Archive for March, 2012

“Karzai Insisting On U.S. Pullback To Bases By 2013” (TIMES, 3/16/12)

March 19, 2012

     Yes, for once I agree with Hamid Karzai!  There is no good reason to keep wallowing in the quagmire of Afghanistan until 12/31/14.

     In the last year, “only one of the Afghan National Army’s 158 battalions has been rated as able to fight independently.”  ONE battalion ready out of 158!  At that rate, there will be FOUR ready by 12/31/14, and they want 158.

     If it was not an election year, we could have all our people out of Afghanistan by the end of THIS YEAR.  Certainly, by 6/30/13, it can happen.

     President Obama, not Secretary of Defense Panetta, is the commander-in-chief of the US  armed forces.  Surely, after he is re-elected, he can bring our troops home by June 2013!

     A. Garavente

“Officials In U>S> Debate Speeding Afghan Pullout” (TIMES, 3/13/12)

March 19, 2012

     And I thought the “officials” had already moved up the pullout date to 6/30/13!  Guilty of wishful thinking, I guess.  Yet, it is still hard to believe that the bulk of the 90,000 U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan until 12/31/14.

     If the main fighting season in Afghanistan is from spring to fall, why can’t the troops be withdrawn by the end of this year?  Surely, after all the talk about withdrawing from that quagmire, the commanders of our troops can make a safe withdrawal in nine and a half months?

     It being an election year should not be an excuse for delay; the government has to stay open for business.  Obama is the commander-in-chief now, so he cannot shut down his office in order to campaign for a second term.

     Moreover, he has to be careful that the opinions of his “commanders” not be given more weight than those of his civilian advisers.  Though the U.S. is a long way from being governed by the military, as Japan was from 1931 to 1945, too many senior officers are moving into governing positions.

     A. Garavente

“What Greece Means” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 3/12/12)

March 12, 2012

          Once again Paul Krugman is warning us about the folly of imposing austerity in a depressed economy, but are the powers that be listening?

          Herbert Hoover was guided by that strategy when the economy collapsed in October 1929 and the United States suffered the worst depression in its history.

          As Krugman so clearly stated it: “trying to eliminate deficits once you’re already in trouble is a recipe for disaster.”

          What would help the economy right now is a massive federal jobs program. It would act like a blood transfusion would to a wounded soldier.

A. Garavente

“Intractable Afghan Graft Hampering U.S. Strategy” (TIMES, 3/8/12)

March 12, 2012

          Do we need anymore evidence that the situation in Afghanistan is hopeless? What we have in that sorry country is a QUAGMIRE! Nothing much has been accomplished to meet the goals our leaders set for us, however they are viewed by various people to the right or left of this issue. Contrary to the boast of Donald Rumsfeld, a quagmire is what he gave us.

          THEREFORE, the time has come to terminate the venture. If it was not an election year, we could probably have our troops out of there in six months (i.e., by 9/30/12). Unfortunately, it is unlikely that President Obama, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, will advocate such a move. The irresponsible four stooges vying for the Republican presidential nomination  would howl like banshees and loudly accuse him of surrendering.

          However, it does seem like the majority of Americans  would support such a sensible decision. Moreover, after the screeching of the four GOP pipsqueak candidates is over, they will not have a better solution to this problem. Maybe, Ron Paul, who has opposed this war in the past, might add his voice in support of a safe removal of the troops, but who knows for sure?

          In any case, if Obama does it right and convenes a meeting with all those in charge of the Afghanistan question, he could address the nation via television the way FDR used the radio, and tell the American people the whole truth about this disaster, then we could probably be out of there a full two months before the election.

          I guess it is a question of Obama wanting to be right or wanting to be president.

A. Garavente

“U.S.-Afghanistan Talks Falter…” by Alissa J. Rubin (TIMES, 3/5/12)

March 6, 2012

     Hasn’t the U.S. “withdrawal deadline” from Afghanistan been moved up to 6/30/13?  Recent articles in the TIMES have reported that information.  Doesn’t Alissa J. Rubin read her own newspaper?

     Alas, the fact that differences have hardened between the United States and Afghanistan (“longtime, if always wary, allies”) should come as no surprise to your readers!

     Now that it is clear that the U.S. is pulling out of Afghanistan, it should be facilitated ASAP.  Trying to do otherwise in the hope of leaving a stable situation in place when the withdrawal is finally concluded, is wishful thinking.

     A. Garavente