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Out of the Iraq Frying Pan into the Afghanistan Fire? 9-2-09

Updated on February 10, 2012

Afghan Girl With the Green Eyes by Steve McCurry

Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire

NY Times Blog November 11-11-08

Twice in recent weeks otherwise excellent NY Times editorials endorsing and congratulating Barack Obama referred to the "necessary war in Afghanistan" without explaining what is so necessary about the war, what we expect to accomplish by it, at what cost and what the likelihood of achieving our goals there is, and whether to goals are worth the cost. Dexter Filkins's outstanding recent report on Afghanistan didn't inspire confidence in the likelihood of success of our policies there.

In the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq, the NY Times let the country down, lending it's front pages to misinformation about WMD and its editorial page in support of Bush's foolish, costly, counter-productive invasion of Iraq. I urge your editors to re-examine your position on Afghanistan. The lack of public discussion of this issue is unfortunate, in my opinion.

Moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan may well be be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

Ralph Deeds Birmingham, Michigan

1-25-09 Afthanistan--Fearing Another Quagmire NYTimes

At last something in the NY Times questioning our policy in Afghanistan--an very good article by Helen Cooper on the front page of the "Week in Review."

Cooper raises the question: "Can President Obama suceed in that long-lamented 'graveyard of empires'--a place that has crushed foreign occupiers for more than 2,000 years." She points out that there is growing debate about Obama's planned 30,000 troop surge in Afghanistan--"about whether--or how--the troops can accomplish their mission, and just what the mission is." Her article is well worth reading.

NYT Blog 6-9-08

The odds are long against Jim Hoagland's hope that we can "turn Iraq into another Korea. A happy ending is unlikely for the United States or the people of Iraq, now or later. This vain hope would only prolong the agony.

"The Times' June 6 editorial "The Truth About the War" and Scott McClellan's expose of Bush-Cheney lies both failed missed the most basic point, i.e., that whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, our invasion was reckless and unnecessary.

The NYT, the Washington Post and network television all failed to question Bush's abandonment of our policy articulated by Dean Acheson and adopted by Harry Truman that successfully contained a very real nuclear threat from the USSR and China for more than 50 years. Bush adopted his preemptive strike policy with little discussion and hardly a whimper from the mainstream media who made it easy for Bush to lead us into a needless war that has become a disaster for our country and the people of Iraq. Almost without exception, the media failed to question, let alone oppose the Bush train as it headed over the cliff. NBC fired Phil Donohue because he spoke out against the war, and the Times gave front page coverage week after week to Judith Miller's inaccurate, to put it politely, reporting on Iraq. The "truth about Iraq" is that the war was needless even if the claims of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been true, because whatever weapons Iraq had were contained and not likely to be used against its neighbors, let alone the United States.

We are fortunate that a change in the White House and the Congress is likely and that Carl Levin, who had the foresight and good judgment to vote against our needless and reckless invasion, will continue as Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee where he will be in a position to help us effectuate an orderly withdrawal.

Ralph Deeds Birmingham, Michigan

War Made Easy--full 70 minute Google Video

Buddhas of Bamiyan

6th Century Bamiyan Statues Destroyed by Taliban

Eisenhower's Warning About the Military Industrial Complex


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    • lilyfly profile image

      Lillian K. Staats 6 years ago from Wasilla, Alaska

      Agreed! I just spoke to a friend coming back from Afghanistan. He said we are losing it even more brilliantly than Iraq. No one seems to understand the juxtapositions happening here; I'm getting some useful, some not so useful info. from Thanks for taking these people to task. Voted up...lilyfly

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thank you for your comment.

    • sophieaj profile image

      sophieaj 8 years ago from uk

      I completely disagree with the comment mentioning the sanctions on Tajikistan - firstly, sanctions would only result in the local people suffering more,the 'corrupt' government will be the very last people to suffer. Secondly, the very last thing Tajiks want is a collapsing government - they would like pluralism but last time they tried it resulted in a civil war resulting in the deaths of about 50,000 people and a completely destroyed economy. Although local people are poor they still do not want to face the possibility of another war. It goes without saying that if Tajikistan, with its strategic location was to fall then trying to control opium smuggling through the country probably wouldn't be on any agenda.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comment. I wonder how much the coalition would have to pay to buy the the entire poppy crop?

