The Courage to Leave
By BOB HERBERT
Seven American soldiers were killed in
Early this year, we were told that at long last the tide had turned in
That triumph would soon be followed by another military initiative in the much larger expanse of neighboring
“The goal that American planners originally outlined — often in briefings in which reporters agreed not to quote officials by name — emphasized the importance of a military offensive devised to bring all of the populous and Taliban-dominated south under effective control by the end of this summer. That would leave another year to consolidate gains before President Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing combat troops.”
Forget about it. Commanders can’t even point to a clear-cut success in Marja. As for
What’s happening in
There is no overall game plan, no real strategy or coherent goals, to guide the fighting of
Americans have zoned out on this war. They don’t even want to think about it. They don’t want their taxes raised to pay for it, even as they say in poll after poll that they are worried about budget deficits. The vast majority do not want their sons or daughters anywhere near
Why in the world should the small percentage of the population that has volunteered for military service shoulder the entire burden of this hapless, endless effort? The truth is that top American officials do not believe the war can be won but do not know how to end it. So we get gibberish about empowering the unempowerable Afghan forces and rebuilding a hopelessly corrupt and incompetent civil society.
Our government leaders keep mouthing platitudes about objectives that are not achievable, which is a form of deception that should be unacceptable in a free society.
In announcing, during a speech at West Point in December, that 30,000 additional troops would be sent to
That clearly defined mission never materialized.
Ultimately, the public is at fault for this catastrophe in
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs