Monday, April 20, 2009

Meanwhile, We're Still At War

President Obama has had two very good trips abroad, successfully demonstrating that with the new administration comes a new foreign policy. While that may be true with respect to Latin America, it certainly is not all that true with respect to the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Obama is hedging on troop pullouts in the first country and is openly ratcheting up the troop count in the second. Two wars in the same region: not much change there.

Today's Los Angeles Times contains an important op-ed column on the issue. Written by Eugene McCarthy, former Democratic Senator from South Dakota and a candidate for President in 1972, the column makes it clear that Mr. McCarthy is as concerned about the administration's stance on Iraq and Afghanistan as a lot of us are.

He points to the fact that by 2006, a majority of the country wanted that madness to end, and to end quickly. That view was given tangible expression in the 2006 elections which gave the Democrats control of Congress. In 2008, not only did the Democrats increase their numbers in Congress, they won the White House. Yet here we are, still recording deaths in Iraq and building up for a surge in Afghanistan, guaranteeing more deaths there.

Mr. McGovern asks a series of important questions, questions that the White House should be forced to address.

Are we now going to ignore for another three years the public mandate of 2006 against this costly, preemptive war based on deceit? And how can we justify putting thousands more U.S. troops into Afghanistan? We have already exhausted our treasury. We are also close to exhausting our soldiers.

Can there be any doubt that the enormous war cost has contributed to the financial crisis here at home? The expense of waging two Middle East wars, plus the loss of revenue caused by the previous administration's tax cuts, have skyrocketed the national debt to a record high. Do we ever consider what the interest alone is on our $10-trillion national debt -- much of it paid to China? ...

Our policymakers in Washington contend that we must maintain U.S. troops in the Middle East to curb terrorism. I strongly believe that it is our military presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Middle East that is driving terrorism against the United States. No country that longs for national sovereignty wants a foreign army in its midst. We taught that lesson to the British Empire in 1776 when George Washington and his ragtag guerrilla army drove the British military from our shores.

Those misbegotten wars and the current state of our economy are, as Sen. McCarthy has pointed out, inextricably linked. If President Obama is serious about restoring our economy and our standing in the world to where both should be, he needs to recognize that fact. He needs to listen to honorable men such as Sen. McCarthy and to the millions of Americans who agree with him on this issue.

We need some real change.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you mean "George McGovern", not "Eugene McCarthy". A smile-making slip.

4:04 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

And of course, you are absolutely correct.

I don't know what caused that brain fart, and I am duly embarrassed.

Gene McCarthy (may he rest in peace) would have enjoyed the slip as much as you did.

4:13 AM  

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