LETTER: What President Obama's speech on Afghanistan didn't say

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 | 5:58 p.m. CDT

The following are points not covered in President Obama's recent speech on Afghanistan. Information is based off a June 23 Veterans for Peace statement.

  • The U.S. now has nearly 100,000 troops, 100,000 mercenaries/contractors and some 50,000 additional NATO forces under its command in that country.
  • By the end of next year, after the "big drawdown," the U.S. will have nearly twice as many troops there as were present when Obama took office, and nothing was said about how many mercenaries will be used to continue the war.
  • To date, the war has cost $426 billion, and no mention was was made of reducing the $118 billion war expenditures included in pending budget legislation.
  • Since 2001, 1,633 U.S. troops have been killed, including 187 this year. An additional 12,000 soldiers have been wounded in action.
  • Polls now indicate that 64 percent of the U.S. public oppose the war. However, when a reporter asked the president about such opposition, he replied that public opinion "really doesn't play a role" in his decision making.
  • At one point, he said, "... The light of a secure peace can be seen." That statement is very similar to U.S. General William Westmoreland's 1967 "light at the end of the tunnel" statement regarding Vietnam. It took eight additional years of killing before that tunnel fully collapsed.

Now is the time to stop all the killing.

Bill Wickersham lives in Columbia.

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Tony Robertson June 28, 2011 | 10:57 p.m.

I, too, would like to see all the killing stopped. But let's not be naive here - American withdrawal, whether rapid or gradual, will not "stop all the killing." It is an unfortunate irony that following thru on "end the war" can sometimes accelerate the killing. Ask a Cambodian, Laotian, or South Vietnamese about that.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 29, 2011 | 10:02 a.m.

Tony, I don't believe you spend a lot of time talking with the Cambodians, Laotians, or the South Vietnamese. I also fail to believe that you would give any weight to their opinions, especially if theirs was not in agreement with your own. It is most irresponsible to pretend to speak for those for which you have no regard.

(Report Comment)
Tony Robertson June 29, 2011 | 12:51 p.m.

I don't claim to speak for them. Neither do I choose to ignore them. I hold them in high regard. Can the same be said for the American anti-war left, some 30 to 40 years on?

Kudos to you on your misguided presumptions about me. As ill-founded as they are, they are well-worded, at least.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 29, 2011 | 2:15 p.m.

It is fair to assume that, for the most part, the casualties have subsided in Vietnam. I remember an estimate of three million dead during the time that this country was involved in the affairs of that country, which is an amazing amount, given it's relatively small size. The number of casualties would have been much less had the conflict taken place without our intervention. Clearly our involvement was not intended to benefit that country as much as it was to benefit this one. The same can be said for Afghanistan. Therefore I will discount any attempt to assert that those who were opposed to the wars behaved in a manner that was less responsible than those who advocated them.

(Report Comment)
Tony Robertson June 29, 2011 | 10:40 p.m.

The facts are, that the pullout of all US combat troops in 1972 did not stop all the killing. The Paris accords did not stop all the killing. The fall of Saigon, Phnom Penh, and Vientiane to the communists, did not stop all the killing. The killing in Indochina probably accelerated considerably more in the five year period after the Paris accords, than the five year period between Tet and Paris. Not to mention all those imprisoned, tortured, and made into refugees, up to 1979-80.

Regarding refugee traffic, it was pretty much all one way - out of Indochina, with many coming here.

The anti-war left in this country should not be considered less responsible for these facts. Facts are stubborn things.

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 30, 2011 | 8:55 a.m.

Why yes they are!!! What a shame that we don't know hardly any of them. In looking for some good data I accidentally ran across this. I was going to dismiss it out of hand at first, but then I found a pdf link near the bottom of the article that led me to a government prepared summary of dead and injured. Even I can decipher the actual story about the said 4000+ dead service members from IRAQ. Can you?

The link includes sensationalism

look through that and find this as it is government document which shows an actuality that is quite different than which has been reported to you by a SLOPPY STUPID * news media.
pdf file on viewzone

It is posted right below this, which unsurprisingly does not work...

(Report Comment)
Paul Allaire June 30, 2011 | 9:07 a.m.

And this is even more interesting...

Thanks for getting me started...

(Report Comment)

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