When I got up this morning, I did what I always do first thing: Opened Facebook.
BTW: I really find it disturbing that this has usurped making coffee, letting the dog out or even letting myself out.
Immediately, I noticed something interesting. Every person on my friends list who is currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq were all online at the same time. My first thought was that if these people have an opportunity to be in touch with home when they are so far away from home in harm’s way, all of my irritation with this branch of social media was negated. I can only imagine how difficult it can be and painfully lonely one can feel in that situation and how a random posting on Facebook can bring them a little piece of home.
I have three nephews who have all been sent to fight in the Middle East. Two of them are there right now. I have friends whose husbands, brothers, sons AND daughters are all serving their Country in this godforsaken part of the planet. I took a minute to say a word of thanks for their service and their safety.
By now I’ve turned on the TV and in preparation for this program, began watching and monitoring the news. Other than to mention that August 2011 was one of the costliest in terms of lives for the US, there was NO mention of our troops overseas.
In fact, we…the media were much more obsessed with Nancy Grace being selected to Dancing With the Stars. While CNN and Good Morning America were ranking the dancing strengths of Ricki Lake vs. whichever Arquette Courtney Cox was married to, soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines were all risking their lives for the sake of a government there that doesn’t really want us there (but wants the security and dollars of us being there) and a government here that I’m becoming more and more certain doesn’t recall exactly why we ARE there and just where the hell the billions being spent is actually going.
The amount of money being wasted by no means is more staggering and sad than the loss of American lives. But when we as a country are facing record deficits, when FEMA tells hurricane riddled communities ‘sorry we can’t help you because we don’t have the money’ and when the major debate on Capitol Hill involves the ocean of red ink we are drowning in, I feel pretty confident I can help the country save a couple of bucks. And stop the loss of young American lives:
Get the hell out of Afghanistan.
As late as today, I heard firsthand how millions, billions of dollars are being wasted daily and how we the American tax payers are getting screwed for the sake of political posturing. These stories are not coming to me from my congressman, nor are they coming to me from the media. These are things I am hearing from those people there who see massive waste of money and lives from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Soldiers are speaking out. The quote I heard today pretty much sums it up: “The American taxpayers have no idea how much money is being wasted here.”
In the middle of the hysteria of Irene, it was barely mentioned that a report out of Afghanistan found tens of billions of dollars that are literally wasting away in the desert wind. Of the 20 or so specific items listed, the smallest amount of money attached to any one of them was $11 million on a project nobody asked for that was abandoned halfway through completion.
Look, I am NOT an expert in these things. I am just a regular person who sees common sense as the second biggest casualty in the war on terrorism. Having a wave of democracy run through the Middle East is a lovely notion but what we fail to understand is that that is exactly what it is: a notion. These countries, these people have lived a way of life that dates back to before Jesus, before Moses in the case of Iraq, dates to Adam and Eve. For us to think that we’re going to ride in on the white horse and John Wayne these heathens into truth justice and the American way is ridiculous.
What we fail to understand is that these are countries whose history is steeped in tribal law. Iraq, Syria, Egypt and now Libya one by one they are experiencing the taste of freedom. That’s a good thing. The people of these countries are finally escaping the oppression of dictators that are not only ruthless and barbaric; some like the good Colonel are just plain nuts. But as in the case with Libya once they have deposed their dictator they’re faced with the realization of “holy crap, now what?”
Welcome to the United States approximately 1786. As I recall from my American history classes, after we won our fight with the Brits, we pretty much thanked our allies then politely asked them to leave us to figure out exactly what this democracy was going to look like. Maybe we should take a page from our own history.
Which brings me back to Afghanistan. It’s no secret that most of the common Afghans don’t want us there. Hell, a majority of these people don’t even know we’re there. We are fighting and dying and pouring billions of dollars to free a nation of warring tribes who are on one hand religious zealots and poppy farmers on the other who don’t necessarily want to be free. Seventy cents of every dollar generated in Afghanistan comes from foreign aid and most of that comes from you and me. I don’t know about you but nobody asked me how much I was willing to spend to help farmers who hate us to produce and export heroin to kill our kids back home.
Why are we doing this again? Oh yeah, war on terror. In the words of the great comedian Richard Nixon “Let me make this perfectly clear” I hate terrorism and those who resort to using it. I hate the way women and especially young women are treated in these countries and I want nothing more than for these people to experience the freedom we (I) take for granted every day. What I want more than that is for we as a government to take a page from the Russians. After ten years of a fruitless battle, they realized that you cannot erase thousands of years of hatred and thousands of years of tribal societal government and replace it with communism or the new kid on the block democracy that’s only been around since the Romans.
We can’t fix this place. We ARE doing great things like building schools, repairing the infrastructure and taking care of the Afghan people. I just think it’s time to bring that money and effort home and do the same for our people. We can help their people only so long until they need to step up and help themselves. But those people are not going to step up and help themselves as long as we keep taking the bullets, providing the safety and security and most of all put the billions of dollars on their pockets while we go broke and become China’s largest welfare case.
America became free and independent when WE decided to become free and independent. We didn’t wait for France or China or anyone else to come in and kick the Brits out of our house. If America’s ultimate goal is to protect our interests (Israel and Oil) then let’s quit wasting time and do what Kissinger suggested forty years ago. Let’s blow them off the map and suck the oil out from under them.
One of the most astute scholars of the Middle East I ever knew was General John Abazaid (former head of US Central Command). In a very casual conversation he mentioned to me that stuck in my brain regarding the long road ahead for these burgeoning democracies. In short, he said for democracy to take hold and flourish in this region will take at least three generations of blood, sweat and dedication of the people there. We can help, but we can’t do it for them.
If our goal is to help spread democracy through the region then let’s take a page from our own history book, get out, give guidance to the people when they ask and let them create their new nation, conceived in Liberty, born of battle and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.