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April 9, 2010 - 8:20am

Today's Poll: At this stage, do you support a continued U.S. presence in Afghanistan?

posted by Howard B. Owens in polls.
Howard B. Owens
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Compare these results to Nov. 2009, when 49 percent said we should send more troops to Afghanistan. So far, 57 percent on this poll don't support a U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
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At this point there are over 100 people that believe the war in Afghanistan is the correct war, here's a few questions for them. What does winning the war look like to you? How many more US soldiers should die to get that win? How many Innocent Afghan families should die to get that win? What do want done to American people that disagree with the war and refuse to help finance it? Would you like our country occupied by another? Would it be acceptable to you to have a family member killed by an occupying force, and referred to as collateral damage?
Mark Janofsky
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At this point there are 169 people that believe the war in Afghanistan is NOT the correct war, here's a few questions for them. Have you forgotten that 9/11 was an unprovoked attack on mostly civilians? Have you forgotten the 2973 that died? Have you forgotten the 6000+ injured? Have you forgotten the health effects of the survivors in that area? Have you forgotten the economic cost and the ensuing recession? Have you forgotten the freedoms taken from us? Would it be acceptable to you to have an innocent family member and/or fellow citizen killed by terrorists, and referred to as a glorious act for God?
Peter O'Brien
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What does winning the war look like to you? A pro-US government in place that can control the land in its borders. How many more US soldiers should die to get that win? Loss of life is horrible, but these are volunteers who believe in what they are doing. That is their choice to make, not yours. How many Innocent Afghan families should die to get that win? If it was my family that was lost in a war for freedom, the cost would be worth it. What do want done to American people that disagree with the war and refuse to help finance it? Nothing but their choice in financing it comes from elections. Would you like our country occupied by another? If we couldn't stop a threat from taking our freedom I would love to have another nation come and save us. Would it be acceptable to you to have a family member killed by an occupying force, and referred to as collateral damage? If the end result was freedom for my fellow citizens, absolutely!
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After reading that second post, i was going to respond aggressively and passionately until I seen Mark and Peter's responses.... Bravo Guys...Bravo.
Howard B. Owens
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There will never be a trustworthy, pro-US government in Afghanistan. Not in our lifetimes. One definition of insanity is to keep doing the same stupid thing over and over. Every day we're still in Afghanistan, we're proving ourselves either stupid or insane. The current government in Afghanistan has proven itself unreliable and untrustworthy. It's also corrupt. It's not worth defending and there is nothing better available to take its place. Men and women volunteer for the military. Once in they are oath-sworn to obey the orders of their commanders. That doesn't translate into them necessarily fighting a war that they believe in, nor that they are fully informed on the full extent and ramifications of the wars they're fighting. The U.S. military is under civilian control. We civilians very much have a right to have a say on whether our young men and women should be sent to a war that is unwinnable and doing more harm than good. The pretext of 9/11 for Afghanistan passed many years ago. Now, it's just a quagmire. The 9/11 argument for Afghanistan today just doesn't wash. The best solution is to leave. Just get out. So that no more young men and women needlessly give up their lives or their bodies and minds for an unwinnable war. Wars such as Afghanistan and Iraq not only take the lives of innocent victims (and I include our young soldiers in that count, and I say that as a U.S. Military veteran), it also corrupts the soles of our military personnel, as this video (from Iraq) graphically and tragically demonstrates.
C. M. Barons
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Howard, I concur with your assessment, but I disagree on your named impetus for our involvement in Afghanistan. Afghanistan comprises a direct route for pipelines to deliver natural gas and oil to the Caspian Sea. The two pipelines have been on standby until the region's stability is restored. From the 1998 Congressional Record: Mr. Maresca. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's nice to see you again. I am John Maresca, vice president for international relations of the Unocal Corporation (now Chevron). Unocal, as you know, is one of the world's leading energy resource and project development companies. I appreciate your invitation to speak here today. I believe these hearings are important and timely. I congratulate you for focusing on Central Asia oil and gas reserves and the role they play in shaping U.S. policy. I would like to focus today on three issues. First, the need for multiple pipeline routes for Central Asian oil and gas resources. Second, the need for U.S. support for international and regional efforts to achieve balanced and lasting political settlements to the conflicts in the region, including Afghanistan. Third, the need for structured assistance to encourage economic reforms and the development of appropriate investment climates in the region. In this regard, we specifically support repeal or removal of section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. Mr. Chairman, the Caspian region contains tremendous untapped hydrocarbon reserves. Just to give an idea of the scale, proven natural gas reserves equal more than 236 trillion cubic feet. The region's total oil reserves may well reach more than 60 billion barrels of oil. Some estimates are as high as 200 billion barrels. In 1995, the region was producing only 870,000 barrels per day. By 2010, western companies could increase production to about 4.5 million barrels a day, an increase of more than 500 percent in only 15 years. If this occurs, the region would represent about 5 percent of the world's total oil production. One major problem has yet to be resolved: how to get the region's vast energy resources to the markets where they are needed. Central Asia is isolated. Their natural resources are land locked, both geographically and politically. Each of the countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia faces difficult political challenges. Some have unsettled wars or latent conflicts. Others have evolving systems where the laws and even the courts are dynamic and changing. In addition, a chief technical obstacle which we in the industry face in transporting oil is the region's existing pipeline infrastructure. Because the region's pipelines were constructed during the Moscow-centered Soviet period, they tend to head north and west toward Russia. There are no connections to the south and east. But Russia is currently unlikely to absorb large new quantities of foreign oil. It's unlikely to be a significant market for new energy in the next decade. It lacks the capacity to deliver it to other markets. Two major infrastructure projects are seeking to meet the need for additional export capacity. One, under the aegis of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, plans to build a pipeline west from the northern Caspian to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. Oil would then go by tanker through the Bosporus to the Mediterranean and world markets. The other project is sponsored by the Azerbaijan International Operating Company, a consortium of 11 foreign oil companies, including four American companies, Unocal, Amoco, Exxon and Pennzoil. This consortium conceives of two possible routes, one line would angle north and cross the north Caucasus to Novorossiysk. The other route would cross Georgia to a shipping terminal on the Black Sea. This second route could be extended west and south across Turkey to the Mediterranean port of Ceyhan. But even if both pipelines were built, they would not have enough total capacity to transport all the oil expected to flow from the region in the future. Nor would they have the capability to move it to the right markets. Other export pipelines must be built. At Unocal, we believe that the central factor in planning these pipelines should be the location of the future energy markets that are most likely to need these new supplies. Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Newly Independent States of the former Soviet Union are all slow growth markets where demand will grow at only a half a percent to perhaps 1.2 percent per year during the period 1995 to 2010. Asia is a different story all together. It will have a rapidly increasing energy consumption need. Prior to the recent turbulence in the Asian Pacific economies, we at Unocal anticipated that this region's demand for oil would almost double by 2010. Although the short-term increase in demand will probably not meet these expectations, we stand behind our long-term estimates. I should note that it is in everyone's interest that there be adequate supplies for Asia's increasing energy requirements. If Asia's energy needs are not satisfied, they will simply put pressure on all world markets, driving prices upwards everywhere. The key question then is how the energy resources of Central Asia can be made available to nearby Asian markets. There are two possible solutions, with several variations. One option is to go east across China, but this would mean constructing a pipeline of more than 3,000 kilometers just to reach Central China. In addition, there would have to be a 2,000-kilometer connection to reach the main population centers along the coast. The question then is what will be the cost of transporting oil through this pipeline, and what would be the netback which the producers would receive. For those who are not familiar with the terminology, the netback is the price which the producer receives for his oil or gas at the well head after all the transportation costs have been deducted. So it's the price he receives for the oil he produces at the well head. The second option is to build a pipeline south from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean. One obvious route south would cross Iran, but this is foreclosed for American companies because of U.S. sanctions legislation. The only other possible route is across Afghanistan, which has of course its own unique challenges. The country has been involved in bitter warfare for almost two decades, and is still divided by civil war. From the outset, we have made it clear that construction of the pipeline we have proposed across Afghanistan could not begin until a recognized government is in place that has the confidence of governments, lenders, and our company. Mr. Chairman, as you know, we have worked very closely with the University of Nebraska at Omaha in developing a training program for Afghanistan which will be open to both men and women, and which will operate in both parts of the country, the north and south. Unocal foresees a pipeline which would become part of a regional system that will gather oil from existing pipeline infrastructure in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Russia. The 1,040-mile long oil pipeline would extend south through Afghanistan to an export terminal that would be constructed on the Pakistan coast. This 42-inch diameter pipeline will have a shipping capacity of one million barrels of oil per day. The estimated cost of the project, which is similar in scope to the trans-Alaska pipeline, is about $2.5 billion. Given the plentiful natural gas supplies of Central Asia, our aim is to link gas resources with the nearest viable markets. This is basic for the commercial viability of any gas project. But these projects also face geopolitical challenges. Unocal and the Turkish company Koc Holding are interested in bringing competitive gas supplies to Turkey. The proposed Eurasia natural gas pipeline would transport gas from Turkmenistan directly across the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey. Of course the demarcation of the Caspian remains an issue. Last October, the Central Asia Gas Pipeline Consortium, called CentGas, in which Unocal holds an interest, was formed to develop a gas pipeline which will link Turkmenistan's vast Dauletabad gas field with markets in Pakistan and possibly India. The proposed 790-mile pipeline will open up new markets for this gas, traveling from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan to Multan in Pakistan. The proposed extension would move gas on to New Delhi, where it would connect with an existing pipeline. As with the proposed Central Asia oil pipeline, CentGas can not begin construction until an internationally recognized Afghanistan Government is in place. The Central Asia and Caspian region is blessed with abundant oil and gas that can enhance the lives of the region's residents, and provide energy for growth in both Europe and Asia. The impact of these resources on U.S. commercial interests and U.S. foreign policy is also significant. Without peaceful settlement of the conflicts in the region, cross-border oil and gas pipelines are not likely to be built. We urge the Administration and the Congress to give strong support to the U.N.-led peace process in Afghanistan. The U.S. Government should use its influence to help find solutions to all of the region's conflicts. U.S. assistance in developing these new economies will be crucial to business success. We thus also encourage strong technical assistance programs throughout the region. Specifically, we urge repeal or removal of section 907 of the Freedom Support Act. This section unfairly restricts U.S. Government assistance to the government of Azerbaijan and limits U.S. influence in the region. Developing cost-effective export routes for Central Asian resources is a formidable task, but not an impossible one. Unocal and other American companies like it are fully prepared to undertake the job and to make Central Asia once again into the crossroads it has been in the past. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Howard B. Owens
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C.M. two points. First, I was merely addressing comments by others along the lines of "have you forgotten 9/11?" No I haven't, but at this late date, after the mismanagement of the war by Bush, and the fact there will never be a stable, U.S.-friendly government in Afghanistan, the 9/11 argument is merely a canard. On the other hand, I've never been one to go in much for the blood-for-oil arguments. Such conspiracy theories never appeal to me and it flies in the face of how global commodity markets work.
