From the Office of State Senator Chris Lauzen (25th District)…
(Part Two of a Two-Part Series)
Permanent recession, perpetual war, persistent anxiety and fear . . . these are not what we want. These are not the American Promise in either the Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution. But, that is what our current policies are delivering in domestic and foreign affairs. We are not victims to some miserable fate. Wisdom and willpower produce lasting peace and prosperity.
So, where do we go from here in Afghanistan and Iraq?
First, we must restore our self-discipline as a nation. A country whose politicians are consistently dishonest, blubbery, and self-serving; where self-governance becomes a daily Blagojevich circus that mocks soldiers’ sacrifice; and, whose economic strength is sapped by 10-15% long-term unemployment, 99 weeks (nearly 2 years) of job-loss compensation and government confiscation of private enterprise cannot long compete against muscular Asian competitors or Central Asian fanatics.
Second, recognize that political disagreements end at our borders no matter how sore we might be at the bad example of opposing parties when they were in the minority. Wrath should be focused on the enemy, not each other. Terrorists brought war to the mainland United States on 9/11/2001 with morally illegitimate violence that inexcusably killed more innocent men and women than the Japanese killed soldiers and civilians at Pearl Harbor which led to the total mobilization of our country into World War II. George Bush retaliated by invading Afghanistan. Barack Obama has now doubled the war to nearly 100,000 American troops. These are not Bush or Obama Wars, nor are they “good” or “bad” wars – – they are wars where the real sacrifices are being made by real American families who are willing to protect the rest of us with their blood, sweat, toil and tears.
Stop our political leaders’ nonsense of apologizing for our being Americans. Not to Europeans for some misplaced guilt for providing peace and reconstruction for nearly seventy years on their continent. Not to Africans because some Americans held African slaves until one hundred and fifty years ago. Not to the Communist Chinese (of all governments!) for the State of Arizona wanting to enforce existing federal immigration law and protect itself from the ravages of illegal immigration. These politicians act as the Pharisee who prayed in the Temple, “Lord, I thank thee that I am not like other men . . . ”
Finally, correct our objective. Every month we are losing 50-100 of our finest youth killed, with many more permanently wounded, both physically and psychologically. Three lousy options are: (1) continue nation-building upon a fatally-flawed government, (2) invest more troops and financial resources like Lyndon Johnson did in Vietnam even after General and President Dwight Eisenhower had warned while sending only aid that he could not “conceive of a greater tragedy” for America than getting heavily involved there, or (3) downsize and consolidate the protection of a very few key strategic centers (forts) from which surgical strikes can be launched against terrorist camps based on increased and more accurate military intelligence on the ground.
Afghan President Karzai threatens us that he may reach out to join the Taliban. There are monthly reports of government Afghan troops turning on and shooting our own soldiers who are training them; C.I.A. reports that fewer than 50-100 al-Qaeda remain in Afghanistan, but now reside in hidden terrain in Pakistan while Iran marches forward to nuclear armament in the hands of madmen; investigations by the House Subcommittee for National Security that indicate “American taxpayers have inadvertently created a network of warlords across Afghanistan who are making millions of dollars escorting NATO convoys and operating outside of military controls (pay-to-protect Afghan-style); and, reports that 15-20% of Afghan army and police force members are routinely A.W.O.L. If their own people don’t value fighting to preserve a centralized government, why should our children fight for them?
Oh, we were told recently that there may be mineral deposits worth between $1-3 Trillion in Afghanistan, as if war will produce some type of neo-colonial incentive of wealth. I say, “Let the mining executives and their shareholders’ families secure their own booty “. . . not one drop of our children’s blood for multinational oil or raw material profits.
During the entire first seven years of war in Afghanistan, from October 2001 to January 2009, 625 American soldiers were killed. During the most recent year and a half, that number has doubled. We must decide whether we will go to war with terrorists, or go to court. The rules of engagement have become bizarre where Taliban fighters get a first lethal shot at our soldier before he can fire back and, even more insanely, serious consideration was being given to awarding medals for not shooting the enemy.
The politicization of conducting war and enforcing law will undermine our country. I cannot imagine how you order 18-24 year old Marines to read hostile Taliban their Miranda rights on the battlefield. Who then will testify in court for the prosecution and the defense? Why are Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four Twin Tower jihadists granted all the privileges of the American Bill of Rights when he has already pleaded guilty to trying to destroy everything America stands for?
How perfectly insane is this? Nearly as impractical as telling our enemy how long we will fight . . . “Wait until July of 2011 and we’ll be on our way out”. The reason Cheney estimated that we would be in Iraq for one hundred years and one general announced that he was buying riverfront property on the Euphrates for his retirement was to demonstrate resolve and commitment. President Obama, with a peculiarly Chicago-style diplomacy has stated, “We ain’t stayin’ long.”
Answers may have changed over the last nine years in Afghanistan, but questions remain the same. Currently “What is vital to U.S. national interests in Afghanistan?” and “What are the clearly defined objectives for our troops consistent with our national interests?” It is obvious to most of us back home and to those brave men and women on the battlefield that answers to just these two questions indicate that we’ve lost our way in effectively fighting the wide-spread war on terrorism. Yet, the centrifuges in Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and only God knows where else continue spinning–while Americans appear unreliable to friends, compliant and apologetic to rivals, and weak to enemies.
Have you been on a military base lately? There aren’t a lot of hats on backwards and pants halfway down backsides. You see men and women, both leaders and in the ranks, who look you in the eye. They respect you because they respect themselves and what our country stands for. They say “Yes sir,” and “No, ma’am,” because their job is to serve others with courage and self-discipline.
If it was your son or daughter being deployed to the war zone, what would be your opinion of our mission?
Senator Chris Lauzen