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Afghan War at a Stalemate

March 25, 2009

I came across an article on  talking about the shift in focus from Iraq to Afghanistan. According to the article, no one in the Obama Administration will say that we are winning in the Afghan conflict, and I don’t think the American people will either. It has been almost six years since former President Bush declared “Mission Accomplished”, yet what did we accomplish exactly? I am sure there are a multitude of answers for that question depending on your political persuasion, but in my opinion: not much. After September 11th, the American people were angry, and rightfully so. People wanted answers, results and vengeance. The original focus of our vengeance was Afghanistan, but somehow we got lost on the way in Iraq. So we settled in, got comfy and decided to spread the democracy. I suppose some people say that its noble. I suppose that some people say it was the right thing to do, how could we let a dictator rule in this day and age? But 7 ½ years later we have little to show for our efforts other than a growing national debt, mounting troop casualties, and the promise that we will step up our efforts in Afghanistan:

Even with these additional forces, I have to tell you that 2009 is going to be a tough year,” Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, said after Obama approved 17,000 additional forces to target the spreading insurgency in southern Afghanistan.

McKiernan called the war in the south “at best stalemated,” but said the new troops can gain a toehold. The semantic space between losing and “not winning,” as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has said, leaves room for the military turnaround that U.S. leaders hope will come this year or next.

Is Afghanistan the “right war”? Is there a right war? I am not so certain.  Should we step up our efforts just to “not lose” but “not win”?  I guess its just an effort to save face.  In the last 8 years we have looked like bullies, and I suppose the thinking behind it is that we need to finally do what we set out to originally do.  But my question is, after all this time will it make a difference? 

What bothers me the most I suppose is the way that the number of troop casualties are referenced:

Military analysts have warned that U.S. casualties could double this year. Already, U.S. deaths in Afghanistan increased threefold during the first two months of 2009 compared with the same period last year – numbers that have daunted U.S. officials as they turn their attention from Iraq to the new battle lines in Afghanistan.

I understand that this phrase is being used for comparative purposes, but have the analysts, media, and American people forgotten that these casualties are real people?  That they have families and loved ones that they are leaving behind? It bothers me that we are getting a warning that more people are going to die. Members of our military family.

So now that we have gotten ourselves stuck smack dab in the middle of this mess we need to figure out a way to get out of it.  Not to get further in.  While no one will want to “lose” the war, does anyone really think that in the end someone will win?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 25, 2009 5:56 pm

    It is Iraq all over again, and the worst part is that the ‘American People’ are already bored with war, they have already tuned out this information, and they aren’t enraged anymore, they aren’t driven to speak up. If it is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ I don’t know, I just know that too many of our own are dying over there. But I digress, this war scares me so much and I don’t see an end to it any time soon.

    PS- Great first post!

    • March 25, 2009 6:00 pm

      I dont see an end to it either and it makes me sad. Especially since I feel like we are running aroundin circles chasing a tail we will never get. People are bored, dont care, and would rather watch American Idol than have to pay attention to whats going on in the world. I dont know how many times in the past two or so years Ive heard people say that they just dont watch the news anymore because its too depressing. Depressing or not… doesnt change what is happening.

  2. snarkynavywife permalink*
    March 25, 2009 7:52 pm

    Excellent post! I especially like when you said:

    “While no one will want to “lose” the war, does anyone really think that in the end someone will win?”

    I think this is absolutely a concern we need to remember throughout the time we’re there. Historically speaking, the chances of winning a war in Afghanistan aren’t all that great. They have vast mountains in which to hide (and they’re doing a remarkable job), and all they have to do is bide their time until we’ve laid waste to our economy. Kinda like USSR. Oh, wait….

    Reminds me of the Princess Bride…
    “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is never get involved in a land war in Asia, but only slightly less well-known is this: never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…”

    • March 25, 2009 7:58 pm

      Thank you very much!

      Kinda like the USSR… definitely. I was going to mention it, but I thought it would get me off on a tangent and I’d have this super long post.

  3. March 25, 2009 11:39 pm

    The Bush Administration took their eye off the ball in Afghanistan and now a war-weary military and an economically challenged nation are supposed to jump in there and “clean up?” Have we not learned anything from history?

    I was at a Dem resolutions committee meeting over the weekend and we had several resolutions pushing for an increase in diplomacy and multilateralism in Afghanistan. In between the health care and ethics stuff, I was heartened that people still gave a crap.

  4. March 27, 2009 10:12 pm

    The full text of Obama’s speech on Afghanistan/Pakistan can be found here:


  1. Exactly!!! «

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