The Fire Flamed by Bush Must be Extinguished by Obama before it’s too Late!

I find it heartening, indeed, when so many voices in America are clamouring for a troop “surge” to bring about that “big win” in Afghanistan, a win so many us know will only end is destabilization and disaster, that there are still voices of reason. This voice is from Iowa, an area of America’s heartland known for agriculture and good common sense. The voice from Iowa is that of candidate for the United States Senate, Bob Krause. Bob Krause knows security isn’t winning or losing but building confidence in America, a confidence shaken by years of senseless adventure and a shortage of common sense.

As reported, addressing Democrats at the Iowa Democratic Party’s annual Jefferson Jackson Day dinner on Saturday night, Bob Krause took the lead, who became the first candidate for the U.S. Senate race to call for a drawdown of troops in Afghanistan.

“It is my view as a retired military officer and a student of military strategy that we need to disengage from Afghanistan because what we are doing is not strategically sustainable,” Krause told the crowd at a rally following the keynote speech by Vice President Joe Biden. This message was well received by the audience.

“We are in direct danger of committing our remaining uncommitted national reserve of troops so that we have nothing left for emergencies,” Krause explained.   “Further, I seriously doubt that we need to keep the Taliban at bay in Afghanistan to secure our national security.  We are putting large numbers of U.S. and foreign troops in the land that invented xenophobia.  Unfortunately this troop insertion stirs the pot and makes the situation much worse than it needs to be.”

Elaborating more on the issue, Krause said, “I hope that, when President Obama makes his troop strength decision after Thanksgiving, he does not accept the advice of the neoconservatives, and instead does the prudent thing and closes out this war that former President Bush lost through inaction several years ago.”

  Free Speech Or Bribery?

In extended remarks after the speech, Krause added, “Joe Biden in right on this one. We are spending $60 billion per year in the war in Afghanistan and 2 billion on Pakistan, even though Pakistan is strategically more important to us.”

Krause, very rightly has said that “Pakistan is more important to the US,” Pakistan has been ally of America all along the cold war era. People of Pakistan have always wanted very cordial and friendly relations that was fully endorsed by the people when President Eisenhower stopped over in Karachi on his journey to some country in the region, also when Vice President Johnson visited Pakistan on a state visit.
 People had thronged the roads from Karachi Airport to the State Guest House where he stayed. But the US, U turns based on Kissinger doctrines disillusioned the nation when in 1971 Pakistan was left under the Indian knife.
During the Johnson visit, he was so moved by the rousing reception that enroute he stopped his car, came out and mingled with the people. There, randomly he invited  Bashir Ahmed, a camel cart driver to the US as a state guest. Bashir came back as an ambassador of goodwill.   President Johnson presented Bashir a truck as a personal gift. Bashir gave up his camels and began a transportation business.
 President Johnson also gave Bashir money to fund scholarships for students at a small school close to Bashir’s home. I was a student at that school. It is something all of us have remembered all our lives, something about America. To us, America meant hope.
Obama administration certainly needs to review its policies with an independent mind and consult with people like Joe Biden and Krause who have better understanding of the region than some of the Pentagon’s military advisors.
Seemingly tied to the failures of the Bush administration, calling for, not only a “surge” but building a massive Afghan army which would never have the capability nor intent to fight a Pashtun based Taliban is folly. The neo-cons are bent upon taking to the US on its worst path of destruction. Whose agenda are they following needs a deep study within more sober and balanced minds, minds that base decisions on reality and fact and not rumour and influence.
Krause’s observation, “If the Pakistanis can control the Pashtuns within their own borders, it will have a very positive spin-off effect on the Pashtun nation in Afghanistan,” has lot of substance; it needs to be seen in proper context taking the people of Pakistan into confidence.

“Insuring that Pakistan can continue as a cohesive nation is where our strategic emphasis needs to be.  Having our forces in Afghanistan drives Taliban into Pakistan and actually helps to destabilize Pakistan.” Krause could not be more right in saying this. White House must make a note of what he has said. This is also the voice of the American people that’s getting louder by the day.

  A National Debate about Government Spying?

Krause warned that our trying to control Afghanistan directly with U. S. troops not only causes backfires, but it is incredibly costly.  “If we put in an additional 40,000 new troops — at a cost of about 1 million dollars per soldier in the field — this will put the new war budget for Afghanistan at $100 billion,” said Krause.  “This for a war that, even by known guerrilla warfare statistical planning factors, we would be unlikely to win because it just is not enough troops.”

Need we bring up the lessons of Vietnam?

Krause also pointed out that this figure does not include the “80 year tail on government costs for treating the additional 10,000 per year Post Traumatic Stress Disorder cases that would likely come from the insertion of the additional soldiers.” Every soldier who suffers from severe combat stress or a TBI (traumatic brain injury) is a son or daughter, a husband, a mother, a parent. Those who sacrifice in war and suffer, seldom suffer alone.

“Iowans need to call President Obama and ask him to listen to those who are urging caution, and not to those who want to continue and to escalate this strategically untenable battle,” concluded Krause.

Every word of Krause needs to be given a serious thought by the Obamans and not follow the trail of General McChrystal who wants escalation in war. What General McChrystal sees as a “mission” is simply accomplishing a task best left undone. Any possible McChrystal “win” is worse than any possible contingency tied to immediate withdrawal.
According to a Chinese proverb, a country may be destroyed but the will of the people can not be. In Afghanistan, after the carpet bombings by B52s and raining of Daisy Cutters that has certainly left very high casualties but the resistance has not been defeated.
Bush has inflamed the world, Obama must extinguish it before it’s too late.
Too much of meddling and pushing should be stopped forthwith, let the people of Pakistan feel that they control and manage the country, America is only in support as a friend. People strongly resent the sermons that the US officials give when visiting Pakistan and they also feel that we don’t need aid as much as open and favoured trade policy with the US.