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We have been in Afghanistan since 2001!!! I want anyone to tell me why we are still there?!? What are the victory conditions? What Strategic value does a continual war in Afghanistan serve? I would say none. We could withdraw tomorrow and it would be okay with me. We have wore out our armed forces. I don't even know what the victory conditions are and I don't think it really matters at this point. Long protracted wars do not serve anybodies purpose. I have friends looking at the their third tour.
Chris the Peace loving conservative

Jeff Mariotte

My new theory, which I just made up, is that we need to redefine "victory." We no longer seem to be fighting wars against states, or against cohesive forces that can surrender or be surrendered to. Instead, we're fighting against populations, who may or may not be the citizens of the battleground country. How does anyone win a war like that? When the other side goes back into their houses and quits fighting? I'm not sure that ever entirely happens. In Iraq we overthrew Saddam Hussein and beat his army, so that's a victory of a sort, but whatever our real goals there were, I'm not sure they were met. Overthrowing Hussein--the most powerful secular leader in the Middle East--was also one of bin Laden's goals, and our presence there created thousands of new terrorists. The price the Afghanistan effort paid because of our Iraq focus was a high one--although I'm not sure that "victory" there is any more possible. I don't get how McCain can say we won and came home on the basis of conditions on the ground, but if he is that deluded, maybe he can delude himself into supporting a withdrawal from Afghanistan, too.


Victory in any war has to be defined not by the Military but by the Civilian Governement Leadership.

Years Ago!!!


I would propose to you that setting the victory conditions to "punish" the 9/11 attackers has probably been met...again 9 years ago!

Bring to Justice the attackers was another victory condition..One that is virtually impossible to meet.



In 2003 When the President made a decision based on recommendations from his advisors I supported that decision but...that was 7 years ago
I have since wondered how we went from hunting wmd's to freeing Iraq to I am glad we have moved away from Iraq ( but still are involved there).


I refuse to defend the indefensible


Chris the Peaceloving Conservative

Jeff Mariotte

We're pretty much completely in agreement on this one. Sometimes wars are necessary (and sometimes not), but you should know the end game before you go in.


For a while there, the Bush Administration was trying to make a distinction which they eventually drifted away from...that the "war" ended with a conclusive Coalition of the Willing victory on April 30, 2003 (we all recall 'Mission Accomplished', don't we?), and that what came afterward was the "insurgency", an entirely different military situation. But when even Fox News seemed reluctant to play along with those semantics, everything just sort of merged into "the war", and thus it remains. But it sounds now as if Sen. McCain is trying to draw those sharp lines again.


I still find it amusing that the Bush Presidential Library is not sure what to do with the "Mission Accomplished" banner. They have it, but are not sure if displaying it is a good idea.

Mike Gold

Funny you should mention the wars after WWII. Just today, we received word that three more American soldiers died in Korea.

You remember the Korean war. It started five weeks before I was born. And I turned 60 this past August.

Doesn't bode well for getting out of Afghanistan, does it? And if we won the war in Iraq (and I'm allowing for the possibility that McCain thought we won a prize and not the war), then why are we still there?

And when do we get to leave Germany? When the Commies go away? Hello!

Jeff Mariotte

The trouble with McCain is that, ten minutes earlier, he might have said that we were handed a humiliating defeat in Iraq, and believed it just as much as he believed the exact opposite minutes later.  He flip-flops more than a freshly caught bigmouth bass--and then gets testy when this is pointed out.  But he seems to have no deeply held beliefs at all--or maybe more accurately, he does have them, they just aren't necessarily going to be the same beliefs he had last time anyone checked.


What's craziest of all about the Korean shelling today is that it was apparently just a "cry for attention" from the North. And Mike, would you believe the Korean War never actually ended? Shooting halted with a cease fire in '53, but a peace agreement was never signed, so technically the UN is still at war with North Korea.


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Dennis Moroney

Are soldiers a political tool of elected representatives? What is defensive about our role in Iraq, or Afghanistan? This military activity is a HUGE drag on the economy, and John McCain has been on a government payroll of some kind for most of his life. I liked him better when he was championing campaign finance reform, and hanging with FAT Teddy. I liked the military better when we were wondering how to spend the peace dividend. Why not spend our diplomatic and political capital working with our next door neighbor, Mexico to bring economic and social justice to it's people? After all, it is the 11th richest country in the world, and a petroleum exporter. Now that we've upset the uneasy balance between Iran and Iraq, borrowed everything but the kitchen sink from China, bankrupted the EU, and run up the largest deficit in history, wouldn't it be prudent to think local and learn to live within our means? I'd rather spend the money on researching a sustainable economy, ending teen pregnancy, emptying the prisons of non violent offenders, and helping young Americans develop the skills to make their own jobs. What about revamping our public education system to promote the development of critical thinking skills, and investing in restoration of our degraded watersheds, forests and farms? How about some viable energy alternatives? How about designing and building a car that gets 100 mpg and costs $2500. Why spend billions to "dronestrike" wedding parties in a medieval tribal state half way around the globe from here? Just wondering, from my seat in the land of the free and the home of the brave......

Jeff Mariotte

Dennis, we're pretty much in agreement on those points. Not only have our military adventures in the Middle East been expensive, but by not factoring them into the budget, the previous administration drove the deficit sky-high. It's astonishing how many Tea Party types blame the deficit on the current administration--which, admittedly, did add to it, but has more recently been cutting it--as if the previous eight years didn't exist.

I wish I knew how we could help the economy of Mexico. They need to diversify, to move beyond just oil, drugs, and remittances from the US, and until they do (and their whole population is allowed to share in the bounty) our illegal immigration situation will change only be degrees, but not in any substantial way. It's in the best interests of our nation to
help them succeed--I'm just not sure what we can do that would be impactful, and I can imagine the outcry from the far right if we tried.

Mike Gold

Shiai, I'm aware that the Korean War never truly ended, thus stiffing its veterans all the more. But I wonder if it gets hot again, would we be in the 60th year of the war?

It should be remembered that the first North Korean president, Kim Il-sung, was our ally during World War II and helped defeat the Japanese army, restoring Korea to independence.

As history has shown us, we sure can pick 'em.

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