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QTLIONESS13's Photo QTLIONESS13 Posts: 2,339
10/25/09 1:18 P

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MajorDadVT, I love that piece! the funny thing is that it was exactly what my husband's unit (before he joined it) was doing in Afganastan. They were stationed in Khandahar (sometimes refered to as CandyLand) mostly providing security for the local bazaar and the local government. well they were loved by the people that they were serving. My husband's one officer was telling me the other day that it was amusing. they would be walking through the bazaar just keeping an eye on things and every vendor they passed would try to give them something... they couldn't speak English, and the soldiers only had ruimentary training in the local dialects.. but they muddled through enough to know that the towns people were so so thankful that it was the Americans that were there and not the Taliban.

If what it takes to get to that point is a massive troop surge then Obama needs to get off the pot and order it.. anything else would be, in my opninion, a violation of his oath of office!

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10/23/09 4:22 P

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Oddly enough, but the letter by Dr. Kaiser could have been written by me. I have often expressed those exact thoughts and fears for our nation.

We are now going through the exact same process that Germany did in the 1930's. Anyone who denies that is only fooling themselves. The world today is a much more dangerous place than it was back then, as bad as it was then. Not only are there blood thirsty maniacs running around trying to kill us all with knoves and IED's and car bombs, but there is a distinct possibility of one or two of them looking for a way to set of a nuclear device in our cities. This, to me, is far more frightening than the specter of a nuclear holocaust that was hanging over our heads when I was a kid. We were so naive, we believed that we would be safe by hiding under our school desks. There simply is no safe place, now. No matter what the outcome is, the world will be a far different place in fifty years. I am very glad that I won't be around to see a lot of it, as it changes into whatever it finally becomes. But, even at my age of 70 I will no doubt see a whole lot more than I want to see. I fear for my kids and my grand kids. I have absolutely no confidence in our government. Not any more, I don't. Our government has made it perfectly clear that they are not only part of the problem, but they ARE the problem. I'm afraid that 'we' have voted in our demise. (I voted Republican) Our only hope, now, is that enough people start using their brains to actually think with, and vote all these usurpers out of office. To be replaced with? We hope some decent folk with some common sense. The only problem with common sense is that it SO uncommon.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee says that the Obama administration is using a Richard Nixon-like strategy of making an "enemies list" of people who disagree with him. He has already started hounding the FOx News channel. It's starting already, folks.

Bob

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MAJORDADVT's Photo MAJORDADVT Posts: 9,105
10/22/09 5:16 P

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From today's NY Times Op-Ed page!!!
=======================================
The New York Times


October 22, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor
There’s No Substitute for Troops on the Ground
By MAX BOOT

Kabul, Afghanistan

“I HOPE people who say this war is unwinnable see stories like this. This is what winning in a counterinsurgency looks like.”

Lt. Col. William F. McCollough, commander of the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, is walking me around the center of Nawa, a poor, rural district in southern Afghanistan’s strategically vital Helmand River Valley. His Marines, who now number more than 1,000, arrived in June to clear out the Taliban stronghold. Two weeks of hard fighting killed two Marines and wounded 70 more but drove out the insurgents. Since then the colonel’s men, working with 400 Afghan soldiers and 100 policemen, have established a “security bubble” around Nawa.

Colonel McCollough recalls that when they first arrived the bazaar was mostly shuttered and the streets empty. “This town was strangled by the Taliban,” he says. “Anyone who was still here was beaten, taxed or intimidated.”

Today, Nawa is flourishing. Seventy stores are open, according to the colonel, and the streets are full of trucks and pedestrians. Security is so good we were able to walk around without body armor — unthinkable in most of Helmand, the country’s most dangerous province. The Marines are spending much of their time not in firefights but in clearing canals and building bridges and schools. On those rare occasions when the Taliban try to sneak back in to plant roadside bombs, the locals notify the Marines.

The key to success in Nawa — and in other key districts from Garmsir in the south to Baraki Barak in the center — has been the infusion of additional United States troops. The overall American force in Afghanistan has grown to 68,000 from 32,000 in 2008. That has made it possible to garrison parts of the country where few if any soldiers had been stationed before. Before the Marines arrived in Nawa, for instance, there were just 40 embattled British soldiers there.

