More War But Still No Jobs
By Mary Shaw
30 December, 2009
It sounds as though President Obama plans to keep us in Afghanistan through most, if not all, of his first term. Is he gambling with his own political future even as he is gambling with our tax dollars and -- more importantly -- our soldiers' lives?
In his December 1st address to the nation from the West Point Military Academy, Obama shared his plans to send additional troops to Afghanistan for at least a year and a half, and then maybe start bringing some of them home.
All this so we can continue to prop up and defend the corrupt Karzai government, and train the Afghan security forces to do their job, even though those same Afghan security forces have refused to step up to the job over the past eight years. Duh.
And what will this cost us?
Our military presence in Afghanistan has cost us almost $233 billion and the lives of almost 1,000 U.S. troops so far.
Our continuing presence there, especially when escalated, will cost us many, many more of our tax dollars and countless more U.S. and Afghan lives.
Is continuing to pursue the Afghan quagmire really the best use of our tax dollars while so many Americans are unemployed and/or losing our homes to foreclosure?
Is continuing to pursue the Afghan quagmire really the best use of our tax dollars while so many Americans are dying from lack of health care?
Is continuing to pursue the Afghan quagmire really the best use of our tax dollars while we desperately need to invest in green technology development to overcome our dependence on foreign oil?
Is continuing to pursue the Afghan quagmire really the best use of our tax dollars when some 17 million American children -- more than one in five across the U.S. -- lack food security?
Is that what you meant when you talked about freedom last night, Mr. President? Freedom for whom, exactly?
And what did you mean when you said that we are "not as innocent as we were when Roosevelt was president"?! I'm sure you didn't mean for it to sound so condescending. If "innocence" passed the New Deal, then please bring it on now!
That said, I hope that Obama's plans for Afghanistan turn out to be successful. I don't want our president or our troops to fail. But, for all the reasons outlined above, and probably more that don't come immediately to mind, I will continue to disagree that this was the best use of our resources.
Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views appear regularly in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org