Saturday, June 25, 2011

American Troops; Afghanistan, Exodus, and Debate

       In relation to the growing deficit, the amount of U.S. dollars spent funding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have reached the trillions. On June 23rd, President Obama delivered on his expected speech of the Afghanistan exit strategy, and announced his plan to honor his campaign promise by bringing the troops back home (Not entirely, but 33,000 by fall 2012 and 70,000 by the end of 2012). Of course, being that it is a plan from a generally unpopular government individual; the President’s plan is receiving a heavy share of criticism. The Afghanistan US and NATO commander David Petraeus stated that despite the military’s advisements on the plans for withdrawal, the President decided on a more “aggressive” plan. They want to safeguard whatever security gains they’ve made in recent years and do not want Afghanistan to become a terrorist sanctuary once the U.S. withdrawals. Democrats and Republicans both disagree on the timeframe; Democrats believe the withdrawal is too slow, while Republicans believe it to be too fast. Some believe the plan struck a line in the middle of the timetable, with the plan being not too fast and not too slow. However, it’s hard to say whether the President struck that chord. Many critics are simply holding themselves to party lines, of course. Both parties refuse to see the benefits for both of their interests.
       From a Republican point of view, the war is indeed costing around $120,000,000,000 per year to fund; and with that cost going down quicker, the debt ceiling would not have to rise as dramatically in the next five years. One would think this would be an important factor to consider when deciding to oppose the plan. The Republican platform for most GOP candidates is to “cut all spending”. They attack government programs, however, cutting military spending is seldom brought to the table and now it is considered risky. America’s cost to fund the war pose a greater threat to the collapse of the nation more than the partially crippled Taliban. Republicans need to admit that the war has not been an American success story, and the majority of Americans do desire an efficient exit strategy. Democrat leaders strongly support a much more accelerated withdrawal plan and downplay the President’s middle of the road schedule. They may be pinning their hopes of keeping government run programs from being severely cut on the notion that less spending overseas may soften the deficit. Democrats should be pleased that we have an exit strategy and a timeframe, regardless of the fact that it is not fast enough by a small margin. They should also understand the reasoning behind the plan’s opposition, as many might have America’s best interests in mind. Democrats must understand that the exit strategy cannot simply take our troops out, but we have to leave a stable, self sufficient government and military.
       A counter argument by some individuals point out that Afghan interests are not our own and that it should not matter what condition we leave that country in. However, if we leave the nation unsustainable and not self sufficient, then the Taliban will have a stronger uprising due to a failing government, country and economy. It is unwise to write off the Taliban as a threat, even without Pakistani arms providers. The Taliban must be crippled and kept from gaining more traction. They are already beating our soldiers (200,000 Americans and an estimated 20,000 Taliban), and we have to take into account the risks associated with leaving a poor nation with a weak military up against a terrorist organization. The uprising of the Taliban does pose a threat to our national security. And knowing the U.S. foreign policy, we will not resist intervening and assisting the Middle Eastern nations that are under Taliban attacks. As unwise as it is to pose as the world police, we will likely engage in war with the Taliban again if it poses enough of a threat to the Middle East and U.S.

So, in essence,

Stronger Afghanistan military/government = Taliban does not gain as much strength = Less attacks on other middle eastern nations and the U.S. = Less motivation for the U.S. to intervene.

       Another prudent subject matter is our own progression; can we continue to fund such a operation of inefficiency? According to a recent poll done by the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans believe that American forces should be removed from Afghanistan. Our nation is in times of which we cannot risk any more of our American soldiers or dollars in an attempt to bring democracy to a land of which operates as a theocracy and accustomed to dictatorships. The Taliban is not receiving any arms from Pakistan at this time, and the last thing Pakistanis or the Taliban are going to do is antagonize U.S. forces during a time of withdrawal negotiation. The Taliban plan to seek and take Kabul but do not possess the resources to do so at this time. If we are going to leave Afghanistan, we have to ensure that the nation is self sustaining and capable of building on itself; if it is not stable, then the Taliban will take over again. It is a fair argument that the withdrawal plan is a half year too fast, however, but the progress made in ten years despite the raid and killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, it is also fair to say the progress made in Afghanistan has been nil. Would six months make a difference? Not entirely, as some supporters of a faster withdrawal say. There is enough flexibility in the plan to take conditions on the ground into consideration. Many fail to see that, and those of strong opposition may be pleased to see the timeframe change due to these conditions. Military advisors will be involved in the withdrawal of U.S. troops.
        If the U.S. funding of the War on Terrorism is draining our economy (or at least is a large portion of it) then why is the GOP opposing a quicker timeframe of withdrawal and why are some members supporting the bombing of more foreign nations (Libya). We do not need another war and we do not need more enemies to fight. Too many U.S. soldiers have died fighting a war that has crippled our economy and cannot be won. One would believe that something that is heavily draining an economy would likely be evaluated and cut. War usually stimulates an economy; this one has created surging deficit issues and a shameful body count. Democrats should be more supportive of the President, as he did propose a feasible and flexible plan, and they should consider ground conditions and keeping our safeguards intact. If the conditions we leave Afghanistan are poor and unsustainable then we will likely have to fear a higher uprising of the Taliban. We must embrace this plan and exercise whatever flexibility it offers. If we leave Afghanistan an unsustainable army and political machine, then the Taliban will likely feed off of rural areas, grow larger and push the Afghan armies away from those areas to fall back to their cities and lose stability. Stability of the Afghan military is the key to Afghanistan’s resistance to the Taliban and their key to political stability. Once the nation falls to the hands of an expanding Taliban (expanding due to areas being rural and economically destroyed) then the military will die down, and terrorism will become a larger threat due to the country being run by a terrorist organization and there being no military of government opposition. We have to assure ourselves that we leave the nation stable and self sufficient, and the timeframe the President proposed is beneficial to this notion as it gives enough room for ground info-based modification and gives the American people a proper timeframe to satisfy their desire for an exit strategy (also the less money spent in Afghanistan, the more money that gets pumped back into the economy).
        The President conceded near the end of his speech that it is time to focus on nation building in our domestic lands. Our people serve as America’s greatest resource, and we need to invest in them. Taking war funds and investing them in nation building is an idea worth giving credence. We’ve let our nation’s economy and class structure collapse under its own weight due to poor spending, decline in the value of the dollar, and a myriad of other irresponsible decisions and actions by Wall Street, Government, American people, and the military. We need to break out of party lines and form solutions to this debt crisis, and one can hardly argue that the wars we cannot win and the wars that take billions away from the pocket of the American tax payer is not a good place to start. But in order to break free of party loyalty, bias, laziness and unwillingness to compromise, our citizens and representatives need to grow up. And if we judge by the attitudes and attitudes that divide us as a people, that conceit is appearing less likely as the days pass.

No comments:

Post a Comment