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December 1st, 2009
09:00 AM ET
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. mattvet

    We, as a culture, no longer have the stomach to fight a way in such a way that it can be "won." I am making no statement as to whether this is a good or bad development, but our social morality has progressed far beyond the point where we "accept" the amount of collateral damage, or civilian casualties, necessary to effectively fight the enemy.

    Wars from now on will not be simply "won" or "lost." It is no longer within our nations ability to destroy the enemy and their ability to fight. When fighting against religious Ideology, (and anyone who doesn't believe we are is blind) the only way to be successful is with absolute force. If they are willing to strap bombs to themselves and blow up civilians, indeed, if their "faith" encourages and supports that activity, we cannot possibly win.

    Our own morality may be our undoing. How can a soldier look at a person in the middle east and know which one wants to kill him and which one doesn't?

    The only way to defeat their ideology is through the use of education and propaganda. Thought is the enemy of ideology.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  2. Mike

    Speaking as a vet (Army '72-'75) and as a father with a step son in Iraq (coming home January we hope) I must state that nation building is not a goal we can accomplish and we continually ignore the lessons of history, recent and long past. We failed in Afghanistan (and ultimately Iraq) for many reasons not the least of which is our goals were not realistic. We should be focused on one thing only, capture of Osama and destruction of Al Qaida. We cannot prevent these threats from rising again but we can isolate and marginalize them ( which is what they hate). In other words it is possible to render them irrelevant and for every act of violence they commit towards us they bring 10 times upon themselves. Come on folks it's time to wise up and stop asking our men and women to make the ultimate sacrifice for what future history will view as futile arrogance and idiocy in the end.

    December 2, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
  3. Dave Marcus

    I'm a Vietnam Era Vet, I served on board a fast attack sub from 1969-1973. I just feel that wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are another Vietnam, I know what the president said last night and I disagree. These people have no history of living in a democracy. The minute we leave the Taliban and warlords are just going to move in and take over, no matter what we do. I just can't see any situation where we come out on top. Is the situation in these countries good for the people there? No, but us going in and fighting isn't the answer either. And with the money we're spending on these wars we could do a lot of good right here in the US.
    Just my two cents, I can't believe that the people in DC can't see this.

    December 2, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  4. daver

    I will continue to remain optimistic of the chances of the Afghanistan War reaching a sucessful conclusion for each and every one of us it effects. While operating in the persian Gulf april 14th 1988 the crew of our ship saw first hand the colision between how other governments are waging war within the theatre we know as "over there". Right now, I dont see how we can continue the shock and awe approach and start building a better world through peace and dipomacy. I applaud President Obama for thinking this through and gathering what I believ to be important questions to answer.
    I have now become more supportive of his/our strategy.
    I was very touched with a comment I saw here a few weeks ago, that if our president isnt talking he is not doing his job. As a vet I believe a security improving counter insergency approach is needed. Over the Bush years I was dissapointed with the talking points or lack there of in the coalition dept. I believe president Obama listened to the generals and made the right decision in sending the extra troops but lets not let our coalition forget the end game. Americans and the world will be watching to see if a combination of strategies are working. So... Thank you for the troops who are choosen to carry out this important mission just like we were choosen to escort Oil Takers from Kuwait back in the Reagan presidency.
    Not to long ago I was also struck by a report that Saddam Hussien gassed his own people while we were operating in the region in april 1988. Thank you Iraq Vets, Thank you all vets.
    EWSN Robinson

    December 2, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  5. B

    This is sad because our own country is going to make sure this doesn't work with all the negative media coverage of the story. I hope the media get the ratings they want becuase you are definitely not helping to keep the country safe. TI am quite sure the Taliban thank CNN for all the free information to harm American. I am very disappointed in the media. Do a poll on that if you can handle keeping them honest.

    December 2, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  6. Fran

    Also another Vietnam Vet chiming in. The war in IRAQ was just what my wife and I call Bush's War. No justification whats so ever to invade. Just a need by Georgy to get his name in the record book. The war in Afganistan should have been an in and out deal. Kill & distroy the Taliban organization and Osama and group and then out. Pay back for 9/11 does not justify the throwing thousands of men and womens lives away for a people who are still so barbaric and ignorant that they should just be left in their wallow to kill and main each other. No army has ever won in Afganistan and never will. A glass parking lot would help neighboring countries with a parking problem.

    December 2, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  7. doug mosley

    You would think that after "screw-ups" like Korea and Vietnam, our "leaders" would realize that our continuing interference in others' problems would not accomplish anything other than wasting money and lives of many people.

    With unemployment continuing to rise as the U. S. economy improves (who can figure that out), it seems that the U. S. should devote more effort to our own people rather than dictate to the world how things should be (at least from our perspective).

    Just another burden on the taxpayers of our country - mainly the poor and middle-class (not the Washington "fat-cats", aka legislators.

