What do you think of the president’s plan for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan?

Last night, President Obama announced an Afghanistan strategy that reduces troop strength faster than some in his administration would like. Today’s Question: What do you think of the president’s plan for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan?

  • D Sherman

    Sorry, but I’m just not seeing it. The US still has a huge and expensive military presence in Iraq, partly run through the State Department rather than the Defense Department. Despite much talk, there’s still no real withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    The US has not had conscription for 40+ years. Skipping all the requisite boilerplate language about our heroic soldiers defending freedom, the bottom line is that a volunteer army is a mercenary army, and a mercenary army fights because they’re hired to. Many people care passionately about their jobs in every industry, and many genuinely believe their working to improve the world, regardless of their industry. Nonetheless, they are getting paid to do it, and most would not do it if they weren’t paid.

    A “volunteer” army, especially one with as low a casualty rate as the US currently experiences, disconnects the mass of citizens from the consequences of war. It’s easy to be gung ho when you stand no risk of being drafted or having your son drafted. Even now that most Americans are against the wars, their opposition is not very passionate and doesn’t seem to influence their voting very much, probably because the wars aren’t affecting them personally.

  • John

    Its a pure lie, a joke.

    The “surge” put 30,000 more troops in place. Now Obama announces a reduction of 10,000 by the end of this year and another 23,000 by the end of next year, that’s 33,000. A grand total of 3,000 is being reduced by Obama.

    We shouldn’t be in Afghanistan. The majority of Americans want out. Since 2001 the wars have cost the taxpayers $1.2 trillion.

    With increasing debt, devaluation of the dollar, increased food and fuel prices, continued unemployment way above 17%, and so many hungry people right here at home; bring them home.

    These wars are not making anyone SAFE.

    Oh yeah, STOP AID TO ISRAEL!

  • Chad

    This has been the longest war in U.S. history, and the most salient example of deficit spending.

    It’s not enough.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “…a volunteer army is a mercenary army, and a mercenary army fights because they’re hired to.”

    That’s an excessively cynical (in the modern sense of the word) view of human nature. People do things for lots of reasons, only one of which is financial remuneration. Having served in the military, I know for a fact that most of our military personnel consider their work to be service on behalf of others. Anyone fit enough to be in the military could easily make make more money in some other line of work. The true mercenaries in the world today are the ones whose “work” consists of finding ever more clever ways of extracting profits from the economy, whether or not it improves the well-being of humanity. Among those are not only security contractors (Blackwater et al.) but Wall Street money-shufflers, overpaid CEOs, intellectual property lawyers, Washington lobbyists, etc.

  • Steve

    It is movement in the correct direction. He didn’t start this war but he has to get us out of it and that is not an easy thing.

    Cheers,

    Steve

  • Steve the Cynic

    If Kucinich thinks it’s not fast enough, and McCain thinks it’s too fast, it’s probably in the right ballpark.

  • Larry Miller

    I think he is fulfilling his promise to begin to pull troops from the region, not much more or less. Nothing bold here in troop reduction and that’s actually probably for the best considering the conditions there. After the initial strike on Al Qaeda and the Taliban the Bush administration basically put this war on hold to fight the unnecessary war in Iraq. Obama is basically finishing Afghanistan what Bush should have done years ago. I think I’m going to start calling Obama “The Janitor” because he spends all his time cleaning up other peoples’ messes. The criticism being that besides health care, that he really hasn’t done much to make improvements from the status quo.

  • John

    Larry this is not a Obama Bush thing. This is a who benefits from being at war thing.

    The main benefactors are the BANKS and Israel. The banks make out because it creates a debt pool that is virtually never ending and therefore they own US. Israel benefits because it is a bunch of non-Jewish Americans fighting their conflicts.

  • Howie

    The military would, of course, like to take the entire US GDP and spend it in Afghanistan. I am pleased that a US president is finally standing up to the black hole of US military spending. Bring the troops home on a reasonable but expedited schedule.

  • Zeke

    There is an entirely consistent foreign policy which both regards Afghanistan as being (at the time) the “right war” and also sees the current situation as one where the appropriate next step is to “declare victory and go home.”

    Would Afghanistan dissolve beck into chaos? Most likely. But then, chaos is not so far from its current situation.

    Would some Islamist’s set up camp there? Perhaps. But the Taliban, should they take back control (which is not impossible) have a really strong incentive not to let it go very far. It will have been a lot of trouble for them to win back control after having the US invade. And I suspect that they would be seriously unenthusiastic at taking a chance on a reprise. (We might fight smarter the next time. Especially without a distraction like Iraq.)

    Would letting Afghanistan collapse hurt Pakistan? Most likely, at least in the short term. But since the Pakistani ISI was a major factor in building up the Islamist’s, it is hard to have much sympathy for them. And what Pakistan needs, in the long term, is something very like the Arab spring. But it will have to come from within; anything the US tries to do on that score will be, at best, counter-productive.

    So, overall, no strong foreign policy reasons not to pack up and come home. And there are lots of domestic policy reasons to do so. Yes, there would be howls of outrage from the neo-cons. But the chances that it will actually change any votes in their favor seem remote — they and they followers have never been Obama fans, and would not be voting for him no matter what actions he might take.

  • Dennis Coleman

    It’s about time we pulled out of there!! Another Failed GW Bush screwup we have all been paying for for the last 10 years. It’s time we start taking of Americans instead of trying to take away from them in payment for the incompentence of 8 years under GW Bush.

  • Dick

    It is with some sadness that I concur with most responses submitted. The plight of the people as documented both in fiction and non fiction accounts is heartbreaking. However, this situation exists throughout the world. Ultimately, we can no longer become involved….our own economic security is at risk. I say we get out as soon as possible.

  • Lawrence

    The removal of troops from there is overdue. The British and Russians warned us that going to battle in Afghanistan was a poor policy decision, and it certainly seems true today. In fact, the Soviet Union quickly dissolved after withdrawing from its 8 year Afghan conflict. Given our own economic woes, it is highly unlikely that we’re going to be able to improve Afghanistan in the near to mid future.

  • CF

    Like I’ve always said from the beginning, Afghanistan is Vietnam all over again. Everything about this war is a carbon copy of the Vietnam war, right down to how it will end. In like manner as Richard M. Nixon, Obama has chosen to “Afghanasize” the war. There by giving it over to it’s corrupt leaders and ultimately back to the Taliban where it all started. One can only hope that like in Vietnam, Congress will simply cut funding for the war and get it over with. What worries me though is the aftermath. In post Vietnam America we had double-digit interest rates, high inflation, an energy crisis and ten more years of economic stagnation. Only when Ronald Reagan was president did things improve. We could sure use another Reagan.

    Also noted: The antisemitism I’ve read today is deplorable. Funny how I get lambasted and called a homophobe when I speak out against the homosexual agenda but it’s OK to hate Jews and Israel. What a lame liberal double standard.

  • Greg

    Either withdraw or implement a national “active military action TAX” of 3% nationally. We’re still dealing with vets from the WW II, Korea, Viet Nam, Granada, Kosovo, Desert Storm, … and we aren’t facing up to the high ongoing military operational costs NOR the long term “bag’o goodies” we promise to vets. We need to re-introduce the tangilble participation of the American public in the experience of military action. I’d have said WAR – but that apparently is a technical distinction that congress and the president never seem to agree on – so I say any time the military is involved in : off-base, non-training, live-fire efforts in the “national interest” – the TAX kicks in – and regardless of the size of the deployment. . TAXES seem to be about the only realistic way of keeping EVERYONE participating in AND prepaying for the obligation.

  • Carrie

    Just another mess handed to Obama from Bush. The

    war in Afghanistan made some sense after 911 but then Bush went into Iraq and totally took his eye off the ball. What a shame. Now Obama is doing what he said he’d do. Start pulling troops out in July of 2011. Not fast enough for some, too fast for others. It’s a no win situation no matter how you look at it.

