June 28,  2011

Plan for pulling troops out of
Afghanistan disappointing


President Obama's plan for with-drawing troops from Afghanistan is, to say the least, disappointing. Ever since the so-called 'police action' in Korea a half century ago the United States has had a problem in extricating itself from conflicts it never intended to win.

After the attack on the World Trade Center it was fully appropriate to mount a punitive military expedition to seek out and destroy Al Qaeda, the acknowledged perpetrator  and bring Osama Ben Laden to justice. In the process it was logical to include as a target the government which harbored him and his organization. But something went very wrong.

President Bush took advantage of overwhelming public support for the incursion into Afghanistan to launch an unnecessary and, as it turned out, unjustified  invasion of Iraq and, for reasons never fully disclosed, gave that priority.

Now that the assassination of Ben Laden has made the Afghanistan conflict unnecessary, President Obama has advanced a plan to withdraw. But he has made the dreadful mistake of stretching the process through 2014. That's by far too long.

At last count, according to the Department of Defense the war has cost 1,628 American lives and inflicted wounds and related injuries  -- many of them with lifelong effects -- upon 12,137 armed service members.

The toll is already too high. How much higher will it go during the coming three and a half years? More importantly, we ask: For what purpose?

The President should recalculate  --  even if the admission implied by doing so would jeopardize his bid for a second term -- and order the military to have all our troops out of there no later than the end of this year.

2011. All rights reserved.