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Afghanistan is the longest war in US history.
There is no evidence that the type of elected government we inserted in afghanistan will last past the moment we leave. They will likely revert back to the feudel society that is the result of their nearly 1500 years of wars, subjegations, civil wars and war lording. So, I think if our expectation is that afghanistan will become a well behaved member of the world community we need to do a reality check. If the goal was to get al Qaeda, some of that was accomplished. It's not clear that completing that necessarily requires an occupation? al Qaeda is a fairly dispersed organization. What's so special about the middle east that we need to focus on that region ...hmmmm. If we think we need to leave behind a stable government, we're going to be disappointed, unless we're prepared for our first 100 year war.
Understand that the extreme muslim mindset is that once engaged, a dispute is never over until one side is completely eradicated. That was the scorched earth policy all the way back to Genghis Khan and beyond. It is why they killed not only the grown men, but the sons as well. The son is duty bound to avenge the killing of fathers, grandfathers, etc. They will still be coming for us 50 years from now, 100 years from now. Why do you think Israel is still fighting them after thousands of years. Americans must learn to understand this. It will not go away...period.
I dearly hope the goal in Afghanistan is to eradicate them, the government there is a side issue. We are engaged. We will continue to be engaged. We are no longer insulated by oceans...it is just the way it is. I may sound radical, but I have been there. You cannot understand the thinking until you have seen it.
Further understand, our government (generically speaking) gives out information in small doses. They have to avoid causing mass panic, and they have to avoid sending signals to enemies. Information comes out in small doses over long periods of time. The fact that I see Panetta making these statements tells me we have moved to the next stage of communication..preparing us, the public, for what they already know.
Sorry Leon, but the mission that MOST Americans remember is retaliation for 911. That happened with the killing of Bin Laden. At that moment, the mission was over, and somebody should have declared victory and brought the troops home. Leon, check out the American opinion polls on this one and maybe you need to get out of D.C. more.
PS... The Afghans have been fighting for centuries, and our new mission there, according to the military anyway, is to train them how to fight. Now, how many people are buying that one?
Finally, before you wave the flag and say we are doing the right thing, step back, take a look at the broader picture, and which corporations are making a killing (pardon the pun) off this war. What's that? It creates jobs? Sad.
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