Off to Afghanistan: when will they ever learn?

UPDATE: (2-25-12):

Since I first posted this, it has been reported that several U.S. military personnel, including two high-ranking officers, were killed in connection with rioting and a general uprising among some of the populace in Afghanistan over the burning of Islamic holy books, Korans, reported to have been done recently by mistake by U.S. personnel. They were supposedly burning subversive material and the Korans got mixed in. I suppose since most of our personnel don’t know the native language of the area, and what is it? that could be possible, that it was a “mistake”. But whoever ordered it should be demoted, prosecuted, and sent home. If that was not incompetence, I don’t know what is.

But actually all U.S. personnel need to go home. The Afghan war is a pointless exercise. It apparently takes the United States about a decade to learn these things.

Winning the hearts and minds of people around the world should not be our job. If we minded our own business, they might seek to emulate us because of our standard of living and our freedom. We (the United States) went in there because terrorists used Afghanistan as a staging area and headquarters leading up to the 9/11 attack — ironically we finally killed the master mind of the 9/11 attack, Osama Bin Laden, not there but inside Pakistan, who pretends to be our friend at times for our financial and military support, but who aids and abets our enemies. Because our modern enemies are not uniformed soldiers operating out of specific nations they are harder to fight and beat, but helicopters swooping in with Navy SEALS is a modern tactic, and a drone up the a.. works at times too, although the latter in problematic and poses questions of ethics and whether modern warfare has got so impersonal, those who remotely fly the drones commuting to work and then home again to the suburbs, half way round the world from where the action is, that it adds a new Orwellian dimension that may already be out of hand.


If Ron Paul was not so one-dimensional, he might be the leader who could lead us out of the madness.


I see via the photos and story in my local newspaper that a local National Guard unit is deploying to Afghanistan.

And I thought all of this was supposed to be over for us (the U.S.).

But it’s never over.

While I fear this is all futile, it is not quite like Vietnam in that the military personnel going over there are all volunteers and interestingly the ages of the soldiers are often much older — one from my hometown or area is in his 50s. In Vietnam young men still in their teens were forced to go fight a senseless war which we had no business fighting and nothing to gain. We may have thought otherwise at the beginning, but it became apparent as time went by that it was all a terrible mistake, a blunder if you will.

I suppose those going over from my area feel that they are serving their country and somehow it all translates into the fight for freedom and against tyranny and extreme Islam. There is also a financial incentive. They signed up because it is an extra job.

I do not condemn them for it. I just don’t agree that it is worthwhile.

And the next part is kind of touchy. While I do not condemn the troops, I do the policy makers who are squandering our tax dollars.

I also think it is heart wrenching to think that some of these people will not make it back or will return terribly wounded. There are mothers and fathers going; in at least one case both the mother and father are going from one family. And as I said. The age span is much wider this time around.

Ironically, I think I once considered — albeit not too seriously — signing up for the unit in question, and for the wrong reason, more money. I served three years in the Army during the Vietnam War but did not go to Vietnam. I don’t know, maybe if I would have singed up for the reserves or guard I might have eventually found myself in Desert Storm or even in Afghanistan — I’m 62 now.

I was no soldier, even though I was in the Army. I did my service, though. I filled a slot.

I think it was former Secretary of State Madeline Albright who said, I think in reference to the Kosovo campaign (one I never understood what our interest in was), “what good is it to have an army if we can’t use it?” (a paraphrase probably, despite my quote marks).

I agree with that sentiment, but we should be awful choosy as to how we use it.

And think of World War I and think of Vietnam:

And think of what Peter Paul and Mary sung: “where have all the soldiers gone, gone to graveyards everyone, when will they ever learn?…”



In case anyone was wondering or cared, I inadvertently left out a preposition in my original headline to this post. Been so busy with my real job, I did not catch it till quite a bit later.

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