The chronic troop shortfall made it impossible to carry out the kind of population-centric counterinsurgency strategy that has paid off in countries from Malaya to Iraq. NATO forces could enter any district but not hold it. As soon as they left, the Taliban would return to wreak vengeance on anyone who had cooperated with them. One NATO general compared it to “mowing the lawn.” That ineffectual approach allowed the Taliban to regroup after 2001.

Now the coalition has enough troops to carry out a “clear, hold and build” strategy — but only in a few districts. Overall force levels remain far below what they were in Iraq during the surge — when 174,000 foreign troops worked with 430,000 Iraqi security personnel. Afghanistan, which is bigger than Iraq, has just 102,000 coalition troops and 175,000 local security forces.

That is why Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has submitted his controversial request for 40,000 additional troops. He emphasizes that this is not an inflated figure but the bare minimum required to roll back a tough, determined foe.

Some in the White House and Congress imagine that our troops can muddle along at current levels while training the Afghan security forces to take over. But this ignores the brutal logic of war: Either you have the initiative or the enemy does.

In the past few years, the Taliban have been on the march. They have been able to bring large areas of eastern and southern Afghanistan under their sway. If President Obama rejects or waters down General McChrystal’s request, he would be sending a terrible message of irresolution that would embolden the Taliban and dismay any Afghans tempted to cooperate with coalition forces. If, on the other hand, the president were to back his commander, the general would be able to maintain and build on the momentum generated by this summer’s operations.

During 10 days spent in Afghanistan at the invitation of Gen. David Petraeus, the head of Central Command, I observed that a difficult task has been further complicated by the checkered results of the Afghan election. But what seems to be conspicuously absent from the conversation in the United States is the realization that Afghanistan’s corruption problem, like its security problem, can be best addressed by additional troops.

Given what I saw and heard on my visit, I believe it is indeed possible to get Afghanistan’s politicos to do a better job — you just have to watch them closely. That’s what soldiers from the Third Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, are doing in Baraki Barak, a district of Logar Province south of Kabul, under the command of Lt. Col. Tom Gukeisen.

Like Colonel McCollough’s Marines in Nawa, Colonel Gukeisen’s soldiers have thrown a security cordon around Baraki Barak. Inside they are carrying out what they call an “extreme makeover.” Working with a support team from the State Department, they are dispensing aid dollars and enhancing the authority of the local governor, whose new district center is next to a joint Afghan-American combat outpost.

“If you’re not sticking next to the Afghans,” one American officer tells me, “they’re going to hell.” But if United States soldiers and officials do stick close by their Afghan counterparts, substantial improvements are possible. Nawa and Baraki Barak make that clear.

Poor governance is an argument for, not against, a troop surge. Only by sending more personnel, military and civilian, can President Obama improve the Afghan government’s performance, reverse the Taliban’s gains and prevent Al Qaeda’s allies from regaining the ground they lost after 9/11.

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is the author, most recently, of “War Made New: Technology, Warfare and the Course of History, 1500 to Today.”

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company




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QTLIONESS13's Photo QTLIONESS13 Posts: 2,339
10/22/09 12:24 P

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Why the Blinders? I think maybe because they can't imagine such a thing happening in our country... i see it all the time in my cousin Nikki. She is the sweetest girl you would ever want to meet. She's working on finishing her master's in education and is truely passionate about becoming a teacher... and she also is a diehard supporter of Obama. Everytime I talk with her we usually get around to politics and she is like a ostrich with her head in the sand. She thinks that what Obama is doing is actually Good for the country after all... shouldn't all poor people have health insurance? We "rich" people shouldn't be so greedy about wanting to keep our money... after all... people are naturally greedy and maybe it takes the government to help fix such problems. and i've yet to be able to convince her that the government can't help these problems, it would only make it worse. Not better... but it seems to me that she's very typical of an Obama supporter... kinda sad really because she'll agree with me on most points, that the government can't run the post office. every government program has eventually cost way way more than projected ect.... why should we trust them to run health care as well... and then she'll look me square in the face and say... well this time it would be different! It's like she's this eternal opptimist

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NANCYHEALY's Photo NANCYHEALY Posts: 126
10/22/09 7:13 A

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I wholeheartedly agree. What I don't get is how can these Obama lovers be so blind?????? They are so passionate about him, and these people are not all ignorant. Many are educated people so why the blinders????

