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April 09, 2009

War in Afghanistan

I am concerned about President Obama’s decision to send more and more troops to Afghanistan. History has shown that Afghanistan is the “graveyard of empires.” Increased civilian deaths cause outrage, which leads to support of the insurgency, and will drive Taliban and al-Qaida fighters back to Pakistan. Expansion of the war to Pakistan weakens its fragile democratic government. Can we afford to escalate a war that is already costing $4 billion a month?

Finally, what happened to Obama’s pledge of the primacy of diplomacy over war?
 
Kris Cheatum
Kansas City

Comments

Richard Heckler

Food for thought: The war is killing the economy not medicare, Social Security, public education or food stamps!!! In 2008 it has been determined the cost of war is at $3 trillion. What the media and politicians are not revealing is the estimated 35,000 disabled
troops and their families that we taxpayers must support and rightfully so. The cost could well be $5 trillion in 2011.


1. The U.S. health care system is typically characterized as a largely private-sector system, so it may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the $2 trillion annual U.S. health care bill is paid through taxes, according to a 2002 analysis published in Health Affairs by Harvard Medical School associate professors Steffie Woolhandler and David Himmelstein.


2. Social Security adds to the deficit Reality: It's not just wrong—it's impossible! By law, Social Security's funds are separate from the budget, and it must pay its own way. That means that Social Security can't add one penny to the deficit.


3. Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security. Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. Baby boomers were being planned for decades ago.

But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.

4. Politicians forget to tell the news media privatizing Social Security will add $700 billion to the deficit annually for the next 20 years.


5. Letting tax cuts for the top 2 percent—which were never meant to be permanent—expire as scheduled would pay down the federal debt by $700 billion over the next ten years.

6. Medicare is NOT free. Millions of people using medicare insurance STILL pay into medicare insurance every month.


7. Social Security is free??? No way jose’ people have been paying into this small nest egg for about 80 year

8. The military industrial complex requires 60% of every tax dollar.... way tooo much money. REDUCE THIS BY 50%!


Food for thought: The war is killing the economy not medicare, Social Security, public education or food stamps!!!


Stifled Freedom

We still need to get Bin Laden and cut the head off that snake. If we leave, it will sure become a heaven for terrorists.

Iraq.....well, that was a totally unnecessary detour.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Obama will not capture or kill OBL, first of all who knows where he is. Secondly, all we have to do is look at the current fiasco being pulled of by third world, low tech, deadbeats in Somalia. Big O would rather worry about weatherizing the ghetto and catering to illegal aliens after his dinner parties of course. What a coward and a deadbeat fascist. I a glad I am no longer on active duty, I would refuse to salute that clown or Patriot Joe Blow Biden.

Engineer

whispering
Whatever his reasons for doing it, including the war costs in the DOD budget masks the actual cuts to the military services. These cuts are facts and the inevitable result of them will be that we will be less prepared. However, so far as Afghanistan is concerned, I am in agreement with his actions. The same is true of Iraq. On the other hand his actions now don't seem to bear much likeness to his election rhetoric.


whispering_to_kc

"... Obama hopes to hide the actual cuts in the defense budget by including war costs ..."

So, he's "hiding" the actual military costs associated with two wars inside the DoD budget?

Huh? Where else would you book them? He's finally booking the costs where they should have been all along. No more supplementals to really "hide" the costs!!

I'm amazed. The same crowd who defended Bush's decision to go into Iraq over Saddam's make-believe role in 9-11 and the terrorist "threat" he posed to us are now lining up to bash Obama for boosting our efforts to finally get Osama.

I'm amazed.

solomon

Afghanistan has rarely been conquered in all of its history. Our peril is compounded by the fact that we are fighting a religious war. It is not the responsibility of any nation to engage in a religious war. You might see it as the war on terror, but our opponents don't.

Iraq has never been a threat to the United States of America. It has been a threat to some of our interest in its "backyard", but the entire "defense of America" was a bunch of trumped up BS. We have turned the nation into what we accept politically while enforcing curfews and segregation. The so called success of the surge is actually a nation in lockdown. We will have an armed presence there indefinitely.

Smarter Than You

Cycle of life, Sol. Cycle of life. (or cycle of Presidencies if you prefer).

I have to disagree with your analysis of Afghanistan and what Bush did. (History time) From Alexander the Great, to the English, twice, to the Russians no visiting team has ever "won" in Afghanistan. We reacted to their protection of the Taliban.

At the same time, Intelligence said Iraq was a threat. Not only was our President at the time convinced, so was our current Sec. State, VP, etc (you get the idea). So, right or wrong, we went with nearly full Democratic support. While I certainly blame "Bush the Lesser" for not having a long term plan in place, I have to ask what Obama's long term plan for Afghanistan is, and how we will define "victory?" Otherwise he's making the same mistakes we pilloried the last Chief Exec for.

Otherwise, it’s all hakuna matata!