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Howard -2 points; CM -0
C. M. Barons
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Anyone who thinks an Afghan was involved in the 9/11 attacks probably spent the last 20 years glued to Home Shopping Network. Most of the 26 conspirators were Saudis, some from the United Arab Emirates, and a few from Lebanon and Egypt. Those who were trained in Afghanistan were not trained for the mission they carried out on 9/11. They were trained for the Bosnian War. Consider that during the 80s the United States had been supplying the Taliban with weapons to fight the Soviets. As the 90s began, the Soviets were withdrawing from Afghanistan- defeated largely due to U.S. involvement. What grudge would Afghans hold against their benefactor? Al Qaeda grew out of the Soviet-Afghan conflict. As with most Mideastern skirmishes, borders are transparent. Foreign attacks on Arabs are attacks on Islam, and when Islam comes under fire, nationalities pale. As Soviet-Afghan engagements petered out, the Taliban rulers inherited idle, multinational warriors. War was brewing in the former Yugoslavia; a war pitting Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks against each other. The ethnic differences and divisions: Catholic, Eastern Christian and Moslem. Like a magnet, the Bosnian War was the new frontier for the idle warriors. The international revolutionary force of Al Qaeda was born. When the U.N. settled the Bosnian War, the Moslems won guilty verdicts against Serbs for ethnic cleansing and the Serbs won most of the real estate. It left a bitter taste. The West inherited a disenfranchised yet fanatic army of Mujaheddin who have the patronage of the oil-producing countries, the freedom of movement and education allowed European guests, and a lengthy list of recriminations.
C. M. Barons
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The quote was not from any conspiracy theory website- it was from the congressional record. And I'm not keeping score.
Howard B. Owens
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Afghanistan was a base of operation for AQ. It was where the 9/11 attacks were conceived and where the terrorists were trained. It was also where the best chance to capture Bin Laden existed. The pretext on 9/12 to attack Afghanistan was certainly strong (the only argument against it would be purely of a peacenic nature, which I'm not dismissing). The quote above proves nothing along the lines of a "blood for oil" nature. To use it to support such an argument is purely a conspiracy theory kind of logic. It merely points out that there were business interests that needed peace and stability in the region. There's nothing sinister about that, and it offers no proof that either the military nor the Bush administration was using a faulty pretext to invade Afghanistan.
C. M. Barons
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Howard, I don’t disagree; Al Qaeda has bases and conducts training in Afghanistan. We diverge on the perception of degree to which Afghanistan has been held accountable for Al Qaeda operations. I’m distinguishing the geographical location from the nation as a political entity. Regardless of Bin Laden's current address, it is clear Al Qaeda operates in multiple locations around the globe. During Bin Laden's recruitment efforts for the Soviet-Afghan War, he was signing up volunteers in the city of Detroit. Saudi millionaire Osama Bin Laden arrived in Afghanistan in 1979 as a volunteer jihadist, to defend against the Soviets. It is generally accepted that Bin Laden received CIA training. He functioned in Afghanistan, directing deployment of war materials and recruiting thousands of fellow jihadists. At the end of the Soviet-Afghan War, Bin Laden returned to Saudi Arabia. His radical activities led to his expulsion. He relocated to Sudan. After orchestrating an attack on U. S. military in Somalia, Washington put pressure on Khartoum and Bin Laden found himself expelled again. He returned to Afghanistan where he was welcomed by the new generation of Afghan leadership, the Taliban. The Taliban had been born of the religious schools that flourished during the war. It’s understandable that they would offer sanctuary, their country had been bombed into the Stone Age (to borrow an expression) - why not entertain a war-hero millionaire? Bin Laden’s Mujahedeen since the Soviet-Afghan War went on to fight in Bosnia, the Philippines, Chechnya and Somalia. Dubbed Al Qaeda (loosely translated “the base” may derive from “the database” as in the CIA’s files of Soviet-era jihadists) his former army was spread across the globe. Although the media describes Al Qaeda as a hub-driven network, its spokes frequently act independently. Understandable since ATT is probably behind in its scheduled Afghan Wireless upgrades. The cart and horse analogy could locate Bin laden in either capacity. The BBC reported that the Hamburg, Germany Al Qaeda cell was responsible for planning the 9/11 attack. It should also be remembered that the 9/11 pilots received their flight training in the U. S. Al Qaeda had bases and camps in Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Kashmir and Libya- all responsible for attacks on U. S. interests. Aside from limited retaliation, the brunt of U. S. action has been aimed at Iraq and Afghanistan. Iraq has been virtually cleared of any collusion with Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda had attempted to unite anti-Saddam forces in Kurdistan. Oil-rich Arab nations are known to underwrite Bin Laden’s operations. Pakistani factions regularly abet his activities. Iran is also a key ally of Al Qaeda. With so much guilt by association and so many usual suspects- why Iraq and Afghanistan? Isn’t it plausible that national security could be spelled O I L? I do not align with the philosophy of the Heritage Foundation, but it serves as a think tank for conservative political thought and would correspond to the Bush White House. From their website (excerpts): The National Security Consequences of Oil Dependency Published on May 14, 2007 by Ariel Cohen, Ph.D. Securing the stability of our oil supply to the best extent possible in cooperation with traditional U.S. allies, while bringing on board the emerging major oil consumers, such as India and China, should be the key diplomatic strategy for the intermediate term. At the same time, the U.S. needs to deter those, from Tehran to Caracas, who are seeking to harm and destabilize the world energy supply chain. Working with suppliers and consumers to expand the transparency of, and international access to, existing oil supply by international oil companies, is a policy for the longer term. In his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush said, "[W]e have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world."[2] Recognizing the problem is laudable; however, relatively little has been done to solve it. There is a broad consensus in America, from the President to the man on the street, that the current situation is detrimental to the country's economic health. The world, both developed and developing, is dependent on unstable or otherwise inhospitable regions for its oil supply. This social and political instability characterizes all of the major oil provinces: the Middle East, Venezuela, and Africa. Russia presents a separate set of issues which will be dealt with below. Dealing with security and political factors limiting the development of oil and gas production needs to be a high priority for any Administration--Republican or Democrat. This is particularly challenging because there are so many moving parts in this complex system. For the near term, let us focus on the principal avenues of securing our oil supply, which include: • Deterring anti-status quo players, such as Iran, Venezuela, and the global radical Islamist movement with its terrorist organizations; • Cooperating with local governments to enhance the protection of critical shipping choke points, such as the Suez Canal, the Bosporus, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Strait of Hormuz, the Strait of Malacca, etc., and developing contingency plans for sea-borne terrorism/piracy aimed at tanker ships; The Middle East Currently, the security and stability of Middle East oil is threatened by ongoing conflicts in Iraq; an aggressive and nuclear Iran; and radical Islamist movements, with their terrorist arms, whose goals include toppling regimes throughout the Gulf, including the swing producer of oil, Saudi Arabia. Islamist movements, nurtured to a great extent by oil revenues from Gulf states, aim to eventually create a global Islamic empire--the Caliphate. These movements ultimately strive to subjugate and convert non-Islamic countries to their brand of Islam. This is a very long-term project, and ultimately, it will hopefully be a futile one. However, in the meantime, the existence and the goals of these movements pose an immediate threat to the security of some of the most crucial sectors of the world oil supply.
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The "Taliban" government of Afghanistan gave support to Al Qaeda, which was one of a number of groups operating out of the country. Al Qaeda did not run the country. If the Taliban had agreed to even pretend to run AQ out of Afghanistan, we probably would not have gone in. But based on their best judgement, the Taliban thought we would not come or could not drive them out. And they approved of what Al Qaeda was doing. Bad guess. We went in and the Taliban lost. But as we know, Al Qaeda was not beaten, they went to Pakistan. Now, after all these years, all we have is a corrupt government there that just stole the election. Time to leave.
Howard B. Owens
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It should be acknowledge that if we leave, it won't take long for the Taliban to regain power. That is more regrettable than I can express in words. I consider that regime and their brand of Islam absolutely evil. And their regaining power would create some level -- perhaps high level -- of security risk to the United States and other first-world countries. But the answer, to me, does not lie in continuing to expend blood and treasure in an unwinnable war. Rather, we should continue to be vigilant at home and do our best to take care of our own security. It would help if we became less meddlesome in other country's affairs.
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I believe it was Colin Powell who said, regarding Iraq " It's Pottery Barn rules, You break it, You bought it". Same goes for Afghanistan. Or anywhere else we insert or assert ourselves. My question has always been how come we don't pressure the neighbors more, the Taliban,Iran,Iraq and other extremists should be a great concern for Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Kazakhstan, even China, India and Russia. They're all willing to let us do the dirty work, this is and should be their problem. Sometimes I wonder, why DO we belong to the United Nations, we do for everyone else what's wrong with getting a little return?
Howard B. Owens
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Dave, it was Thomas Friedman who said that -- at least the first time I heard it was him saying it on Charlie Rose, and I've also read it in one of his columns. That's neither here nor there. It's a nice sounding phrase, but the analogy breaks down once you start talking about breaking up the whole damn shop. Here's something interesting I just came across: Andrew Bacevich: US Military Leaders Have 'Forfeited' Their Purpose With Afghan Victory Claims
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The "problems" in middle-eastern countries (in the eyes of the West) are multiple, solution-defying and culturally linked. Foremost is the degree to which the Middle-east has been meddled- with by the West to the point that the Arab world does not trust outsiders. Secondary is the perception by outsiders that despite themselves- these nations are of strategic importance to the political, economic and religious status-quo of the West. The West looks through a lens of vested interest in the fate of the Middle-east. Thirdly, Moslem populations in Europe are ballooning compared to other ethnic groups. The West's relationship to any nation in the Middle-east is predicated- not on respect for the sovereign integrity of those nations, but upon the fragile alliances and understandings driven by need for internal security. The ethnic Kurds create “problems” for Turkey and Iraq. The Moslem populations in Russian Northern Caucasus and Volga regions react to Moscow’s Middle-east policies. Ethnic divisions in Eastern Europe have resulted in the Bosnian War and a crisis in Kosovo; civil unrest is on-going. Greek and Turkish aligned groups have been fighting on the island of Cyprus since the Ottoman invasion in the 16th Century. The greater mess has been festering since clashes between East and West began following the Christian Schism (1045) parting Rome and Constantinople. The conquest of the Byzantine (Greek) world by the Ottomans (Turks) only heightened the tension. It might also be appropriate to note Catholic churches (Roman Catholic, Polish Catholic, etc.) are of the same Latin variety and Orthodox churches (Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, etc.) are of the Constantinople variety. Pope Urban launched the Crusades in 1095, his primary aim: restore the Holy Land to Christendom. That aim broke down when both Byzantium and Rome set up Patriarchs in Palestine: a Roman at Acre and a Greek at Jerusalem. The fourth crusade was initiated by Pope Innocent III in 1198. Venice, primary patron of that crusade, was quarreling with Constantinople. Instead of heading to war with Egypt, the crusaders were led to war against fellow-Christians by the son of the deposed Emperor of Byzantium. Some might ask, “What about Vlad the Impaler – inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Generally known as the Ottoman Wars, for 400 years (11th through 15th centuries) the Turks were making incursions into Eastern Europe. Mostly these invasions reflected the vacuum resultant from the collapse of the Byzantine Empire. It was during this time, approximately 1460, that Vlad Tsepesh was skewering Turks. The Turkish Empire was not formally restrained until the post-World War I era. In 1922, after a three-year battle between Greece and Turkey, the former Ottoman Empire was partitioned under supervision of the British. Turkey was on the losing side of World War I. The Triple Entente (Britain, France & Russia) divvied up Asia Minor and ceded real estate to Greece. Understanding this isn't easy- we haven’t begun to discuss the former Persian Empire, the Sheikdoms of Arabia or Aramco and British Petroleum. Then there is the CIA and the deposing of the Shah of Iran. The Sunni-Shiite conflict: Shiite majorities exist in Iran and Iraq. Pakistan and Afghanistan are in dispute. Ethnic and tribal conflicts within Arab nations. Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We tend to see only our immediate fraction of the historical struggle in that part of the world.
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Howard, People said that Iraq would never have a pro-US government either. Also at this point anyone in the military either joined or re-upped after we invaded Afghanistan. So they are there by choice. Sure that choice could have changed but they should have thought about the before signing. "The U.S. military is under civilian control. We civilians very much have a right to have a say on whether our young men and women should be sent to a war that is unwinnable and doing more harm than good." Thats the same as saying I have a right to vote on a bill in congress because I the government is under civilian control. It only is through our representatives in government and they tend not to swing with the win on issues of war.
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Peter, We don't know if Iraq will have a "Pro US" government yet. We will not really know until after we leave, scheduled for next year.
Howard B. Owens
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Ditto what John said. And much has changed in Afghanistan since many of the current volunteers have changed. But more than that -- it's our tax money (or our debt); it's also our standing in the world; it's also our security (is the ongoing effort helping or hurting national security? Not an easy answer). It's simply not enough to say "it's their choice." It's all our choice. Most of us supported going into Afghanistan and Iraq. We now have a right to change our mind, and as we see on the news more and more civilian slaughters (as happened in Afghanistan yesterday), the public is going to push increasing to get the U.S. military out of both of these theaters.
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There is not a damn thing about either of these 2 dirt-bag countries that is worth what the multiple deployments are doing to our people. Stop these wars now. http://www.buffalonews.com/2010/04/11/1015549/revolving-door-of-multiple...
As someone who has both lost friends in 9/11, served his nation and has watched good people come back broke from these wars, I'm tired of it. We can't take care of our own soldiers properly, can't control our borders, can't get our social policies under any kind of control and we can't even balance a budget, yet we can tell everyone else how to live? Has anyone ever heard the expression work smarter not harder? Can anyone tell me that this is the only course of action we have? There are no other ways to take down regimes? No other ways to take out those who kill innocents? Really? Are you kidding me? I find it disgusting that people who have never served a day in their lives can actually be responsible for sending young men and women to fight wars. I would love to see one of these Washington Congressmen go over there with no security entourage. Get your weapon and Battle Rattle and roll out on a convoy. Yeah right! Peter, the average kid that goes into the military does so for reasons outside of wanting to go to war. I joined because I was on the wrong side of a line financially for college aid. Does that make my time less patriotic? My point is, yeah sure it's a possibility that you can go to war, but that doesn't justify the idiots that are running it! The stay in becasue they offer these kids 10k while they are down range to re-up. 10k to a 21 year old is a bit of money and since most of these kids are coming from low income homes (like me) GIDDY UP! Yes it's still there choice and that's why the Armed Service have been pumping up their incentive programs. Hell, I would go back in as an officer now, if I wasn't such a fatty! :-) We are there now, so my question is this. What is it going to take to finish it? Why the hell are we playing so nicey nice? We keep trying to spread Democracy, but all we get is corrupt goverments. Hmmmm...wait a minute...that sounds just like the US. Hooray we won! Here's my history lesson: Reagan = focused on the Cold War, created little monsters Bush 1.0 = strong on defense, smart in not occupying, but sucky domestic policies Clinton = too soft on defense, but could balance a budget! Bush = Strong on Defense, soft in the head. Seriously Obama = Doesn't have a clue how to fix this. Anyone wants to argue with me that he does? Please let's go for it, but show me.
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Phil: I find it disgusting that people who have never served a day in their lives can actually be responsible for sending young men and women to fight wars. " That has always bothered me too. Check this out: 26 US Senators were ever in the military at all (that number is still the same, Ted Kennedy passed away, but Scott Brown is a veteran) only 7 saw any combat. http://www.vietvet.org/senatevet.htm 122 Representatives were ever in the military ( As of Jan.,2009 don't think that's still accurate, John Murtha has passed away and wierdo Eric Massa, (yeah, yeah Navy guy, I know) is gone, maybe more I haven't kept up). http://www.vietvet.org/housevet.htm
Thanks Dave! The last US President that ever saw Combat time: George H.W.Bush in WWII!
bud prevost
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We need to bring home every last service member from both wars, as well as all the troops deployed around the world in over 180 countries. Let us secure our borders, militarize security at our nations airports and transit centers, and utilize our soldiers in rebuilding the infrastructure of America. I would much prefer to see the billion and billions being spent on bridges and roads in foreign nations spent on our aging,deteriorating road and rail system. The days of USA being the police for the world have come and gone. We need to take care of our own backyard, not a rockpile on the other side of the world.
kevin kretschmer
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Combat experience is hardly a qualifier for the makings of a good President. Do Ulysses S. Grant or Andrew Jackson ring any bells?
Bea McManis
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As you read down this list, which Presidents do you really admire for their military service. Many of you who look to military service as a integral qualification for the highest office, also believe that Reagan was the best president ever. He was banned from combat due to poor eyesight. What credentials did his military service give toward his role as President? General of the Armies of the United States Virginia militia, Continental Army, United States Army George Washington French and Indian War, Revolutionary War Served in the Virginia militia (1752–1758), attaining the rank of colonel; served as commander in chief of the Continental Army (1775–1783) during the Revolutionary War, with the rank of "General and Commander in Chief." Washington was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army at his death. In 1976, then-president Gerald R. Ford posthumously appointed Washington as General of the Armies of the United States and specified that he would forever rank above all officers of the Army, past, present and future. General of the Army United States Army (Regular army) Dwight D. Eisenhower Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion of Europe, primarily the Battles for Normandy, France and Germany World War II. Attended West Point; served 1915–1952. Served stateside during World War I and as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II. General United States Army (Regular Army) Ulysses S. Grant Yes, Mexican-American War and Civil War Attended West Point; first Lieutenant General since Washington, appointed as four-star General of the Army in 1866. Major General North Carolina militia, Tennessee militia, United States Army Andrew Jackson Revolutionary War, Creek War, War of 1812, First Seminole War. Served at age 13 as a militia messenger during the Revolutionary War; was captured, becoming the only President to have been held as a prisoner of war (Washington had surrendered in the French and Indian War but was immediately paroled); served in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of major general and became a national hero after his success at the Battle of New Orleans. United States Army William H. Harrison Northwest Indian War, War of 1812 Dates of service: 1791–1798, 1812–1814. Became national hero after success at the Battle of the Thames. Zachary Taylor War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, and Mexican-American War, Became a national hero because of his achievements in the Mexican-American War. Brevet Major General of Volunteers United States Army (volunteers) Rutherford B. Hayes Civil War Successful leadership in Virginia/West Virginia region; wounded at the Battle of South Mountain Major General of Volunteers James A. Garfield His heroic ride at the Battle of Chickamauga later helped him to be elected President. Brigadier General of Volunteers United States Army (State militia, New Hampshire) Franklin Pierce Mexican-American War Enlisted as Private Brigadier General of Volunteers United States Army Andrew Johnson appointed Military Governor of Tennessee during Civil War with rank of Brigadier General None Quartermaster General New York State militia Chester A. Arthur non-combatant service only during Civil War Quartermaster’s Corps. Dates of service: 1860–1862. As a state quartermaster, he could not be mustered into Federal service. Brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers United States Army (State militia, Indiana) Benjamin Harrison Civil War Battle of Perryville Atlanta Campaign Battle of Nashville Colonel Virginia militia, Albemarle County Thomas Jefferson Like other Virginia gentlemen, he had militia duties, and did administrative work Virginia militia, Orange County James Madison No, but served between 1775-1781 during the Revolutionary War. Left militia to enter Virginia legislature. (Some sources claim Madison briefly assumed command of an artillery battery during the British assault on Washington during the War of 1812. If true, he would join Washington (Whiskey Rebellion) as having seen military service as commander-in-chief.) State militia, Tennessee James K. Polk Served 1821 United States Army (State militia, New York National Guard, 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment aka the Rough Riders). Theodore Roosevelt Spanish American War Famous for charge up San Juan Hill. Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. As ex-president, volunteered for service in World War I, but President Wilson declined. United States Army (National Army) Harry S. Truman World War I Served 1905–1911, then in World War I, 129th Field Artillery (1917–1919), Army Reserves (1919–1953) 18 Commander United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Lyndon B. Johnson World War II Awarded Silver Star medal by General Douglas MacArthur for his role as an observer on a B-26 bomber mission 18 Commander United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Richard Nixon World War II Served 1942–1945 on various islands in the South Pacific and Commanded SCAT units in the South Pacific. Major Continental Army, Virginia State Troops James Monroe Revolutionary War Dates of service: 1776–1779. Crossed the Delaware River with Washington (he's holding the flag in the famous painting); wounded in the Battle of Trenton. As Secretary of State during the War of 1812, scouted and deployed troops during the British invasion of Washington. Brevet Major of Volunteers United States Army (Volunteers) William McKinley Civil War Served in the Army of the Potomac, originally with the 23rd Ohio Infantry same as President Rutherford B. Hayes. First major engagement in West Virginia in 1861 and was present at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia. Lieutenant Commander United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Gerald Ford World War II Years of service: 1942–1946. Served on USS Monterey. Earned 10 battle stars. Major Union Continentals (home guard) Millard Fillmore Civil War Years of service: 1861 (after departure from Presidency) Captain State militia, Virginia. John Tyler War of 1812 Raised a company for the defense of Richmond in 1813 Captain State militia, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln served during Black Hawk War, did not see combat, only burying the dead shortly after battles ended. Elected to the rank of Captain, re-enlisted as a private. Honorably discharged without seeing combat. Lieutenant United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) John F. Kennedy World War II Commanded a PT boat. Earned Purple Heart and Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism in the PT-109 Incident. Lieutenant United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Jimmy Carter[13][14] was a midshipman during World War II, served during Korean War, but never sent to Korea Years of service: 1946–1953. Graduated 59th in class of 1946 out of 820, United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Submarine service (Nuclear Specialist) Captain United States Army (U.S. Army Reserve) Ronald Reagan served during World War II but was not deployed. Served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve; served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, attaining the rank of captain. Was barred from combat because of poor eyesight. Narrated pre-flight training films under the Army Air Forces Motion Picture Unit. Lieutenant, Junior Grade United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) George H. W. Bush[15] World War II Youngest pilot in the United States Navy during World War II (age 19). Earned Distinguished Flying Cross. 29 First Lieutenant United States Air Force (State militia, Texas Air National Guard) George W. Bush No, served during the Vietnam War but did not see combat. He performed Guard duty as an F-102 pilot through April 1972, logging a total of 336 flight hours. Served as President during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Operation Iraq Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom Private United States Army (State militia, Pennsylvania) James Buchanan War of 1812 Only President who enlisted without going on to become an officer Did not serve in uniform John Adams None. Adams served as chairman of the Continental Congress's Board of War (1776-1777), making him the simultaneous equivalent of today's Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee. John Quincy Adams None. Martin Van Buren None. Grover Cleveland None. He was drafted during the Civil War, but paid $150 for a substitute (a legal option under the terms of the Conscription Act of 1863, and his substitute survived the war). William H. Taft None. He was Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt from 1904 to 1908. Woodrow Wilson None. He served as President during World War I. Warren G. Harding None. Calvin Coolidge None. Herbert Hoover None. He served in a private (civilian) humanitarian capacity in Europe during World War I. However, he was involved in the Siege of Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion. Franklin D. Roosevelt None. He attempted to join the Navy during the Spanish American War but was unable as he contracted measles. Served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913 and through World War I; when the U.S. entered the war in 1917 he offered his resignation so that he could apply for a commission in the Navy, but was refused by the President. Witnessed fighting in World War I. In a post World War I publication "Harvard in the War" he is listed among the Harvard's contributors to World War I effort. He served as President during World War II. Bill Clinton None. He received a draft deferment to avoid service in the Vietnam War. Barack Obama None. Currently serving as President during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Operation Iraq Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF). References 1.^ wikisource:Public Law 94-479 2.^ wikisource:Order 31-3 Department of the Army Order Number 31-3 of 13 March 1978 3.^ "Military Personnel File of Harry S. Truman". Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hstpaper/rg407.htm. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 4.^ American Warriors Home Page 5.^ Commander Lyndon B. Johnson, USNR from the Naval Historical Center 6.^ Caro, Robert. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0394499735. "The most you can say about Lyndon Johnson and his Silver Star is that it is surely one of the most undeserved Silver Stars in history, because if you accept everything that he said, he was still in action for no more than 13 minutes and only as an observer. Men who flew many missions, brave men, never got a Silver Star." 7.^ Tillman, Barrett and Sakaida, Henry. "LBJ’s Silver Star: The Mission That Never Was". b-26marauderarchive.org. http://www.b-26marauderarchive.org/ms/MS1709/MS1709.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-22. "The fact is LBJ never got within sight of Japanese forces." 8.^ Commander Richard M. Nixon, USNR from the Naval Historical Center 9.^ CNN.com Specials 10.^ Lieutenant Commander Gerald R. Ford, USNR from the Naval Historical Center 11.^ The American Presidency 12.^ Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, USN from the Naval Historical Center 13.^ Jimmy Carter's Naval Service record from the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum 14.^ Lieutenant James Earle Carter, Jr., USN from the Naval Historical Center 15.^ Lieutenant Junior Grade George Bush, USNR from the Naval Historical Center Military Service of the Presidents from Smithsonian National Museum of American History Presidents - Other Service and Contributions
Dave Olsen
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Bea & Kevin; I don't get your points any more than you got you mine obviously. My point is that there are people in the Congress making decisions about sending people off to war, and funding or de-funding wars who have no clue about what they're doing. Many of them found ways to avoid service or couldn't be bothered when they were young. I didn't write anything whatsoever about Ronald Reagan, Chester A. Arthur or James Monroe et al. Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew Jackson were before my time, although my kids will probably disagree.
Bea McManis
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Good comment, Dave. The point is that military service, let alone combat service shouldn't be part of the criteria for POTUS. Phil, I believe, challenged anyone to prove why Obama was qualified since he did not serve. My point is many POTUS have served, but their service did not always convert to making them good presidents. I don't believe our comments were addressed to you, per se. The same goes for our senators and representatives. We have some (and had some) who were very savvy on military matters, not all. However, these are the people we elected and it is their job to make the decisions. Isn't that what we are told? During the Iraq war, many complained when the GOP held the majority, and the war escalated costing many lives as well as dollars. Were those people any more qualified to make the decisions of which you speak?
Howard B. Owens
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It doesn't matter whether the presidential candidate has served in the military or not. What matters is mindset. Do you believe in getting troops involved in foreign conflicts, or do you believe in keeping troops on our own shore to serve only the single purpose of protecting us from direct attack. The key advantage of a non-military man in the White House is that the military is supposed to be under civilian control.
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It matters to me. Some Presidents are good ones, some are not. If a man can't see the reason for stepping up and offering a few years to his country, ungrateful though it may be, how can we expect him to really understand what he is committing Americans to? McCain called for young people to "be a part of something bigger than yourselves", he was right. Would he have made a good President? We'll never know. To answer your last question, Bea; No the people who got us into the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were unqualified to make those decisions, Bush had some military background, albeit the Texas Playboy Air Force, but it has come out since that he relied a lot on ideologues like Cheney, Wolfowitz and Rice who had none. I don't speak for Phil, but he said nothing about Obama's lack of military experience, I'll say it, he has none and that makes his decisions regarding wars suspect to me. By the way, Clinton was a draft-dodger and Bush the 2nd didn't complete his Air National Guard commitment, both should have been disqualified to be inaugurated. My opinion, not a copy & paste from anywhere.
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Dave, Let me get this clear. The only people who should hold the office of President are those who have a military background? If the founding fathers found that to be so, then why didn't they write that into the Constitution? Perhaps they didn't want this country to be under military rule. If you look at the record you can see that congress has been very careful when they declare war. For the United States, Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution says "Congress shall have power to ... declare War". Did you know that congress has only declared war five times? The War of 1812 Mexican/American War Spanish/American War World War 1 World War 2 In other instances, the United States has engaged in extended military combat that were authorized by Congress, but short of a formal declaration of war. Quasi-War against France in 1798 First Barbary War Second Barbary War Enforcing 1808 Slave Trade Ban Redress for attack on U.S. Navy Vessel (Paraguay) 1859 Intervention during the Russian Civil War 1918 Lebanon Crisis of 1958 Vietnam War Multinational Force in Lebanon Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) 2001 War in Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) Iran War (also known as Operation Iraqi Freedom) On at least 125 occasions, the President has acted without prior express military authorization from Congress. These include instances in which the United States fought in Korea in 1950 Philippine-American War from 1898-1903 Nicaragua in 1927. The United States' longest war was fought between approximately 1840 and 1886 against the Apache Nation. During that entire 46-year period, there were never more than 90 days of peace. The Indian Wars comprise at least 28 conflicts and engagements. These began with Europeans immigration to North America, long before the establishment of the United States. They begin as one front in the American Revolutionary War in 1775 and are generally agreed upon as concluding with the surrender of the Apache chief Geronimo in 1886. see: The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 reported by James Madison : August 17,The Avalon Project, Yale Law School, retrieved 13 Feb 2008 BBC News, On This Day Whereas the Government of Germany has formally declared war against the government and the people of the United States of America... the state of war between the United States and the Government of Germany which has thus been thrust upon the United States is hereby formally declared.The War Resolution THE PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO CONDUCT MILITARY OPERATIONS AGAINST TERRORISTS AND NATIONS SUPPORTING THEM
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"Let me get this clear. The only people who should hold the office of President are those who have a military background?" Yes. I thought I was clear.
Posted by Bea McManis on April 12, 2010 - 8:56pm Good comment, Dave. The point is that military service, let alone combat service shouldn't be part of the criteria for POTUS. Phil, I believe, challenged anyone to prove why Obama was qualified since he did not serve. That is not what I said in the slightest. I said Obama has no clue how to fix this situation. I asked for those who disagreed to show me. I made no comment about his military past or lack there of or if that qualifies him or not. What I did state and do believe is that I don't believe that those who would send our young men and women off to war don't understand the first thing about it or are willing to do it themselves. I was referring to a comment about congress.
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Phil, I stand corrected.

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