IDARLENE's Photo IDARLENE Posts: 7,907
10/21/09 11:46 P

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Thanks Ron. I goofed. Sorry!

love, Darlene

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10/21/09 9:52 P

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Oops. Apparently this has been incorrectly attributed to Dr Kaiser according to Snopes. For the record, I still agree with it for the most part.
www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/prop
or
tions.asp


~Ron


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10/21/09 9:36 P

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These are both interesting articles and I wish everyone could read them.

From Darlene's article ...
"I HAVE NEVER BEEN SO AFRAID FOR MY COUNTRY AND FOR MY CHILDREN AS I AM NOW.
This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again." (Emphasis mine)

I believe many people think like we do. We must go to our "Tea Parties" and sound off. We must never miss an election. And we must prepare. I'm passing this to my friends.

Thank y'all for this thread.

~Ron

"Southern Redneck Gun and Religion Clinger"




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IDARLENE's Photo IDARLENE Posts: 7,907
10/21/09 7:42 P

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One of our daughters sent this to me. It takes awhile to read it but I found it very interesting. love, Darlene

Dr. David Kaiser
History Unfolding

I am a student of history. Professionally, I have written 15 books on history that have been published in six languages, and I have studied history all my life. I have come to think there is something monumentally large afoot, and I do not believe it is simply a banking crisis, or a mortgage crisis, or a credit crisis. Yes these exist, but they are merely single facets on a very large gemstone that is only now coming into a sharper focus.

Something of historic proportions is happening. I can sense it because I know how it feels, smells, what it looks like, and how people react to it. Yes, a perfect storm may be brewing, but there is something happening within our country that has been evolving for about ten to fifteen years. The pace has dramatically quickened in the past two.

We demand and then codify into law the requirement that our banks make massive loans to people we know can never pay back? Why? We learned just days ago that the Federal Reserve, which has little or no real oversight by anyone, has "loaned" two trillion dollars (that is $2,000,000,000,000) over the past few months, but will not tell us to whom or why or disclose the terms. That is our money - Yours and mine. And that is three times the $700 billion we all argued about so strenuously just this past September. Who has this money?
Why do they have it? Why are the terms unavailable to us? Who asked for it? Who authorized it? I thought this was a government of "we the people," who loaned our powers to our elected leaders - Apparently not.

We have spent two or more decades intentionally de-industrializing our economy, Why? We have intentionally dumbed down our schools, ignored our history, and no longer teach our founding documents why we are exceptional, and why we are worth preserving. Students by and large cannot write, think critically, read, or articulate. Parents are not revolting, teachers are not picketing, school boards continue to back mediocrity.

Why?

We have now established the precedent of protesting every close election..violently in California over a proposition that is so controversial that it simply
wants marriage to remain defined as between one man and one woman. Did you ever think such a thing possible just a decade ago?

We have corrupted our sacred political process by allowing unelected judges to write laws that radically change our way of life, and then mainstream Marxist groups like ACORN and others to turn our voting system into a banana republic--To what purpose?

Now our mortgage industry is collapsing, housing prices are in free fall, major industries are failing, our banking system is on the verge of collapse, and Social Security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare, and our entire government. Our education system is worse than a joke (I teach college and I know precisely what I am talking about) - the list is staggering in its length, breadth, and depth.
It is potentially 1929 x ten...And we are at war with an enemy we cannot even name for fear of offending people of the same religion, who, in turn, cannot wait to slit the throats of your children if they have the opportunity to do so.

And finally, we have elected a man that no one really knows anything about, who has never run so much as a Dairy Queen, let alone a town as big as Wasilla, Alaska. All of his associations and alliances are with real radicals in their chosen fields of employment, and everything we learn about him, drip by drip, is unsettling if not downright scary (Surely you have heard him speak about his idea to create and fund a mandatory civilian defense force stronger than our military for use inside our borders? No? Oh, of course. The media would never play that for you over and over and then demand he answer it. Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter and $150,000 wardrobe are more important.)

Mr. Obama's winning platform can be boiled down to one word: Change. Why?
I have never been so afraid for my country and for my children as I am now.
This man campaigned on bringing people together, something he has never, ever done in his professional life. In my assessment, Obama will divide us along philosophical lines, push us apart, and then try to realign the pieces into a new and different power structure. Change is indeed coming. And when it comes, you will never see the same nation again.

And that is only the beginning... As a serious student of history, I thought I would never come to experience what the ordinary, moral German must have felt in the mid-1930s. In those times, the "savior" was a former smooth-talking rabble-rouser from the streets, about whom the average German knew next to nothing. What they should have known was that he was associated with groups that shouted, shoved, and pushed around people with whom they disagreed; he edged his way onto the political stage through great oratory. Conservative "losers" read it right now.

And there were the promises. Economic times were tough, people were losing jobs, and he was a great speaker. And he smiled and frowned and waved a lot.
And people, even newspapers, were afraid to speak out for fear that his "brown shirts" would bully and beat them into submission-Which they did-regularly.
And then, he was duly elected to office, while a full-throttled economic crisis bloomed at hand-the Great Depression. Slowly, but surely he seized the
controls of government power, person by person, department by department, bureaucracy by bureaucracy. The children of German citizens were at first, encouraged to join a Youth Movement in his name where they were taught exactly what to think. Later, they were required to do so. No Jews of course.

How did he get people on his side? He did it by promising jobs to the jobless, money to the money-less, and rewards for the military-industrial complex. He did it by indoctrinating the children, advocating gun control, health care for all,
better wages, better jobs, and promising to re-instill pride once again in the country, across Europe, and across the world. He did it with a compliant media-did you know that? And he did this all in the name of justice and...CHANGE! And the people surely got what they voted for.

If you think I am exaggerating, look it up. It's all there in the history books. So read your history books. Many people of conscience objected in 1933 and were shouted down, called names, laughed at, and ridiculed. When Winston Churchill pointed out the obvious in the late 1930s while seated in the House of Lords in England (he was not yet Prime Minister), he was booed into his seat and called a crazy troublemaker.

He was right, though. And the world came to regret that he was not listened to.
Do not forget that Germany was the most educated and the most cultured country in Europe. It was full of music, art, museums, hospitals, laboratories, and universities. And yet, in less than six years (a shorter time span than just two terms of the U.S. presidency) it was rounding up its own citizens, killing others, abrogating its laws, turning children against parents, and neighbors against neighbors-All with the best of intentions, of course. The road to Hell is paved with them.

As a practical thinker, one not overly prone to emotional decisions, I have a choice: I can either believe what the objective pieces of evidence tell me (even if they make me cringe with disgust); I can believe what history is shouting to me from across the chasm of seven decades; or I can hope I am wrong by closing my eyes, having another latte, and ignoring what is transpiring around me..

I choose to believe the evidence. No doubt some people will scoff at me, others laugh, or think I am foolish, naive, or both. To some degree, perhaps I am. But I have never been afraid to look people in the eye and tell them exactly what I believe-and why I believe it.

I pray I am wrong. I do not think I am. Perhaps the only hope is our vote in the next elections.

David Kaiser
Jamestown , Rhode Island
United States


PINKPUNKPIRATE's Photo PINKPUNKPIRATE Posts: 405
10/21/09 7:06 P

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Nice. I think they missed one more point, its also about demonstrating what happens when we are attacked...we do exact some measure of "justice". If prisons weren't so comfy, no one would want to be there, if crimes were punished harder, the crime rate would drop, if a country bombs us and we tear it apart...guess what??? We aren't bombed again. Commonsense is a rare comodity now a days.
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MAJORDADVT's Photo MAJORDADVT Posts: 9,105
10/21/09 4:43 P

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* The Wall Street Journal

* OPINION
* OCTOBER 20, 2009, 10:37 P.M. ET

Evening the Score in Afghanistan

Revenge is a just motive for finishing a war they started.


