The only compelling reason for the United States to be in Afghanistan is to prevent a sanctuary for radical Muslim terrorists.
Given that we can't find Osama nine years after the 9/11 attacks, I dare say that eliminating training centers for terrorists in the Middle East will never be a realistic solution to the problem. Nor will it be possible for us to prevent nine dirt bags from gathering in a cave in Pakistan plotting our demise. Like it or not there is broad support for anti-West terrorism in many Middle East nations, Afghanistan being just one of them.
A far better approach would be for the United States to redirect its focus to securing our homeland. We need to secure our borders, upgrade our port and airport security and invest in the research and development of security technology.
And we need to stop playing politics with border security.
Ironically, many of those who say we need to "bring the troops home" are also steadfast against securing our border. Yet taking these two positions simultaneously is moronic and politicians of both parties should be pointing this out.
Instead, bring the troops home and let them go to work stopping the flow of arms and drugs across the border, and eliminating narco-terrorists and bulk drug distributors when the opportunity presents itself. Put the funding in place to allow the U.S. marshals to track down the thousands of criminal aliens with outstanding warrants. Put the funding in place to install physical, technology-based border control, and the people to operate it.
There's something wrong with the picture when President Barack Obama sends 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and 1,200 to the Southern border. And while it's apparent that Mr. Obama's motivation is political (Hispanic votes), let's not forget that President George W. Bush was equally inept at border control for his own political reasons (cheap labor for business).
The world is a different place than it used to be. We will no longer get off cheap, regardless of which approach we take. Wars are tremendously expensive, but even if we redirect our efforts towards securing our homeland it's still going to cost money and the cost shouldn't be passed along to our children (as so much other spending is these days). We have to find a way to pay for our national security efforts.
The baby-boomer generation, of which I am an embarrassed member, will undoubtedly go down in American history as the worst generation of Americans since 1776. For the first time in American history, children living today are expected to be worse off than their parents. The baby-boomers are the least accomplished, most entitled, laziest and most gluttonous. We can't win our wars, we pass our bills along to our children, we charge things on our credit cards that we can't afford to buy and yet we still feel entitled to receive "free stuff" from the government, even when we don't need it. We've got the most rabid, partisan political leaders who ignore everything we tell them and then get re-elected by gerrymandering districts and manipulating campaign funding rules. It's been many years since anyone's got the impression that politics is about making lives better, not about short-term, self-serving political moves and preservation of undeserved political careers.
Securing our border and refocusing our national security efforts would be one giant step towards regaining some credibility with past generations of Americans, those who proceeded the baby boomers and who steered this nation through very challenging times by cooperating with one another and putting country before partisan politics. And with future generations, whom we can only hope will learn from our many mistakes.
Michael P. DeCicco, Severn