Since the Afghanistan War started in 2001, over 1,800 military men and women have been killed and over 15,000 have been injured, (not including the countless brain injuries that go undiagnosed or unreported).
In an obvious campaign speech in Afghanistan yesterday, Obama said:
“And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set – to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild – is within reach.”
The truth is that since bin Laden was killed a year ago 367 US men and women have been killed and nearly 4,500 have been injured in Afghanistan (again, not counting the countless injuries that go undiagnosed or unreported).
In his speech, Obama went on to say:
“We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda.”
“Our goal is to destroy al Qaeda, and we are on a path to do exactly that.”
“Others will ask why we don’t leave immediately. That answer is also clear: we must give Afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize. Otherwise, our gains could be lost, and al Qaeda could establish itself once more.”
Destroy al Qaeda, Mr President…? Gains in Afghanistan, Mr President…? Our mission in Afghanistan, Mr President…? Let’s review the previous comments of Obama’s war team.
In October 2009, Obama’s National Security Adviser, General Jim Jones, said:
“Obviously, the good news and what Americans should feel at least good about in Afghanistan is that the al Qaeda presence is very diminished. The maximum estimate is less than 100 operating in the country. No bases. No ability to launch attacks on either us or our allies.”
The truth is that since General Jones’ statement in 2009 over 1,100 US men and women have died in the War in Afghanistan and nearly 12,000 have been injured (not counting the countless brain injuries that go undiagnosed or unreported).
In July 2010 CIA Director Leon Panetta said the number of al Qaeda in Afghanistan is relatively small:
“At most, we’re looking at 50 to 100, maybe less.”
The truth is that since Panetta’s statement in 2010 nearly 800 US men and women have died in Afghanistan and over 8,000 have been injured.
In short, for every 1 al Qaeda member we were told there was supposedly left in Afghanistan in 2009, we’ve lost 11 US men and women. Not only have we lost American lives overseas, but there are domestic casualties to this war as well.
According to the CBO’s estimate, we’ve spent half a trillion dollars on the War in Afghanistan. The federal government’s authority to spy on US citizens without a warrant has been renewed. The federal government has codified the power of the to detain US citizens in a military prison indefinitely on terrorist suspicions without evidence, charges, or a trial. The US Attorney General has affirmed the President’s authority to assassinate US citizens suspected of terrorism, again, without presenting any evidence, without charges, and without a trial. Honest men, women, and children are getting pat-down and having their privacy violated by security guards before boarding a plane. Unmanned drones are taking to the skies across the country to spy on Americans. And that’s only a portion of the freedoms we’ve lost in this 11 year war on terror.
But all of this will come to an end soon, right? The war will be won, US troops can come home, and we’ll be given back all of the constitutional rights that have been taken from us, right? In his speech yesterday, Obama also stated:
“But over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan Security Forces.”
And within 90 minutes of Obama leaving Afghanistan, the Taliban launched an attack on a compound housing international contractors, diplomats, and aid workers – killing 7 and wounding 17. This begins there annual spring offensive against foreign occupation.
I would hope that Americans would look past a political speech and look to the realities of the war on terror. Unfortunately history proves otherwise. Yesterday was also the 9 year anniversary of President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech in which he assured Americans:
“In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our Allies have prevailed.”
Since Bush declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq 9 years ago, over 4,300 US military men and women have died in the Iraq War that followed and nearly 32,000 have been injured – again, not counting the countless injuries that go undiagnosed or unreported.
Let’s get US presence out of other nations. Let’s bring the troops home.
I think that people want peace so much that one of these days government had better get out of their way and let them have it. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Always there has been some terrible evil at home or some monstrous foreign power that was going to gobble us up if we did not blindly rally behind it. – General Douglas MacArthur
The loss of liberty at home is to be charged to the provisions against danger, real or imagined, from abroad. – James Madison
The most successful war seldom pays for its losses. – Thomas Jefferson