    December 2, 2009 at 7:17 am |
  8. Art

    If you want to rebuild a house, where do you start. We have lost our way to this point in time. We can,t seem to learn from the past.We seem to be blinded by consumption and unwilling to ask and answer the right questions. Time will tell all. I too am a vet. I voted for this president and very sorry I did. Escalation is not the answer at this point.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:19 am |
  9. Reina

    I don't agree that we should not have enter Afghanistan or Iraq. I am a Gulf War vet. I think we should have been in Iraq 10 years before when we had the support of a mass coalition. It is appalling to see what the Taliban fester in Afghanistan. I said it from the beginning, we are not there for oil. We are there to squeeze Iran. We weren't allowed to fly over Turkey to attack if you remember so IT IS essential to have two entrances into that rogue country that will be the third to have nukes in an unstable environment. They have no oil to export and the only way to be powerful (and that is what is important to ME men) is to have a nuke and an unstable and terrorizing government. We don't have to ask any country permission to use their airspace. We are positioned. Now it is time to show our force and Israel needs to head the attack. And we need to take no less than a victory. If the president wants to bring the troops home in 19 months then he needs to claim victory in 16. When did America become a nation of no fortitude! I long for the war plan of Reagan – come to the table, try negotiations, go to the UN and then bomb them like you mean it! They say Al Queda has no country ... well we should make it so that no country will have them or they face the wrath of America at the time of our choosing and like a thief in the night.

    December 2, 2009 at 2:54 am |
  10. A. Smith, Oregon

    Why aren't Iraqi and Afghani Veterans outside Bush jr. and Dick Cheney's private homes protesting how disgusting and horrific they have treated them?

    Bush-Cheney sent them to Afghanistan and Iraq without a single MRAP vehicle knowing full well IEDs would kill many of them using the soft Hum Vee transports.

    Bush-Cheney sent them to Afghanistan and Iraq without proper body armor knowing full well that would be needed against the heavier AK47 rounds and RPG fragments.

    Bush-Cheney sent them to Afghanistan and Iraq without a large facility to adequately treat PTS which has driven hundreds of Veterans to commit suicide because Bush-Cheney let them down.

    Why aren't Iraqi and Afghani Veterans outside Bush jr. and Dick Cheney's private homes LOUDLY protesting how disgusting and horrific they have treated them?

    December 1, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  11. A. Smith, Oregon

    As Bush-Cheney aptly demonstrated for the previous 7 years, when you pour 1 Trillion dollars overseas, the Veterans at home directly suffer thru great loss of services, and adds to the hundreds of thousands of homeless Veterans living on the streets thru-out America.

    The Walter-Reed fiasco was so wide-spread it is completely beyond any creditability that Bush-Cheney didn't know how extensive the Veterans Medical facility's dilapidation was.

    December 1, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  12. ronvan

    Man: It isn't very often that I can agree with ALL comments! Also a Viet Nam Vet., I really like Duffy's idea. Small, man packed, nukes have been around for awhile and I cannot think of a better place to use them. Plus we have ton's of "old dumb bombs" that we could get rid of, and you know where they should be "disposed of"!

    December 1, 2009 at 9:45 pm |
  13. Vvet 1966

    To Tye Cobb, I agree with everything you say, we should not be in those two wars. All that want to send men and women to war need only spend a few minutes at the Vietnam Wall alone and see how silent it is , I do it every year and the silence gets worse and worse and my memories will never go away, never. Vietnam Veteran....

    December 1, 2009 at 6:36 pm |
  14. Tye Cobb

    I agree with Robert D Duffy and FatSean completely. we had no business being in Iraq in the first place, it was just George W getting even for his daddy from the first desert war but he sure got lots of troops killed and maimed just to satisfy his own personal grudge. We should have sent all the troops to Afgan in the first place and maybe it would be over by now, i doubt it because no matter what we do over there, we are never going to change those people because they have been living like that for thousands of years. Ltes fact it, if we have not caught or killed old Ben by now(8 years)what are our chances now, i think we have two chances, nil and none.
    The above is my personal opinion and being a Vietnam Vet, I think I am entitled to that much. Thanks

    December 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  15. FatSean

    As much as I detested the idea of invading and 'rebuilding' Afghanistan as it was a fool's plan doomed to fail, the simple fact is that we broke it and we have to fix it or at least leave the place in a better state than it is now.

    Now Iraq is where the soldiers should come from. Keep drawing down Iraq, fix Afganistan, then GTFO of the ME forever. Let Israel deal with them, we give Israel 3 Billion USD a year to spend on weaponry. I think they can handle it.

    December 1, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  16. RICHARD D. DUFFY

    This is no time to try to pass the buck. You cannot continue to blame the previous President for a war. Any war America enters into is just that–America"s war. Congress is the one entity that has the power to "declare war".
    The idea of expanding the war is essential to protect "OUR" troops already there and should have been accomplished a long time ago. It seems to be America's track record to ignore the basic principals of the "Art of War". Simple things e.g. when a world problem exists like Iran's development of nuclear weapons you warn once then preempt with an attack. You mass forces and fight to destroy. When you kid glove the "enemy" who ever it is and you listen to their lies about addressing the issue that never occurs, you must man up and take care of the problem. No more mister nice guy. Nice guys finish last.
    Because this war has been allowed to fester for eight years and our military and equally their families have take the brunt of the fighting on the nose. The families are burying their sons and daughters while the rest of us are merely paying taxes. Iran, North Korea and the Afganistan war need to become air wars. Air wars mean less troops exposed to IED's, rockets and bullets. It means less aftermath for our soldiers in terms of their physical and mental health and it means less of America's dollars and resources. Field tactical nukes, small kilotonnage, will eliminate the people on the ground at the designated site and pollute the ground for a while to keep others from rebuilding the nuclear facilities or traveling the mountain passes between Pakistan and Afganistan. We should have learned long ago that there is no reality to bargin with Iran or North Korea. We are wasting our time and limited resources and more importantly, we are grossly endangering world peace and our grandchildren.
    The time to act is now and because our allies are weak and non supportive, we should do so unilateraly. We must realize that power really does come out of the barrel of a big gun and as much as we all want world peace, we are delusional to expect change by doing the same thing over and over.

    December 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm |