Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Money For War...We're Not Broke After All!

On October 7, 2001 United States military forces invaded Afghanistan.  The alleged purpose of this military action was to root out and kill those responsible for the attacks on September 11.  Somewhere along the way the mission changed from hunting down and killing bad guys to nation building and the democratization of a country still living in the fourth century.  2,193 lives have been lost and over $700 billion spent to extract revenge and prop up a government awash in corruption. 
A war weary nation gave a collective sigh of relief when the president announced that the US would end military operations by December 31, 2014. America’s longest war was finally ending. 
Or was it? 
Today we learn that the war in Afghanistan will continue…until 2024…”and beyond.”
The increase in violent uprisings throughout the country has made it clear that US trained Afghan forces are not ready to defend the government against Al Qaida and Taliban insurgents.
NBC NEWS has obtained a document that outlines an agreement between the United States and the Afghan government for US forces to remain in country through 2024 “and beyond.”  The agreement is open ended but allows either party to terminate the accord upon giving written notice.
Negotiations are still underway.  The US wants to maintain key military outposts along with 10,000 troops to provide force protection and conduct offensive operations.  The Afghan government would prefer 7,000 troops restricted to a more defensive posture.  But a key sticking point, that the US government would maintain exclusive legal jurisdiction over US military and civilian personnel, has been granted by the Karzai government.  It was Iraq’s refusal to grant similar legal protections for US forces that sent American troops packing.
If an agreement is reached, it will cost US taxpayers billions in treasure not to mention the damage to American families facing multiple deployments.
Let’s take a moment to put this agreement into perspective.
Secretary of State Kerry is negotiating an agreement to prop up a corrupt regime that will cost taxpayers billions over the coming decade(s).  Meanwhile Democrats and Republicans are trying to reach a budget deal that addresses our $17 trillion dollar debt and near $1 trillion dollar annual deficit.  We have $80 trillion…yes trillion, in unfunded obligations over the next ten years.  The country is already reeling under the sequestration cuts that have rolled back billions in social safety net programs on which millions of Americans depend.  Another government shutdown over our continued fiscal difficulties looms large. 
Yet here we are on the verge of dumping billions more down the Afghanistan black hole.  Too what end?
If we can’t afford to feed, clothe and care for our own here at home…what in the hell are we doing spending billions to prop up a corrupt government overseas?
America’s longest war continues.  Evidently we’re not broke after all.                

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