Have the events of this week weakened the resolve of the forces to fight on in Afghanistan ?

““I’d say morale’s at an all-time low – mostly because of Afghanistan now, nobody knows why we are at either place, and I believe the troops need to know why they are there, or we should pull out, and this is a unanimous feeling, even for folks who are pro-war.”
Fort Hood soldier.

fort hood welcomeThere was only one talking point today – the shootings at Fort Hood.

At the meeting we talked about some of the things you are talking about ; starting with morale.

We wondered how somebody about to start a tour of duty in Afghanistan would be feeling right now.

Somebody said they are professional soldiers – no-one is being conscripted, that’s just the way it goes and sometimes, horrible things happen.  

anonymous soldierOthers thought the central issue was stress, and that perhaps the governments concerned were asking too much of their troops.

There was a suggestion that we restrict the programme to hearing from soldiers and their families only.

Ros suggested there may be a law of diminishing returnes when it comes to long conflicts.

hasan killerHeba, Ros and Krupa sais there’s been a lot of online chat about a possible – possible – “Muslim backlash” and Heba cited this Huffington Post article., which talks of Muslim groups “bracing” for a “wave of anger”.

Here’s a good blog on how the story was covered.

Some or all of these discussions may or may not interest you….we’ll try to reflect the ones you do think are relevant on today’s show.

50 Responses to “Have the events of this week weakened the resolve of the forces to fight on in Afghanistan ?”

  1. 1 Ros Atkins
    November 6, 2009 at 14:10

    Ahead of the show, I sometimes write up a list of questions which represent what people are talking about online. Here’s what i’ve got for today.

    – It seems clear that the attacker at Fort Hood didn’t want to go Iraq. We don’t know his reasons, but are more and more US soldiers unconvinced by the reasons to be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    – If your country’s troops are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, do feel your support for their mission is decreasing?

    – Is the Fort Hood attacker’s Muslim faith in any way relevant?

    – Do attacks that come from colleagues (the Afghan ‘policeman’ who attacked British troops, Major Nidal Malik Hasae in Fort Hood) have more of an impact on soldiers’ morale than regular hostile activity?

    – Is there a period of time after which it becomes very hard to maintain morale in a conflict? (Several of you have pointed out that Afghanistan has gone on years longer than the Second World War.)

    – Are serving soldiers affected by the continual debate about whether their mission is justified and can be achieved?

    – Do you fear a war without end in Afghanistan?

    • 2 Najibullah Noorzai
      November 7, 2009 at 05:34

      Dear all,

      It has been a very bad news for the whole world not only to USA but here in Afghanistan- every one is unhappy about that news. It is not relevant to relate his faith with this action because such action takes place occasionally in everywhere and even in USA recently many incident happened where shooter were not Muslim.

      So I would request International Community and all people in the world not to relate his faith with this action because there are alot of other Muslims who are very committed to their action with best of faith who works in Europe, US, everywhere but if we are going to relate such actions with his religion then the outcome will be bad and we might withness similar actions in future not only by muslim minorities but by other religions also.

      At last it is very important for everyone to know that all Muslims are not Terrorists and I am sure this Major is also not a Terrorist but it might be an action of Sentiment. So Labeling such Words with Muslims are having very bad repercussions in future.

  2. 3 seaAdamwestiii
    November 6, 2009 at 14:15

    Certainly a sad event took place at Ft Hood and my condolences to families and friends of relatives. The Major was being deployed to Afghanistan and not Iraq. What was his motive is yet unknown.

    In my opinion troops should be withdrawn from Afghanistan, let the Afghan Govt and their people be responsible for what happens in Afghanistan. There was a interview conducted where the 4 hour fight took place between US & Taliban. The village people spoke out stating they hated the Taliban and they wanted US & foreign troops out of their country. If this was only the opinion of one village, what is the opinion of other people from different villages. Women are being oppressed as a result of the situation in Afghanistan today. What is the benefit of the US & allies to remain in country? How many more innocent people must die?

  3. November 6, 2009 at 14:33

    In the end, governments don’t fight wars, soldiers do. The resignation of Hoh from his post last week, the murders of British soldiers by an Afghan policeman, and the murders committed by Major Hasae at Fort Hood, when added together, begin to form a critical mass that focuses on the soldiers (and the public) rather than government think tanks. 1) I think being purposefully fired on by one’s own is unnerving, supports paranoia within the ranks, and works to knock the legs from under an army’s resolve. 2) The greatest liability of an army in a democracy is public opinion; al-Qauida/the Taliband can save their bullets in Afghanistan by demoralizing the folks at home (and the soldiers’ trust of their comrades in the field). 3) Whether we are being manipulated by a clever enemy, or being hit between the eyes with reality, we are now debating the debate that has hung over our heads since Iraq; why are we chancing our future economic and social well-being in a war with an enemy that has no nationhood? I, for one, during this past week have decided a war of armies against a guerrilla force using religion as its mantra is ill-conceived. Bring our armies home and invent a mode of fighting that better confronts this enemy.

  4. November 6, 2009 at 14:35

    There never was “resolve” in Afghanistan. There was simply profit and cost/ benefit advantages. The cost is starting to outweigh the benefits.

  5. 6 Roy, Washington DC
    November 6, 2009 at 14:39

    The alleged Fort Hood attacker’s Muslim faith is irrelevant. Even though he reportedly yelled “Allahu Akhbar!” before shooting (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_fort_hood_shooting), he was just somebody who snapped. The ironic part is that he was an Army psychiatrist whose job was to help distressed soldiers.

    Will the war in Afghanistan ever end? Probably not. I challenge anybody who says that it will end to answer this — Who exactly are we fighting the war against, and how will we be able to tell when we have succeeded against them? First we were fighting terrorists, then it was the Taliban, then it was insurgents, then it was the Taliban again…

    The problem is that we aren’t fighting a clearly defined enemy. At this point, we’re just keeping Afghanistan from spiraling even further into chaos. This will be a never ending process, whether we are there or not.

  6. November 6, 2009 at 14:49

    The Fort Head incident along with the Abu Gharib incident, the Haditha incident, and the incident of raping the 14th years old Iraqi girl and then killing her and all of her family members afterwards, all of those incidents and many other incidents together come to prove one thing : There’s something very wrong that has been going on inside the American military establishment, those blokes are seriously troubled people and they do obviously have some pretty serious issues that need to be dealt with effectively and instantly before sending them overseas inorder to occupy and invade other people’s lands… Oh my God, those blokes are exactly the very kind of people that we had to put up with their aggression and occupation of our country for the past six years ! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  7. 8 Eric in France
    November 6, 2009 at 14:56

    Hello Ros,

    first, anyone not satisfied with the policy of his/her employer should seek another job. Should green activist kill their oil industry employer? Idem.

    But that is the easy answer. The incident happens to be in the USA which is a violent society in comparison to Europe. Accessibility to weaponry makes then killing rather easy. In addition, since its secular initial status of its creators, the USA have become, especially in the last decade or two, an increasingly religious society. So, here they go again. 50 years ago the question was about black being truly and faithfully US citizens. Today, it is between faith and citizenship: can/should a non-christian be a US soldier? As well, in a smear campaign, it was suggested that M. Obama waas muslim. Incompatible with the function?

    In Europe, the societies are much more secular at the top through their speeches and actions. So, the Afghan conflict is closer to terms described by Gordon Brown. My concern of having European troops there is about to support what values: drug state? Corruption? War lords salaries? …

    I talked to Legionnaires in the past and they know that they are used for political purpose. They accept it on focusing on their job. Less elite troops are less immune to political pressures from their environment.

    Good day Ros.

  8. 9 Tim Dean
    November 6, 2009 at 15:27

    Events sometimes seem to write themselves, doncha think? Wonder how badly the doctor wanted out of the army?

    • 10 Ruth
      November 6, 2009 at 15:50

      In the civilian world there are soo many people in desperate need of psychiatric treament but who dont receive it due to extemely long waiting lists and a lack of either personal or national resources. I would assume that during a global recession we are seeing a similar situation in terms of military mental health. The dreamy western ideology of a global community will increasingly cause immense fundamental insecurities within large numbers of this assumed population. How on earth do you attempt to integrate all faiths, all cultures and all ideologies into one, essentially with immediate effect? Each gobal player should effectively be getting their own house in order before invading those of others!!!

