Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

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ARE WE DONE NOW?

May 5, 2011

Eight years ago to the day, then President George W. Bush announced “Mission Accomplished.”

It wasn’t.

Sunday, May 1, 2011, our current president did no such thing. But he did announce that a covert military operation ended the life of Osama bin Ladin. For nearly all  Americans, this was the real “Mission Accomplished.” People took to the streets in celebration almost immediately after hearing the news.

This does very little to change the current terrorist landscape. However, we have now accomplished the goal that we set when we invaded Afghanistan: to bring to justice those who perpetrated the 9-11 attacks. Al-Qaida is no longer the top-down, heavily-armed and well-financed organization that it was a decade ago. It has been fractured into small groups throughout the world – sometimes with not more than one or two members per group. And now, their leader is gone.

Militarily, President Obama scored a huge success with the death of bin Ladin. Leon Panetta, the head of the CIA, and the Navy Seals team that handled the mission did a remarkable job.

For those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, there will be some closure and personally, I couldn’t be happier that bin Ladin is out of the picture. But it’s a hollow victory for me. We’ve sacrificed so much blood and treasure over these last nine years that his demise seems far less significant by comparison.

Politically, this event resulted in a boost in the president’s poll numbers. He succeeded where his two predecessors failed. Although, with all the domestic issues that need attention: 8.5% unemployment, stupid-high gas prices, a crumbling infrastructure and increasingly higher food costs, the rise in his popularity will probably be short-lived. As a country, we need to re-think our military strategies. Our “enemies” are not other countries anymore. We do not need huge military forces stationed around the world in order to keep the peace. Small, well-trained forces on the ground like “Seal Team 6” appear to be far more effective. (They executed this operation with incredible precision and not one team member was injured, much less killed.) Plus, so much more can be done from the air than ever before that large numbers of ground troops are not necessary.

The world has become “smaller” and more transparent, especially since 9-11. The human desire to be free is starting to re-shape the Middle East with uprisings in many areas. We can be the beacon of peace in the world by not engaging in warfare and not sticking our foreign policy “nose” where it doesn’t belong. Through the unfiltered lens of the internet, people around the globe can witness life in a free society. What they do with that information is up to them, not us.

So… are we done now?

With 24 people and 40 minutes, we succeeded where nearly ten years, thousands of soldiers lost, tens of thousands of soldiers injured, hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed, and well over a trillion dollars spent, did not.

Can we please end these senseless wars?

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com

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ARE YOU SURE?

December 2, 2009

Dear Mr. President,

Are you sure?

I applaud you for not concerning yourself with politics in making your decision. I will not however, commend you for taking time to consider every possible option. It’s part of your job description. This is why I voted for you. I wanted pragmatic, discerning leadership in the White House.

But are you sure?

 

I watched the young cadets as they watched you. It is possible some may be lost in battle because of your decision. It is possible one of these faces could someday belong to Malia or Sasha. I know you understand this. As you embraced these cadets after your address, I couldn’t help but wonder how soon their wide-eyed youthful faces would be forever hardened and pre-maturely aged by the horrific experiences of war.

So, are you sure?

I trust you are implementing this plan with knowledge that far exceeds my own. I am but a distant observer; knowing only what I hear and read – and what history teaches. I believe you have information of the region’s extremely volatile nuclear situation that neither can be, nor should be shared publically. I “hear” you when you say this is not like previous conflicts.

But are you sure?

Your eyes revealed more than your words as you addressed our nation and the world last night. I saw great concern, not about your decision, but about unknown consequences. You displayed “heaviness of heart’ through your facial expressions. This tells me you did not come to your conclusions with ease.

 

 

So, if you’re sure, I’m with you.

I will set aside my personal ideology.

Sincerely,

www.MichaelKontras.com