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General Stanley McChrystal is the lucky one. Having been booted from his Afghanistan command for a combination of insubordination and stupidity, he gets to leave. For our country’s sake, a better move would’ve been for President Obama to make the general stay there and let the 90,000 troops who’re stuck in this god-awful, pointless war come home.
Last December, as he escalated what is already America’s longest war, Obama said to those who do the fighting and dying: “As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service.” Yes sir, you do. But you haven’t delivered.
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The only clear objective we’ve seen is Washington’s bizarre determination to prop up the government and army of Hamid Karzai – and that is not worthy of anyone’s service, much less worthy of lost lives. He’s not even a legitimate president, having stolen last year’s election. His government is inept, incurably corrupt, and widely despised by the Afghan people. Plus, Karzai is a preening, petulant popinjay who is openly dissing the United States, while trying to cut a power-sharing deal with the very Taliban forces that our troops are trying to oust! Why are we fighting for him?
McCrystal is out, but Obama and the military brass insist that the general’s “counterinsurgency” strategy is still very much in – even though it is turning out to be an embarrassing failure. Top American officials reportedly concede that we can’t win this war, yet they continue to recycle our bone-weary, overused troops on tour after tour through the Afghanistan slog, dumping $12 billion a month into it. That is not merely wrong, it is disgusting.
Even such a hardline conservative as George Will calls this war “a fools errand.” More than a thousand Americans have paid for it with their lives. Isn’t that enough?
“The Courage To Leave,” The New York Times, June 11, 2010.
“Stick to the deadline,” Austin American Statesman,” June 19, 2010.
“When can-do culture collides with a cannot-be-done task,” Austin American Statesman, June 24, 2010.
“Overture to Taliban Aggravates Ethnic Tensions in Afghanistan,” The New York Times, June 27, 2010.
“Karzai officials seen impeding bribery probes,” Washington Post, June 28, 2010.
“U.S. Intelligence Puts New Focus On Afghan Graft, The New York Times, June 13, 2010.
“Setbacks Cloud Plans to Get Out of Afghanistan,” The New York Times,” June 15, 2010.
“Karzai Is Said to Doubt West Can Defeat Taliban,” The New York Times, June 12, 2010.