  9. 11 Gary Paudler
    November 6, 2009 at 15:44

    Please use this version which doesn’t have the possessive apostrophe on the simply plural “Saudis” – me so stoopid.

    Our resolve to – do what? after issuing ample warning, a tiny bunch of Saudis attack the U.S. on September 11th. Can’t invade Saudi Arabia; they’re our despotic friends who sell us oil. So we bomb the crap out of the primitive country where the 9-11 attackers trained but let their leader escape. That country barely has a government and it’s over-run (we are told) with well-armed (we know, because we armed them) religious zealots – God says that a country over-run with well-armed religious zealots is a good thing, depending on the religion. How did that make us safer? What are the real motives of the US and UK in continuing to prosecute this war?

    • November 8, 2009 at 11:14

      This absolutely what correct. Why bomb the hell out of a very primitive country already ravaged by decades of war against the communist Russia, when we all know that all the 9/11 attackers were Saudis. The question “What are the real motives of the US and UK in continuing this war?” needs to be addressed urgently before this war engulfs the neighboring countries and destroys more lives. The present tactics have obviously ended in failure and security situation is deteriorating by the day and the loss of lives be it US/UK or Afghan/Pakistan is not something to be taken lightly. The burning question in every ones mind is that “Why is this offensive so necessary?” Why is it so hard to rethink your strategy and why is it so hard to accept that Bush made a terrible blunder in starting the Afghan/Iraq wars? These two wars have caused so much carnage and death and destruction.The people of that region are reeling with shock and fear every day of there lives.They do not even know when this war will end. People in the west do not have a clue how this war affecting that region and the lives of the inhabitants. The whole world wants to know the REAL MOTIVE behind this conflict so that they can justify the loss of their near and dear ones.

  10. 13 Robert Macala
    November 6, 2009 at 15:49

    We’re losing interest because we are running out to money…America spends
    650 billion a year on national defense. We are slowly, very slowly beginning to
    realize we can’t control conditions by throwing money at them in the Middle EAst..

  11. 14 gary
    November 6, 2009 at 15:50

    Armies may march on their stomachs; but they survive on trust. This is true of the larger society as well. Everyone has enemies and a certain percentage of people are untrustworthy; but the numbers of each are usually smaller than most folks imagine. The good news is that both can be discovered without using violence, by simple conversation. I’m sure Mr. Hasan spoke to many people; but I wonder how many spoke to him.

  12. 15 Tom K in Mpls
    November 6, 2009 at 15:57

    Now this qualifies as a tragedy to me. People killed for no reason in a nonviolent setting. It seems he was in a situation where he would be responsible for killing someone. Apparently he was willing and able to kill, but not ‘his people’. He found himself forced to choose and he acted. In almost any way of thinking, a reasonable choice.

    The request for more information I would have is, what role was he to be deployed in? This also is a minor bit of proof that the US does allow immigration and the immigrants are not always willing or able to adapt, no matter how qualified they may be.

    As to morale in the military, from personal experience, it changes quickly. If there is a clear goal, a reasonable plan, and a target that is easily percieved as a bad guy it will be high. Obama has not shown leadership yet. No action or even a clearly stated plan. So I would expect low morale.

  13. 16 Jim in Scotland
    November 6, 2009 at 15:59

    When soldier’s are not told the truth, and do not understand the real purpose of what they are doing, then this in addition to the tremendous psychological pressure they face every day can only lead to a mental health time-bomb that is ready to explode.

    My heart goes out to the UK and American soldiers who have died and their family, relatives and friends, and also the innocents civilians whose deaths are inhumanely accepted as ‘collateral damage’.

    Keep up the good work at WHYS.

    Take care

    November 6, 2009 at 16:01

    Apparently this guy had been told such horrific tales from servicemen with post traumatic stress disorder returning from combat duty in Iraq he had been terrified at the prospect of being deployed there. His fellow soldiers also disrespected him repeatedly because of his ethnic background. Obviously making his life very difficult.

    We have to ask ourselves why are these educated people with no radical connections in their past so motivated to kill? These are not goat herders living in the mountains of Afghanistan. These people are so frustrated with the west and the policies of the United States and of course the pain and suffering they see imposed on their people that they just crack! Don’t get me wrong this does not excuse their actions.

    We must ask ourselves are we winning the hearts and minds of these people or just creating more radical fighters for us to deal with at a later date. I think this is related to the troops on the ground and the way the occupation of these lands has been handled.

    And we all know how that’s gone so far… MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?

  15. November 6, 2009 at 16:01

    I think we need to look at every aspect of this conflict, Britains role in it and that of the govt. The Labour party is traditionally a pacifist party despite what they say. Due to the abandoning of conscription very few members of the present day party have any military experience, and certainly no one in the govt least of all in the MOD. Therefore, their commitment to this and other conflicts has been less than fully supported regardless of what they say. The forces top brass, one can safely assume is majority Tory because it is Tory supporters who by tradition enter the services. Thereby a conflict arises and I am sure the arrogance of the present defence secretary and his cronies brings a conflict of doctrined thinking resulting in sub standard equipment, lack of equipment and lack of understanding how the war should be fought. Transmit this govt mindset through the media, through the various ranks, and despite trying to talk up the reason for being in Afghanistan it is obvious there isn’t a real commitment by those who hold the power. Young people are noww joining the services not because they want to fight in Afghanistan or anywhere else but the fact they cannot find work. Political indoctrination might convince them initially they are making a difference and saving the world but, after arriving in Afghanistan are beginning to quickly realise despite all those killed there is no difference, they are distrusted by the natives who in all honesty see them as meal tickets and would stick a knife in them just as quick as give them a smile. Has anybody asked the majority of these poorly educated people what THEY want, not what a corrupt Afghan govt wants or the USA. Find this out and then maybe there will emerge a reason to be there other than govt rhetoric and this total reliance on terrorism as the reason. I am not saying the Tories would be any better because the young inexperienced boys likely to become the next ministers is just as frightening but, at least they will have true military experience amongst them to call on.

  16. 19 patti in cape coral
    November 6, 2009 at 16:04

    I certainly wish this would be over. There are people saying things are better, there are people saying things are worse, these horrible incidents cause even more emnity, confusion, and grief. I don’t know maybe it should be made illegal for anyone in any country to leave their shores for any purpose other than trade and tourism and that would end all war. How is progress being measured? The more I learn, the more confused I get.

  17. November 6, 2009 at 16:07

    Salaam Jim in Scotland, thank you so much for your thoughts and comments… I as an Iraqi citizen do really appreciate what you’ve wrote… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  18. 21 zb
    November 6, 2009 at 16:24

    If US Army Psychiatrist treating US soldiers who have been distressed due to war to no body for no reason (for being there) gone berserk just because his heart started beating louder for fellow Muslim reveal that entire episode of War Mongering by few dozen US And Allied Soldiers in tens of thousands in number flexing muscle with NATO strength of Super power is wrong. The excuse that look alike entire Afghan Nation (Afghan Mujahids Taliban Pakistan Alqaeda) of 200 million local resident would not let them to operate there peacefully is crazy needing Psychiatry. Consequently a Muslim Psychiatric Doctor Treating US soldiers lost cool and gone crazy himself. It means the USA and amid world recession stimulus packages and continued loss of jobs need revision of strategy. Money saved is money earned in Billions and trillions. Instead focus on peace. Islam means Peace. Why waging war on Peace then call Muslim Psychiatric Crazy (other way around)?Paranoid Psyzophrenia is when every one
    is considered enemy.Fort Hood is home to 54000 armored Soldiers in hundreds of Kilometers residence beating War Drum shouting Enemy shouting War is paranoid by itself.

  19. 22 Trinity
    November 6, 2009 at 16:33

    West lost the war before it began…

    Common folk in the west never did and still don’t understand why the West went to war with Iraq and Afgjanistan.

    The leaders saw an excuse to generate income…(war is profitable to arms dealer) and jumped in, in the name of democary.

    I say let Iraq and Afghanistan sort themselves out. Get out now.

  20. November 6, 2009 at 17:07

    I would say that the morale to remain in Afghanistan is low for troops and civilians. The attacks on the British Troops and Fort Hood are tragedies and I am very sorry for the loss of human life.

    War is used to fight for a cause or mission you believe in so strongly, that you are willing to die for it. The sight of the mission is lost and the situation is now out of contrrol.

    If there is an alternative way to settle these differences, now is the time for Plan B. Otherwise further loss of life will only cause further loss of life.

  21. November 6, 2009 at 17:11

    As to morale and the will to support/fight the war in Afghanistan, just consider the enthusiasm and drive of all those who supported going into Iraq because of WMDs there. However, once it was found out that justification for the war was based on lies and more lies, the support not only dwindled away but people were furious and felt betrayed. Soldiers are human too. The Afghanistan situation is just as dishonest. The Taleban is a local fundamentalist organization which has no history of attacking any foreign targets. They were trying to establish their own Islamic state. Al Qaeda, which works from numerous sympathetic countries around the world, used Afghanistan to establish training camps for their own ends. Therefore, destroying those camps was the right thing to do. But turning on to Taleban is a pointless exercise that will achieve nothing. Since Pakistan is colluding with America in targeting Taleban, the latter is launching revenge attacks on Pakistan. So, why are the Americans and their allies killing innocent Afghans? Terrorism does not emanate from Afghanistan. As all concerned are beginning to see the truth, the will to fight and the support for this phoney war are ebbing away.


  22. 25 Alan in Arizona
    November 6, 2009 at 17:18

    We should not be there. Neither country cares for our presence there and they don’t want us caring about them. Forget the profits and leave them to their own devices. It’s their countries. Let them fix them and may the better shot win.
    Leave their people alone to improve their countries and bring our youth back to help improve ours.

  23. 26 Kevin PE
    November 6, 2009 at 17:51

    As tragic as these events are, we must take into account that they are actually unrelated. It is irresponsible to connect the events and then portray them as systematic of a much wider epidemic. Those who wish the immediate withdrawal of all US forces will no doubt use these issues to the maximum in pursuit of their cause. I do not believe for one minute that the morale of US, Canadian, and British forces deployed are in general decay – these men and woman are for the most part extremely well supported and professional. I will neither advocate support for or against their deployment for the sake of this argument, but I believe there can be nothing worse for a soldier when his or her own nationals begin to loose faith in their (combatants) abilities. An enemy could not even dream or pay for the amount of negative propaganda that is being generated from WITHIN his foe.

  24. 27 Anthony
    November 6, 2009 at 17:59

    I think this shows just how crazy the extremists are, and shows that we must stay the course for the future of our safety. Weakened, not in my mind.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    P.S., is it just me, or does the guys picture remind anyone else of Private Pile from “Full Metal Jacket” (he’s the one who goes crazy in the begging and kills / commits suicide)

  25. 29 Ibrahim in UK
    November 6, 2009 at 18:00

    The events of the week are a consequence of the way the conflicts are being handled. Long, unpopular and illegitimate wars have grinding psychological effects on soldiers. Some will “snap”, others become depressed, violent and suicidal. These troops are trained for fighting another army, they are not trained to be police-trainers or unwanted occupation troops. Add to that all the political lies that have undermined the justification of the war and the shifting goalpoasts, and you have situation of confusion, stress, and dread.

  26. 30 viola
    November 6, 2009 at 18:04

    Not a hard event to understand. He’s an unmarried man who didn’t want to do what he was ordered to do and deploy to Iraq, which created frustration in him. Same as all the other men who go on killing, suicidal rampages all over the world when their desires are thwarted.

  27. 31 John Butt
    November 6, 2009 at 18:18

    As regards to faith it is too easy if not the normal thing to do these days to blame ones faith for ones actions, whatever your faith.
    Because of these people using their faith as an excuse for what is in effect cold blooded murder I am not sure I have any faith anymore. In fact I am sure I have not.

  28. 32 Elias
    November 6, 2009 at 18:21

    If I was one of the soldiers fighting in Afganistan, I would ask myself ‘what on earth am I doing here’, My thoughts would be of my family and relatives, I would defend them and my country, as one of the soldiers here, we are not appreciated or much respected by the people of Afganistan, we are involved in fighting a war which never seems to end, the sooner I can get away and return home the better it would be for me. This country is inhabited by people who are corrupt as shown in recent elections, and no matter what happens, they will go back to their old ways. Why not let Pakistan fight this war entirely as they have a better understanding of the Afghans, this is their war alone. The teleban can only be defeated in an all out war with the best military equipment and the use of any means including continous bombing the area they habitate. If unable to do it, better leave from Afganistan completely. The recent killing of five soldiers by an unscrupolous policeman who was on the same side as the soldiers proves and shows these people cannot be trusted.