  • Jan Scofield

    I agree with Phyllis Bennis who was on Charlie Rose on TPT on 6/21/11 bring the troops home now! The sooner the better.

  • Neil

    Too little, too late.

    This has been such a sad era. Ambiguous or flawed objectives. No real way to “win” over the long term. Huge amounts of colateral damage (civilian deaths.) Huge numbers of US servicemen killed or hurt badly.

    And the worst consequences haven’t been felt yet. Both wars are “on our credit card.” We spent the money, and one way or the other we will need to pay it back…on average $3,300 for every man, woman and child in the US, plus interest!

    Unlike WW1 adn WW2 when the US emerged prouder, stronger and not very in debt, these interminable squabbles that consume a lot of expenive equipment and talent and that we refuse to pay for in real time have little of any kind of upside, and absolutely no economic upside.

    As I said at the start. To little, too late. And let’s think really hard before we go on our next expensive, international adventure.

  • Chris

    About time! Killing Bin Laden gives us an excuse to leave and we really need to get out now while victory is still fresh in our minds. I say pull the plug and get them all home.

    With that being said it is time for businesses to open up their checkbooks and start hiring these soon to be unemployed GI’s. They sacrificed for this country so the least businesses who reside in this country can do is hire them.

  • John

    I’m for it as long as it isn’t a repeat of “Charlie Wilson’s War”. We shouldn’t repeat that mistake ever again.

  • Fairfax Va Ron

    Obama has committed us to 3 more years of war in Afghanistan . The end, which comes in 2014, will cost billions of dollars we don’t have, more lives on both sides dead and wounded, civilian and military.

    The government remaining won’t be one that we will recognize as being pro western. It will be a loose disorganized corrupt regime, like it is now. We need to declare victory and get out asap.

  • Erin B.

    War is a word stuck, not just on the tip of tongues, it’s the till and the sum of its parts. An amount flashing on the display of a corrupted Cash Register (so contrary to its inventor’s intentions)

    Well we can’t just end it there can we?

  • Erin B.

    Between three NY metro train stations exists the only stop for food,fuel, etc.. off of a major interstate highway.

    I worked as a key-holder at this Gas Station long enough to see that despite many us are often only concerned with where we are going and how we’ll get there, that is to say simply Getting from point A to point B. With that in mind, I think the beauty of an effective, enigmatic speaker is in their ability to stop us in our tracks, captivate, rile, or simply quell our nature to respond or react.

    What is a voice here? There? A Tweet? A Status Update?

  • Erin B.

    With a family member, that is blood relative, someone directly related to me in the National Guard and currently on his way to Afghanistan. I guess I’ve given this war stuffl some more thought. He’ll be gone for at least a year they say. 2012. I respect the troops, the soldiers, these people who have willingly sacrificed their ability to determine how they’ll get from point A to point B.

  • Erin B.

    But I wonder what’s in a word of honor, in the reliability of distant plans the dates of which can so easily be changed upon their sudden arrival, and with all the hype lately surrounding the expense of college… I’d recommend thinking about the questions you hear and answer. It’s what’s affirmed that gets denied but what’s asked that’s debated.

    So who knows maybe

    A wealth of life experience and knowledge…whatever it is that we attain in this process can exceed any debt.

    Can’t say “I” apply to “you” and can’t say I got the best grades in college. At the gas station I could never correctly count the ending till, but the numbers, the grades, never seemed to be worth as much as I’d heard they were. So, if What is being heard is worth this and worth that, than what is a voice worth being heard anyway?

  • Kevin VC

    One has to weigh the need to return troops out of harms way when not needing to be vs. the harm if they are not there.

    We have reduced but not removed the threat, and it should never go off the radar. But its hard with the American public and their natural Attention Deficit Disorder they mutually seem to have….

    It is neither good nor bad, its just what is possible for now.

