Leaving Iraq is not enough
The good news is President Barack Obama promised to bring the American troops home from Iraq by the end of the year. But he does not go far enough. What about Afghanistan? Thousands of American troops are serving in that primitive territory, where they are constantly targeted in that mountainous, impossible land.
Let’s get out of both countries.
It is a most serious, unacceptable tragedy, the U.S. involvement in Iraq since 2003 and Afghanistan since 2001 — years of senseless killing and dying.
As Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote in his famous poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “Their’s not to make reply/Their’s not to reason why/Their’s but to do and die.”
Obama followed former President George W. Bush’s “stay the course” approach after Bush initiated an invasion into Iraq, with no honest explanation of the reason for storming Baghdad. Why should Americans have to continue to die for lies?
Where are the American protesters against “no-win” wars? The death of one soldier in these forsaken wars is a deep tragedy. Obama had a chance to get out of both conflicts when he first took the presidential oath of office. Granted, it would have taken courage, but it also would have given the country a great sense of relief to move on. Instead, Obama failed to act at the moment.
No one rejected President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s determination to pull out of Korea as soon as he took over the Oval Office. No one called President Ronald Reagan a coward when he pulled fleets out of Lebanon after the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. It was the better part of valor.
The lives lost are everything. But the wars have also caused a daily drain of billions from the U.S. Treasury. Can we really afford to continue spending millions of dollars per day on wars when so many Americans are losing their homes and struggling to put food on the table and pay medical bills?
In another development, the United States has acted shamefully again against the Palestinians.
Obama opposed granting full membership of Palestine into UNESCO. Palestine won full membership in the organization, and Obama plans to call off all funding to the global educational, social and cultural agency.
How long does the president of the United States plan to march to the Tel Aviv drummer? Does the United States always have to take Israel’s orders, especially during an election year? Do pro-Israeli money and political support trump the American sense of humanity and values? How can America be against freedom for the Palestinians and turn a blind eye as Israel continues to blatantly build illegal settlements?
The U.S. representative in Paris, at the time of the UNESCO vote to allow Palestine full membership, told the gathering the move was “not helpful.” For whom? Has the United States lost its goal to help countries join the community of nations?
Now The Washington Post reports that in Kabul there is a detention facility to hold terrorist suspects, called Department 124, which is known for torturing prisoners. According to the Post, one of the detainees called the notorious prison “hell.” The United Nations has disclosed what it calls systematic torture at the prison.
Other countries have halted the policy of handing over the terrorist suspects to Afghan custody because of the practice of torture on prisoners, but not the United States.
Haven’t we learned anything from the revelations of water boarding and other horrors at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, the infamous prison near Baghdad — the place where torture of so called terrorists was routine practice, with the approval of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and former Vice President Dick Cheney?
Is it possible for us to get out of these wars with our honor intact?
How long can we continue this “man’s inhumanity to man” without adhering to our dedication to the judicial process? How long is Obama going to shame us with his self-serving political moves?
Gaza is an open prison. The United States has threatened to block every step for the liberation of the Palestinian people. And now, it appears we are standing by as prisoners are being tortured in Kabul. What has the United States become?Helen Thomas' posts appear here courtesy of the Falls Church News-Press.