 troops into Afghanistan in 1979. They limped home, broken and defeated, a decade later, having helped pave the way for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

So basically, what he suggests is that we lay down our arms and formally surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan, then he cites the example of the Brits and the Soviets failure in Afghanistan, but he fails to recognize the difference in their campaign and ours. Those two empires tried to pacify the countryside by destroying everything they saw. The United States is busy rebuilding schools, roads, and giving medical supplies while terrorists attempt to destroy everything. Big difference.

I have believed for some time that military power is no solution to terrorism. The hatred of U.S. policies in the Middle East — our occupation of Iraq, our backing for repressive regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, our support of Israel — that drives the terrorist impulse against us would better be resolved by ending our military presence throughout the arc of conflict. This means a prudent, carefully directed withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere. We also need to close down the imposing U.S. military bases in this section of the globe, which do so little to expand our security and so much to stoke local resentment.

Let’s bring all of our troops out of the middle east and they will just leave us alone, right? The murdering islamo-fascists just want us out of the neighborhood and then everything will be fine. I definitely feel a headache coming on.

We cannot evade this reckoning. The British thought they could extend their control over Iraq even while pulling out their ground forces by creating a string of bases in remote parts of the country, away from the observation of most Iraqis. It didn’t work. No people that desires independence and self-determination wishes to have another nation’s military bases in its country. In 1776, remember, 13 little colonies drove the mighty British Empire from American soil.

In 2003, the Bush administration ordered an invasion of Iraq, supposedly to reduce terrorism. But six years later, there is more terrorism and civil strife in Iraq, not less. The same outcome may occur in Afghanistan if we make it the next American military conflict.

Well, we have military bases in Kuwait, Germany, and Japan nowadays. The civilian populace, upset that the evil U.S. doesn’t let them have their independence, attacks the base daily. Oh wait, no, they don’t.

And there’s more terrorism in Iraq, huh? The same Washington Post where your misinformed drivel is published has a story from October, 2008 citing “the lowest levels of violence since early 2004”.

So let me suggest a truly audacious hope for your administration: How about a five-year time-out on war — unless, of course, there is a genuine threat to the nation?

Time out? Someone get al Qaeda on the phone, I think George is on to something here. Unless there is a genuine threat? Didn’t a genuine threat present itself on September 11th, 2001 that originated in Afghanistan?

You can read the full editorial here if you so choose, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Published in: on January 25, 2009 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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