Friday, August 13, 2010

Who Will End The War In Afghanistan?


awesome art by Dimitrios Loumiotis

By 1970 I had given up on the U.S. I couldn't sleep at night stressing over my responsibility, as a citizen and a taxpayer (at least a sales taxpayer), for the unending deaths of innocent civilians in Vietnam and Cambodia. I left the country the year before and had no intention of going back. When the Senate debated George McGovern's (D-SD) and Mark Hatfield's (R-OR) amendment to end the war I was, ironically, living in Afghanistan. A friend sent me a copy of the speech, which moved me tremendously. Obviously conservatives prevailed that day (the vote to defeat the amendment was 55-39) but McGovern rubbed every warmongering senator's nose in excrement. Is there someone in Congress, other than, perhaps Alan Grayson, who would have the cajones to say this today?
Every senator in this chamber is partly responsible for sending 50,000 young Americans to an early grave. This chamber reeks of blood. Every Senator here is partly responsible for that human wreckage at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval and all across our land-- young men without legs, or arms, or genitals, or faces or hopes.

There are not very many of these blasted and broken boys who think this war is a glorious adventure. Do not talk to them about bugging out, or national honor or courage. It does not take any courage at all for a congressman, or a senator, or a president to wrap himself in the flag and say we are staying in Vietnam, because it is not our blood that is being shed. But we are responsible for those young men and their lives and their hopes. And if we do not end this damnable war those young men will some day curse us for our pitiful willingness to let the Executive carry the burden that the Constitution places on us.

So before we vote, let us ponder the admonition of Edmund Burke, the great parliamentarian of an earlier day: "A contentious man would be cautious how he dealt in blood."

Rick Perlstein, in his brilliant book, Nixonland, deals with the reaction from McGovern's esteemed and honorable colleagues after the presiding officer started banging his gavel and insisting his time had expired: "From the Republican side, men rose from their seats: 'Regular order! Regular order!'"

Historian Robert Mann claims McGovern "shocked" his colleagues into deep, stunned silence. And as they started voting, one of them walked up to McGovern and indignantly told him that he had been "personally offended" by the speech. McGovern replied, "That's what I meant to do."

The time has come to start personally offending the bloody pack of murderers on Capitol Hill who are doing this in our name. The Military-Industrial Complex will never get out until we force them to. Obama's way too weak and vacillating to do it-- and surrounded by monsters. We own this war. We've got to stop it.
American military officials are building a case to minimize the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan starting next summer, in an effort to counter growing pressure on President Obama from inside his own party to begin winding the war down quickly.

With the administration unable yet to point to much tangible evidence of progress, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who assumed command in Afghanistan last month from Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, is taking several steps to emphasize hopeful signs on the ground that, he will argue, would make a rapid withdrawal unwise. Meanwhile, a rising generation of young officers, who have become experts over the past nine years in the art of counterinsurgency, have begun quietly telling administration officials that they need time to get their work done.

“Their argument,” said one senior administration official, who would not speak for attribution about the internal policy discussions, “is that while we’ve been in Afghanistan for nine years, only in the past 12 months or so have we started doing this right, and we need to give it some time and think about what our long-term presence in Afghanistan should look like.”

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates signaled the military’s position recently when he said that the initial troop withdrawals next summer “will be of fairly limited numbers.” General Petraeus, who has kept a low profile for the past six weeks while conducting a countrywide assessment, is expected to amplify the message during the media offensive he will begin on Sunday, when he is to appear on the NBC News program “Meet the Press.” He is expected to say that the last of the 30,000 additional troops Mr. Obama ordered to Afghanistan last December will not arrive until later this month, and that the counterinsurgency strategy has not been given enough time to succeed.

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At 11:51 AM, Blogger The Kid said...

Why doesn't any American people think about the people they kill in their wars?

1 Million in Vietnam and hundreds of thousands in Iraq.

I get the feeling these numbers just dont matter in America...

At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Bil said...

I can see Obama getting challenged by SOMEBODY running on that platform. The Repubs wouldn certainly jump on the bandwagon through the primaries...

Kucinich, WHILE RIGHT for the last 12 years is probably unelectable. Who else, maybe Feingold?


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