    Honestly I suspect something will eventually need to be done about Pakistan, but that is for a much later date, and mostly done through education and open government happening there.

    Who knows, maybe the democratic wave rolling through the middle-east will hit them.

    🙂

  • Ben

    I think Obama did the right thing based upon his priorities and following the grand wisdom of Soros, his chief and main fund manager. If anyone complains of his policies, expect they will be called racist again..as we have seen for the past three years when ever anyone disagrees with the DFL direction.

    Ever wonder why___ Soros and his 100 some progressive Open society groups such as the Move On. Org doesn’t want stability in the middle east? Would any of us respect those who listen to a man who admitted he was addicted to collapsing economies and regimes? That my friend is who Soros is . Soros visited the White House dozens of times in the past 3 years to advise our president. Soros dictates what Obama’s polices should be so lets not hold Obama tooooo accountable for his acts.

    Do the math . Why did America give a 2 billion loan to Brazil for off shore drilling while Obama prevented America drilling? Soros made a few hundred million on that deal. Soros owns a lot of shares in the Brazillian petro-drilling company. Soros and his groups do not support our military or why would he have said, ” America is the main obstacle to our goal, the world’s Open Society?

    If I was Soros, I would support everything Oabama does that follows my design. ( sarcasm noted)

  • lisa kruse-robles

    Who here is a military family? Who here can give insight into life ‘behind’ the scenes? ……or maybe someone is an Afghan citizen – what are your thoughts?

    Speaking on behalf of a wife (and her children) who very much miss the extra testosterone, I can say that while my husband is at war – fighting for the freedom and defense of others (both here and abroad) – I just want to make sure that we will be withdrawing at a time where the Iraqi/Afghan people will not fall under the power of another single-minded zealot.

    Of course, I want my husband home! Of course, I deeply miss him multiple times throughout the day ……. however, if bringing him back early would endanger thousands of innocent people – then, his mission and dedication would be in vain and I would not want to ever have to go through this again.

    I think, like many American’s, I was totally on-board with getting the ‘bad guys’ after 9/11…….yet, the years have begun to drag and ‘results’ are not being achieved as quickly as I would like. There are times where I wonder if a vast majority of this were monetary and politically driven.?… If the motives behind this war was as …… (con’t below – much to the chagrin of some, I’m sure – lol)

  • lisa kruse-robles

    ‎(see above) ……….pure as simply extinguishing the threats to American citizens..?….. I doubt it. Yet, I am also not in office and can’t make a call such as this without full exposure to the reality of events.

    I’ve sometimes wondered if the President is really just a puppet for the government seats behind him…..?..

    Personally, I would like a reduction in troops. I truly think that giving Afghanistan control of their country again would be the seemingly ‘right’ thing to do……..and that we as US citizens would get off our high-horses in thinking that ‘we’ are supreme faction. We aren’t. I detest bullying and feel that the US is sadly guilty of that in many ways.

    HOWEVER, I am the wife of a soldier who is fighting for our (yours and mine) freedom – he pours every ounce of himself into protecting us. He is away from his children which is absolutely awful for the kids and just as much for himself. Yet, he is there. And will continue the orders he’s been given on behalf of protecting the people he loves.

    I’m sorry – words are a little choppy, but feel there is so much more to this topic than a simple question.

    My husband is at war (whether or not I agree it) ……. how would feel if you had a family member fighting for country? ……and if there was a high probability of more innocent people getting killed, would you still say that person needed to come home because of MONEY and safety? I want my other-half home so desperately, but cannot say that bringing him home would make it all better. Flip side – if he stayed, then what? More soldiers dying, family’s aching, civilians hurt??

    Is there really a single answer?

  • Steve the Cynic

    Hey, Ben, that’s an excellent bit of satire, lampooning the conspiracy theories of the far right wackos on cable news. I had a good laugh. What’s truly sad, though, is that some folks actually believe such preposterous bullshit, both on the right and the left. Hey, can you do a send-up of a left-wing wacko, too?