Engineer

solomon
I'm used to politicians so very little that they do bothers me. However it does seem to me that Obama has played the 'look what I was handled" card very frequently. I do have a great deal of angst concerning him because I feel he wants to take the country in directions with which I do not agree. So far he has done nothing to dispel this feeling but has done things to increase it. It is my opinion that he should concentrate on solving the economic problems and defer his social programs until the economic problems are solved. However he seems to be attempting to address everything at once, hence the huge, unprecedented and unsustainable projected deficits. To make the situation direr the consensus seems to be that these projected deficits are understated.

solomon

Very true, Engineer. He asked for the job, but how would you have him respond to those who question what he is doing? Seems you leave him two choices...to tell you what you want to hear or he can shut up. If it bothers you that he brings up the fact that he did not create these problems and there are no simple solutions I think it says more about you than him. Whatever happened to the consensus here last summer that the new President would face unprecedented obstacles, and that was before the Wall St/Banking/ Mortgage/Auto/huge nationwide layoff issues came to the forefront of our day to day reality. I actually feel bad for the guy, he has the crappiest job imaginable, as people who ridicule him as the "Messiah" won't accept anything less from him than divinity.

Our putting Afghanistan on the side burner while we recruited daily in Iraq on behalf of groups with religious, political or family vendettas against us will be a legacy that is going to keep this fight going until we quit. And we are not likely to quit.

We sadly look forward to the 45th President complaining about the mess Obama made from the crap pile Bush left him and the 46th president complaining about the mess the 45th will leave.

Engineer

whispering
Obama hopes to hide the actual cuts in the defense budget by including war costs. You have presented nothing to debate the facts of the cuts. Of course when you have no facts to present you can always try to discredit the source of those you cannot refute.
solomon
Whatever the situation is, he asked to take the problems over. It’s disingenuous to now cry about the tar on tarbaby.

solomon

There will be no definitive "victory" in Afghanistan. There was never a chance for a definitive victory in this action, although IMO had we focused on Afghanistan rather than the imperialist occupation of Iraq we would have hindered the terrorist organizations to a greater degree.

This mess was created by the misguided military moves made by the previous administration, and if any of President Obama's claims of inheriting a bag of crap ring true it is this bag.

Smarter Than You

While posters such as Whispering (Whimpering) and Jim continue to prove this blog will never be confused with the Algonquin Round Table, it is nice to see their delusions of adequacy at work.

Simple question, Guys: How will you define “victory” in Afghanistan? It’s obvious you’re all for more troops, so educate us on what will constitute a big win for the Obama team.

whispering_to_kc

"I am concerned about President Obama’s decision to send more and more troops to Afghanistan."

Afghanistan/Pakistan is where Osama still safely resides. You remember him? The dude who started all this? A maximum effort should have been centered there beginning on 9-12-01 instead of George's excellent adventure chasing Saddam.

Fools.

"Human Events" is a conservative rag and only slightly left of the John Birchers and material presented on God/militia friendly "Free Republic". Recent highlighted articles included "Why Is Rick Wagoner Fired and Nancy Pelosi Still Working?", "Protecting Workers from Union Abuse" and "Will Iowa Become a Homosexual Mecca?".

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=31287

The "$141 Billion shortfall over the next two years" is rooted in the shift of supplemental military spending back into the DoD budget. It has as much to do with spending on social programs as it does spending on the national park system.

Budget'd defense spending will rise over the next few years. The rightwing press is only sore it won't rise enough to represent 4% of GDP. Only in the rightwing press, where expired tax cuts become tax increases, can defense spending increases become spending "cuts".

Engineer

Jim
We should be pleased that Obama is keeping up the effort in Afghanistan. He is creating problems for defense with his budget. It is estimated that the four military branches will face a $141 Billion shortfall over the next two years. (Human Events, Vol. 65 No. 13, Week of April 6, 2009) It seems he must fund his social programs partially on the back of defense. Well, hot air got him elected and George Westinghouse proved it can stop trains, but we will see if it can defend us.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Why have we not extracted the AMERICAN hostage from the Somali pirates?
Seems this new administration is more concerned about being "nice". W might have been about one screw short of a retard but at least he's not a whimp.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

Of course Obama has ZERO experience in military affairs just as he has ZERO experience in enterprise. He is a flip flop just like many politicians.
Let's see, he endorsed the wire tapping policy of Bush yesterday. Intersting.

Jim

Kris has a very short memory. As Marctnts points out, Obama campaigned on sending more troops to Afghanistan and shifting the focus there. Kris is trying to cast this as a sort of "flip flop," but fails miserably.

NoMoreMrNiceGuy

It's yet another double standard.
No matter what he does or does not do, he is a God to his followers.
I would only hope that we do not have any POWs during any war efforts while he is CIC, we have already witnessed how much of a priority Americans are when captured.
Meanwhile he is having some dinner party and handing out free signed glossys of him smiling at the world. Maybe we should tend tto our own business and simply run covert operations which are generally much more target specific and effective.

jeanette

I thought that's where we were supposed to be in the first place.

Marctnts

"Finally, what happened to Obama’s pledge of the primacy of diplomacy over war?"

I'd say that the realities of the presidency have adjusted Obama's thinking on certain issues that were much easier to speak for or against when he was simply a candidate, but to be fair, he was rather open about his intention to focus on Afghanistan during the election. Whether or not this will prove to be a smart decision or an example of yet another "empire" unsuccessfully acting in the country has yet to be seen.

What does concern me a little is the "special war funding" that the administration is now asking for to fund the effort. The promise during the campaign (and a good one in my opinion) was that all war funding would be included in budget bills, and Obama's previous voting record on these special funding requests in the past backed up his claims. Maybe this can also be chalked up to the "realities of the presidency", but I find it a little disconcerting.

 
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