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October 15, 2008
Thoughts About Afghanistan Before the Last Debate
Name the deadliest month for Coalition casualties in Afghanistan since the war
to defeat terrorism began. I'll wait.
Since the invasion as our response to 911 in October 2001, the deadliest month in Afghanistan, which saw 46 Coalition deaths, was August, 2008, with the second deadliest month being June, 2008.
In fact, since the war in Afghanistan began about seven years ago to the day, this year - 2008 - has been the single most deadly year in "that other war", with 237 Coalition soldiers losing their lives. This total has already eclipsed the 232 soldiers killed in Afghanistan last year, and the year isn't over yet.
Each and every year we spend in Afghanistan has set a new record in Coalition deaths in Afghanistan since the war began, and each and every year more than half of those deaths are American servicemen and women. So far, of the 986 recorded Coalition deaths in Afghanistan610 have been US military men and women.
In 2008, we have seen the bloodiest months of January, March, June, July, August and September with records in 2007 including the bloodiest months of February, April and May.
One hates to see what October, November and December have to offer. Maybe it will be a harsh Winter and keep some of the terrorists indoors.
The initial invasion of Afghanistan cost us twelve US lives (October - December 2001). But since then, the land-locked nation has grown worse and worse and has become what it's always been: Ground-Zero in the fight against al-Qaeda and terrorism. We all knew that but George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and John McCain somehow didn't.
Even today, as we lose our young men and women to the mountains and the snipers lying wait in their crevices, McCain and running mate Sarah Palin refuse to see Afghanistan as what it really is - the most important area to fight terrorism.
"We cannot afford to lose against al-Qaeda and the Shia extremists who are still there, still fighting us, but we're getting closer and closer to victory. And it would be a travesty if we quit now in Iraq,"
-Palin from the VP debate with Joe Biden
Maybe if she read a newspaper, from the front to the back, Governor Palin would know that al-Qaeda, a Sunni-led group, and the Shi'ites are not fighting as allies in Iraq. Maybe she would also know, had she ever read a newspaper or tuned away from Hockey Night in Alaska, that al-Qaeda is no longer a threat in Iraq and hasn't been for quite some time. Perhaps had she picked up something other then The Hockey News (a fine publication we hockey fans read consistently0, she might have heard that even when al-Qaeda was in Iraq, they were, at best, loosely tied to the group which planned the 9-11 terror attacks, the Madrid and London bombings.
But those are only details and she shouldn't worry her pretty little (and I mean "little") head with those, by golly.
If there is a nation where these terrorists call home, it is in the mountains of Afghanistan (and parts or Warziristan, in Pakistan bordering the Afghan mountains). Joe Biden and Barack Obama actually do know that:
"Here's what the fundamental problem I have with John's policy about terror instability. John continues to tell us that the central war in the front on terror is in Iraq. I promise you, if an attack comes in the homeland, it's going to come as our security services have said, it is going to come from al Qaeda planning in the hills of Afghanistan and Pakistan. That's where they live. That's where they are,"
-Biden, from that very same debate
All Sarah Palin would have had to do is listen as Senator Biden spoke. Perhaps the last time she actually did that was when she was in the second grade.
Below are the real numbers of coalition troops deaths since the beginning of the Afghanistan war:
the real numbers and they're getting worse.
Just this week, the new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) - the document put together by all sixteen US intelligence agencies - came out to tell us all that Afghanistan is the world's biggest problem in relation to terrorism and middle east instability. When Secretary of State and former National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice was asked about the NIE, she said she hadn't yet read it.
"Afghanistan is a difficult place. It has made progress since 2001. We have all talked about new circumstances that have arisen there and we are doing a review to look to see what more we can do,"
Sounds like the Afghanistan version of "the fundamentals of the economy are strong" to me.
With the economy shutting down, jobs being lost by the tens of thousands, and their ignoring the real war on terror's geographical base, the Bush administration is treating the last days of their time in office as high school seniors treat the days after the Memorial Day weekend but prior to the Senior Prom.
I wonder what color shoes Secretary Rice will wear?
McCain, himself, has been so consistently wrong about the war in Afghanistan it's amazing he even speaks about it today.
“Nobody in Afghanistan threatens the United States of America,”
“the facts on the ground are we went to Afghanistan and we prevailed there,"
“Afghanistan, we don’t read about anymore, because it’s succeeded,"
And those are the sentiments he has espoused up until recently when, even he, could no longer ignore the truth about Afghanistan, al-Qaeda and the resurgent Taliban who now control much of the nation they no longer should.
And what of Bush's would-be replacement, John McCain? How does John McCain measure success, one might ask?
It, too, is a formula that needs work.
In response to "John McCain's Economic Scheme", Robert Scardapane writes:
So McCain has a new "economic plan". You must read it fast because it will be different tomorrow. Seriously, this plan a sick joke. McCain is using a time of economic crisis to push tired old Republican tax policy darlings such as a capital gains cut. Is this being a "maverick"? To me, it's more like being a horse's posterior.
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