  29. 33 John in Salem
    November 6, 2009 at 18:24

    It is heartening to see that most people realize the difference between acts of religious fanaticism and acts in which religion has been woven into an underlying mental illness (I know that some would argue there IS no difference but I’m an atheist who doesn’t believe religion is an abberation – annoying perhaps, but not insanity).

    I think that morale is slipping because of the growing awareness by soldiers that they have been tricked – in the case of Iraq, that their desire to do something meaningful for a noble cause has been taken advantage of, and in case of Afghanistan, by the cowardice of the leader who sent them there but was then too ashamed to admit failure when his incompetence allowed the enemy to escape.

  30. 34 rob z.
    November 6, 2009 at 18:26

    Since WWII,the way we in the west wage war has changed.We have gone from totaly devastating our enemies and taking territory;to surgical strikes and not total control of the field.All to keep civillian deaths low as possible.Thus prolonging the operation.
    Working in such a way to do all possible not harm civillians is commendable.But it makes achievments or victories not clear or well defined.So a your troops loose morale,not so much because of the duration of the conflict;but because there is nothing to cheer about.
    Couple a feeling of lack of achievment with your loved ones at home going through hard times…
    You inturn get a less confident military.
    A military force is confident and effective when it knows the people serve support not only them individualy,but also supports thier mission.
    I hope what happened at FT.Hood never happens again,but it will if there is no clear path to victory and the economy does not improve.
    Happy citizens make happy soldiers.
    Rob Z i Florida.

  31. 35 Shannon in Ohio
    November 6, 2009 at 18:45

    In the wake of the horrible events at Ft. Hood, I have been quite disheartened by what I have been hearing from some people here in my community. My husband returned from work quite disturbed about his supervisor’s openly anti-Muslim comments, which he and a few other co-workers promptly reported to the higher ups. This morning, I listened to a local call-in radio program and was horrified by the hateful statements listeners were making about Muslims in America.

    I think we should be asking the following question: What radicalized this American man who once loved his country enough to join the U.S. Army? Was it the steady stream of anti-Muslim epithets he was subjected to at work? Was it the especially garbled foreign policy on display here in the U.S. for the past eight years?

    As we mourn for the victims and their families, I think it is imperative that Americans look inward and ask themselves some pretty tough questions.

  32. 36 Jennifer
    November 6, 2009 at 18:49

    I think that this horrible tragedy will be used for political purposes to delay the sending of much needed troops. If that happens then the issues that face not only the U.S. will not be adequately addressed. Instead of discussing the true issue, people want to talk about the “stress” this man was under. That’s totally out of the boat.

  33. 37 Bob in Queensland
    November 6, 2009 at 19:02

    I’d say the coalition’s resolve is definitely weakening. However, rather than recent events being the cause, I think a bigger issue is the lack of clarity about the goals in Afghanistan. Are we there to destroy Al Qaeda? Or is it to topple the Taliban? Or create a better democratic society? Or are we just propping up a corrupt regime that cheats in elections? Public support would be much stronger if we understood and believed in a cause.

  34. November 6, 2009 at 19:04

    Quitting Afghanistan and allowing the country to be overrun by Taleban and al Qaeda militants would be capitulating to terrorism!; No humane leader could allow Afghanistan to go down that road. The steps taken by President Obama so far are praise-worthy. His is a deft balancing act. Along with his Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, he is trying to save that vast country. But there are innumerable pit-falls. The most important of them is how much trust he can place on President Karzai and his ability to garner support from the tribal leaders. If Karzai fails, could Abdullah-Abdullah fill in the vacuum. There are far too many ‘ifs’. planning military and political strategy is fraught with danger and intrigue!

    November 6, 2009 at 19:07

    BIg Up….. for your new rap..LOL 🙂

  36. November 6, 2009 at 19:22

    What is never mentioned in these discussions is the fact that our attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan are both wars of aggression against states that had not attacked us, which are illegal under the UN Charter and international law since 1928 under which Nazi and Japanese leaders were tried and many executed following WWII. The Nuremberg Tribunal stated that “to initiate a war of aggression…is the supreme international crime.” We seem to think that the world belongs to us and we are entitled to invade and kill others at will without a second thought. As troops and citizens back home become increasingly aware that we are destroying lives and societies elsewhere without justification, “resolve” will inevitably erode among all reflective people with normal conscience.

  37. 41 viola
    November 6, 2009 at 19:36

    Soldiers don’t ask why they’re sent somewhere. Civilians ask those questions. Civilians have the time and the motivation, since they sure don’t want to be sent somewhere to fight, and they might be next.

  38. 42 Padma Rao
    November 7, 2009 at 08:26

    I think Obama can do only one thing now – this war is not winnable, Afghanistan and Pakistan are not in the situation that Germany and Japan were at the start of World War 2. Those countries were already industrialized. Pakistan and Afghanistan are feudal societies which are ruled by an elite few. There is nothing to fight for. Once America and the NATO allies leave, these people will start fighting amongst themselves. This is how it has always been and will continue so.

  39. 43 Simon Morgan
    November 7, 2009 at 11:31

    Obama is going to miss his window of opportunity to defeat the Taliban if he doesn’t act on the surge soon. The Taliban are being chased out of Waziristan by the Pakistani army and this is the time to throw everything at them in Afghanistan. There simply must be no place of refuge left for these people.

  40. 44 Patrick from Perth
    November 7, 2009 at 17:17

    We do not belong in Afghanistan; we do not belong in Iraq or in any other country with such incompatible cultural & religious beliefs. Let them sort out their own problems. If they interfere with a country that shares our cultural & or religious beliefs then we come to the aid of that country. Otherwise we stay out of it. And as for people who have been accepted into a country with the Western style of society – if you do not want to blend in & join it……..then go home

  41. November 7, 2009 at 21:10

    I think that the we should have a draft. The volunteer army is an army of people who enlist to get things… education, health care, a job. If the soldiers that we sent to war was a true cross section of the population then the US would not be trying to “bring democracy” to the Middle East.

  42. 46 David
    November 8, 2009 at 00:22

    Jack, Well said.

    Let those with real brains think and digest your stateent.

  43. 47 David
    November 8, 2009 at 00:23

    Jack, Well said.

    Let those with real brains think and digest your statement.

  44. 48 Alan Beutal
    November 8, 2009 at 06:58

    Jack says that American involvement in Afghanistan is a ‘war of aggression’ against a state that ‘had not attacked us’. Was not the 9/11 attack planned and trained for in Afghanistan? It may not have been the Taliban ‘government’ itself that attacked the Twin Towers but they more than provided safe haven to those that did. The Taliban had the chance to turn over bin Laden but chose not to. The United States went into Afghanistan and while unfortunately not getting their man they did succeed in destroying all bin Laden’s terrorist training camps that were preparing for more 9/11’s. I think even most European liberals understood the need for that war.
    We are losing the war now in Afghanistan and winning that war seems as far away as can be (especially with this President endlessly dithering). They are a corrupt, very tribal country and trying to develop a democracy in Afghanistan is rather like trying to open a summer camp in the Himalayas. But do we pull out? Look what happened when we last left that country to itself 20 years ago.

  45. 49 scmehta
    November 8, 2009 at 14:01

    Yes, the events should make us more resolute, because, we refuse to kneel before the evil. We just cannot allow a few thousands of the terrorists/extremists to terrorize and make a mockery of the peaceful and civilized world. And mind you, its the leaders or politicians, who demoralize the civilized fighting forces, by making obvious their lack of vision, confidence and determination; and more often than not, it’s them, not the people or the forces, who are fickle-minded.

  46. 50 Jim Newman
    November 8, 2009 at 16:53

    Hello again
    When the governements of Europe decided to send troops to Afghanistan it was done without the knowledge or the agreement of the people whom these famous governements are supposed to represent. Naturally with time the people begin to wake up to the crimes that have been committed in their name and want to put an end to it. That is not a weakening of resolve it’s a realisation that their governements have been more servile to the USA than to the people they are supposed to represent.
    Your eminently zappable

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