Like many other Americans, I listened to Mr. Obama explain why he has (finally) made a decision about what to do with Afghanistan. It wasn't much of a speech but it did point out that we don't know much about our enemy. We know so little it is embarassing. Let's get a few things corrected.
America (President Bush) did NOT start the current war in Iraq. Saddam Hussein waved the white flag in 1991 and said he wanted peace. He promised to end Iraq's support of terrorists and to cooperate with weapons inspectors sent to verify the extent of his military capability. For 12 long years he violated his promises. He defied the U.N., flew military aircraft in the (agreed on) no-fly zone, and continued to threaten his neighbors. Saddam Hussein's actions caused the first Gulf war to be re-opened.
The population of Afghanistan is about 13 million. The Taliban organization has approximately 25 to 30 thousand members. The Taliban controlled Afghanistan until we removed them from power. When they were in control the Taliban harbored and supported the Al-Qaida terrorist organization. At the time they were forced out of Afghanistan, Al Qaida had only 200 or 300 members. The Taliban moved to a mountainous region of Pakistan together with the Al Qaida terrorists, which is where they are located now.
Al Qaida is believed to be responsible for training and supporting the terrorists that attacked the World Trade Center on 9/11. It's leader and provider of finances is Osama bin Laden, and most important, it has an unknown number of terrorist cells that are largely independent but definitely operating under the Al Qaida banner all over the globe. It appears to be a loose confederation using the same methods to indoctrinate and train terrorists. Their key characteristic is their willingness to kill infidels by committing suicide - all in the name of THE PEACEFUL RELIGION OF ISLAM.
America has had miltary forces in Afghanistan for over 8 years and they still don't have a reliable government, a legal system, an adequate source of medical care, and a police or military able to enforce the law and defend the people. The country is so backward, so deep in poverty, and the people are so different, that 5 more years of American presence will not change their circumstances or their future.
To restore American honor we need to destroy Al Qaida including it's leadership. To prevent the Taliban from returning to Afghanistan and to prevent them from harboring terrorists in the future, America must reduce their power. If we have to destroy the Taliban organization in order to eliminate the Al Qaida terrorists, so be it. By my count that is still only TWO objectives.
As of yesterday we plan to send 30,000 more troops to reinforce the 10,000 we already have in place. Great Britain is promising another 8,000, and assorted other countries are promising another 5,000. By my count we will have over 53,000 military personnel there to fight about 25,000 Taliban-Al Qaida Muslims. Our troops have more powerful weapons by a factor of 10 times. I would call that an OVERWHELMING FORCE and they should be able to WIN.
Okay . . . but what are we winning? Afghanistan will remain a backward, poppy growing, destitute and cruel country. The Taliban (perhaps be a different name) wil start up again to control the money from the drug trade. Osama bin Laden is only unique because he has access to money. Otherwise, he's just another brain dead terrorist. Al Qaida or some organization like it, will rise again. We have lost a lot of blood and treasure for what?