    • profile image

      A. Liatsis 8 years ago

      The first step to destroying the Taliban is to destroy Afghanistan's Narco Economy. Through the cultivation of poppy crops the Taliban is able to fund is fight against coalition forces through the purchase of weapons and the provision of wages for fighters. One way to accomplish this would be for the farmers involved in the growing of poppies to be paid a higher price than what the Taliban would pay for them so that they would more than likely sell their crop to coalition forces, which would then be destroyed. Through this Taliban would then have no way gaining the necessary funds to fund an insurgency.

      Moreover, I believe that sanctions should be placed upon Tajikistan as this is where most of the Afghan poppy is refined into opium and heroin after is passes through the porous border existing between the two states. This would perhaps assist in toppling Tajikistan's criminal government and would dismantle the buyer market of the Afghan poppy.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Terrible. Religious fanatics are not supportive of women's rights.

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 8 years ago from Washington, USA

      Ralph - That afghan girl photo reminded me of the plight of woman in Afghanistan (although some images may be disturbing)

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Tnx for your comment, although I don't go all the way with you.

    • profile image

      ColdWarBaby 8 years ago

      Terrorists, in most instances, are criminals and not military units officially serving sovereign nations. The apprehension and incarceration of criminals is the province of police, not military forces.

      As anyone knows, the war on terror is no more real than the so-called wars on drugs, homelessness, crime or poverty to name but a few. They are all excuses for the fascist corporatocracy to acquire ever more power and steal ever more money from the masses.

      The mujahideen (different spellings abound), was supported, armed, trained and financed by the CIA, with a little help from the Saudis, ostensibly to thwart the Soviets in Afghanistan. Zbigniew Brzezinski convinced Jimmy Carter that supporting the jihad would put another nail in the communist coffin. This also ultimately brought us the Taliban and Al Qaeda (also an abundance of spellings).

      Today these terrorist groups, created and sponsored by amerika, provide a convenient lie upon which to base a perpetual war to advance the agenda of amerikan hegemony and for the benefit of capitalism and its fascist proponents. They also help maintain, particularly in Afghanistan, a steady flow of heroin and cocaine into the u.s., which is an essential economic component of the criminal capitalist regime to the tune of at least $600 billion per year.

      The united states is the greatest purveyor of terrorism in history and has been for more than one hundred years.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Tnx for the comments. We're on the same wavelength. When you have the time please watch the full video. It's quite good.

    • Amanda Severn profile image

      Amanda Severn 8 years ago from UK

      There can be no argument that violence breeds violence. I  remember watching the bombing of Baghdad on the news each evening at the beginning of the war, and thinking 'hey, if these people think that the best way to deter the enemy is to dig trenches around the city, fill them with oil, and set it alight, then are they seriously likely to have Weapons of Mass Destruction?' After a while I could no longer bear to watch the news. It became painfully obvious that this war was neither just nor necessary.

      Afghanistan is a different matter altogether. The Taliban are (apparently) an unpleasant bunch who wish to impose extreme Muslim ideals on the Afghan people. Women in particular become victims in such a culture, and this is clearly not what we in the West would wish for them. However, when it comes to understanding cultures such as these, you might as well tear up the Western rule books. We are judging the behaviour of the Taliban using our own philosophies. War is not the answer. Change comes through education and opportunity. Change is evolutionary and cannot be imposed. 

    • Paraglider profile image

      Dave McClure 8 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

      Ralph - The British (when mighty) failed to subdue Afghanistan. The Russians too. The US's excuse for being there was to root out Al Qaeda. But Al Q is not an army and can't be fought as if it were. The side effect of the US's presence is the rise of the Taliban. These people, though very dangerous within Afghanistan, are not a danger to Afghanistan's neighbours, far less to remote continents. Their agenda was to force their 'style' of strict Islam on their country. But now their agenda is to drive all foreign troops from the country. America's presence is their greatest aid to recruitment. 

      In my hub "How to win a war" I compared the "War on Terror" to the mythical seven headed  Hydra. Strike off a head and another grows in its place. The whole war on terror rhetoric should be dropped as it is making the world ever more dangerous. 

    • vitaeb profile image

      vitaeb 8 years ago from Shenandoah Valley, Virginia

      I'm in total aggreement with you, Ralph. The ground swell that voted Obama into office now needs to keep him on point with the necessary changes promised.

      I'm rather dismayed to read in According to Greg Sargent, Howard Fineman is reporting that Obama has now expressed his clear support not only for Joe Lieberman staying in the caucus, but for retaining his Chairmanship of the Department of Homeland Security Committee. Here is the full text:

      And here is another piece about the need for us non-politicos to keep the new president aware of our wishes: