Pointless war is draining funds, risking security

NPP Pressroom

Buffalo News
Tom Vrabel

We often hear in American political rhetoric that the war in Iraq is unjust, but that Afghanistan is the "good war." It is important that we, as a nation, become aware that this is a false claim and that the war in Afghanistan has detrimental effects on Afghan civilian populations. It is not worth American taxpayers' dollars and is threatening the safety of our nation. President Obama should move toward a timetable for withdrawal of troops and reject the recent request to increase troops by 40,000. Although it may seem tempting to send more troops to the region in an attempt to stabilize it, this would not improve the situation. Afghanistan has a history of resisting foreign occupiers. During the Soviet-Afghan war the Soviets deployed nearly 500,000 troops into Afghanistan. After 10 years of a bloody war, the Soviets were forced to withdraw troops. This reinforces the idea that we cannot solve the problem in Afghanistan through military means. Afghanistan has gained the nickname "the graveyard of empires" for a reason; over its history it has shown that it cannot be conquered by force. It is at this crucial time in history that our policy on Afghanistan should be reconsidered, and we must realize that this war only empowers the Taliban. The Taliban gets considerable membership from people who have seen their houses bombed or friends die in the war. If one of America's major concerns is to dismantle the Taliban, then we cannot forget how the Taliban gained power in the mid 1990s, by promising to end the violent power struggle between the U. S-funded Mujahedeen and other warlords. According to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, "The mere presence of foreign soldiers fighting a war in Afghanistan is probably the single most important factor in the resurgence of the Taliban." U. S. support in Afghanistan is being hindered severely by the occupation. In fact, according to a poll done by ABC News in 2005, 83 percent of Afghans had a favorable view of America but by 2009 this number was 47 percent. As America enters the debate on health care reform, we need to also reconsider how we spend our money. According to the National Priorities Project, the United States is spending more than $60 billion on military operations in Afghanistan in 2009 alone. As the number of troops increases, so will the amount of money we spend. According to the same report, the country could have used this money to provide 50 million citizens with health care. October was the deadliest month in Afghanistan. Now is the time to end this war. I encourage people to call their representatives in Congress and urge them to introduce companion legislation to Rep. James McGovern's H. R. 2404, which calls for a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan. The occupation must end now, not just for the United States but for the sake of global security as well.