By THANE ROSENBAUM

With Osama bin Laden reportedly hobbling on dialysis near the Afghan border, and President Barack Obama heading to Norway to collect his Nobel Peace Prize, the American public is debating whether we should increase or draw down our troops in Afghanistan. Some argue that we should end the war altogether.

After all, it has been eight years since 9/11, and there has been no other terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Public attention has shifted toward national health care, grim job reports and home foreclosures. The War on Terror seems as relevant in the lives of most Americans as the Wars of the Roses.

Besides, we have a new president that the world—or at least Norway—expects to be a peacemaker. Afghanistan has suddenly become inconvenient, a war that doesn't fit the new-look American agenda.

Perhaps this is a good time to recall why we bombed and invaded Afghanistan in the first place. With all the rhetoric about what should happen next, the most obvious reason we can't leave before we finish what we started has been ignored: revenge.

Yes, revenge. It is a concept that makes many uncomfortable, and so it is often condemned. Yet it is instinctively necessary and fundamentally ingrained in the moral development of human beings. Neuroscientists and evolutionary psychologists have determined that revenge is hard wired in the brain. We all root for the revenge-seeker in novels and movies not because we are depraved, but because the avenger is right.

President George W. Bush framed our retaliation against the Taliban and al Qaeda in terms of justice, not revenge. But we all knew that it was also revenge that motivated our resolve and why, unlike Iraq, there was little objection to it. Americans were united in the belief that a debt for 9/11 had been created and payback was necessary.

This is the language and imperative of revenge, which should not be distinguished from justice itself. When properly identified and undertaken, revenge and justice are the same: There is no justice unless wrongdoers are punished and victims are avenged. Revenge puts the just deserts in justice. It is both legally and morally just for debts to be redeemed and lost honor reclaimed. Justice that does not result in the moral and emotional closure that accompanies revenge is no justice at all.

This is the ancient law of lex talionis—an eye for an eye— which is so often misunderstood as primitive bloodthirstiness. In fact, it is about reclaiming what is deservedly owed, measure for measure. No more can be taken in retaliation for loss, but equally important, no less. The redemption of the debt is inviolable, whether carried out by nations, tribal societies, or legal systems.

Clearly, the mass murder of nearly 3,000 lives on 9/11 is a substantial debt. After eight years in Afghanistan, with the ranks of al Qaeda depleted but metastasizing elsewhere, the Taliban resurgent, and bin Laden still at large, does anyone believe this debt has been repaid?

There are actually two ground zeros: one in lower Manhattan, and the other symbolically located in Afghanistan, where the demonic aspirations of al Qaeda were bred and where bin Laden may still be. Whether in Afghanistan, Pakistan or some other dark and murderous corner of the world, America simply cannot abandon the obligation of evening this score. Justice demands no less.

The scales of justice are still very much unbalanced when it comes to the morbid ledger of 9/11. In fact, they tilt grotesquely in favor of the organizers and abettors of this unpunished crime. The measure of our loss is still sadly unsettled. And we, therefore, remain unavenged.

The decision about what to do in Afghanistan is not simple. The White House must confront the reality that, for many Americans, urgent economic matters at home are more important than maintaining the costs of the war in Afghanistan.

There is also the American public's short-term memory. The strategic objectives for this war have been forgotten. But even worse is the disregard for the moral justification for why we aimed our rage and grief at Afghanistan. This had as much to do with revenge as it did with justice—a reason that has yet to be publicly acknowledged.

Before Mr. Obama goes to Norway to affirm that he is a man of peace, he should not forget that we still owe a duty to the dead. There is much unfinished business when it comes to those responsible for 9/11.

Mr. Rosenbaum, a novelist and law professor at Fordham University, is the author of "The Myth of Moral Justice" (Harper Perennial, 2005).

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones

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