Feel better now? Obama's speech from

tobr24u(z6 RI)May 2, 2012

the "front" was meant to reassure us that we will be getting out as planned but we will continue to economically and advise their military for another ten years after 2014. Ho-hum is my response, so what else in new. And meanwhile this country will begin to look like Afghanistan as our infrastructure and schools collapse. This no time to disagree with me as I am sure that you surely won't...

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Far better than his ad. Take credit and give credit to those who have fought the war on terror. And Ben Laden is dead.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:26AM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

Things to consider.

America has committed to financial and people resources for the next 10 years or more. We simply can't afford to win this way, if that's what winning is.

We have fought for over a decade, lost thousands of good people and spent billions of $$ to rid Afghanistan of less than 100 al Qaeda fighters.

The Afghan Army is infiltrated with Taliban informants and soldiers. What happens when there is no longer a mighty NATO troop presence in Afghanistan? In Kabul? Bombings? Will the Taliban take over the Afghan Army?

Are we maintaining our presence there (along with the 10 year commitment) to keep a close watch on one of our special projects, the Trans-Afghan Pipeline?

And finally, why did the president think it was important to fly to Afghanistan to sign a document? Today, we sign documents, have them certified, emailed, and follow up with the original document via mail. Why not do it the simple, safe, economical way? Was this a campaign stunt? I think so.
That was a very expensive document signing. Anybody care to guess the cost of it?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 7:47AM
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Need to know the costs of long term help to stabilize that country. Today it's $2 Billion/week. If by 2015 we can get that down to $5 Billion/year similar to Egypt and Israel's annual aid then it may be worth the transistional costs. What's the annual cost of maintaining a presence in Korea or Germany? $2 Billion/week could go a long way to rebuild our roads, bridges, ele grid, etc.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:44AM
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david52 Zone 6

Sure its a campaign stunt. Anything he does from here until the election is a campaign stunt. I'm just glad that we're finally starting to pull our troops out of there.

I'm a bit leery of his figure of well-equipped, trained, 350,000 security forces. The desertion rate is 25%. Drug use is rampant, half are stoned most the time.

Anyway you look at it, this is a classic fubar and the sooner its over and we're out of there, the better.

snip- In every nation, the army is a reflection of its country. How could it be any other way? Recruits are drawn from a cross-section of society - though most come from poorly educated, less well-off families. Well, in Afghanistan, virtually everyone is poor; the average annual income is about $400, and NATO says 80 percent of army recruits are illiterate. Most don't know even how to drive a car.

In most areas of Afghanistan, the government has no presence whatsoever - but the Taliban do. So it's no wonder that so many army recruits are actually Taliban plants who open fire on their supposed allies - a problem that "may be unprecedented" in "modern military history," said a classified U.S. military report quoted in the New York Times last month.

What's more, the army's desertion rate remains staggering. All of that is generally known. But add a corollary, less-known quandary to the mix, and you just want to throw up your hands. Most Afghan soldiers are regular drug users, even addicts. Why not, if soldiers are products of their national culture? Visit Kabul, as I have, and you'll see scores of half-conscious heroin addicts.

Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, the raw ingredient of heroin. And a new United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report shows "a clear relationship between growing poppy and growing cannabis." Almost two-thirds of the state's opium-poppy farmers also grow marijuana.

As a result, a favored line in Afghan and Pakistani news reports of late is that, among Afghan soldiers, "opium and hashish are their favorite foods."

Random drug tests in army and police units have found that drug use is rampant, pervasive. A Government Accountability Office report in 2010 found that up to 40 percent were users. The Special Investigator for Afghan Reconstruction said the number was "at least 50 percent," and an Afghan journalist told me of one drug test that 70 percent failed.

Uncounted times, military officers, or journalists traveling with them, have reported watching soldiers light up joints before or during operations. The Daily Times, a Pakistani newspaper, quoted a U.S. Army trainer: "If we instituted drug testing in the Afghan army, we would lose three-quarters to 85 percent" of the troops.

One incident captured by a Wall Street Journal reporter embedded with a joint U.S.-Afghan force capsulized the broad problem. Mid-mission, as usual, several Afghan soldiers ran off, deserting. When their replacements arrived, they sat down and lit up joints.

That classified U.S. military report quoted one soldier as saying: "They're stoned all the time, some even on patrol with us." - snip

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 9:49AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

A year or so ago, I heard an anlysis of what was needed to have a fully equiped, and fully trained Afghan army. The cost would be more than the current GNP of Afghanistan. The idea is actually DOA, but still we plod on and promote a fantasy.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:22AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

It seems to be in our DNA. When we land on a soil we never leave. Look at America. We have been here so long we think it belongs to us and we are telling anybody else that dares to land here to go away they do not belong here.... When are we going to leave and give it back to the Indians?

There are approximately 28,000 US troops still in South Korea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Global Security

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Not to mention the 52,440 in Germany; 35,688 in Japan, 9,660 in Italy, and the 9,015 in the UK. And to a lesser degree, scattered around the globe.
(From Wikipedia - the font of all knowledge)

I understand military bases in strategic places; and I understand a residual military presence and aid to Afghanistan, but I hate the thought of a corrupt and ineffectual Karzai becoming too comfortable.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:45AM
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has there ever been anything like relative peace in that region of factions & tribes....no!
The Opium Crop has risen every year since the 70s now selling in the thousands of tons what had once been in the hundreds of tons. The US gets some but the major sufferers are Iran & Russia. Russia has had joint operations with the US to help destroy crops & production. I've posted this before but there are over 700 NA Meetings in Tehran and Iran has NA meeting in over 100 cities. A multi billion a year industry that extends into all the major players societies.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:37PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

I hate the thought of a corrupt and ineffectual Karzai becoming too comfortable.

I love America I really do it is home. But do you really think that America is not corrupt and ineffectual? Have you watched our Congress, Presidential election process, Stand your ground, Health Care etc? I could go on and on how ineffectual we are the way we treat our own people our own selves.

We do not want Affordable Health Care. "Historically, every other developed nation has achieved universal health care through some form of nonprofit national health insurance." By supporting these other nations we are supporting their Universal Health Care but we do not want it for ourselves. Of course not!

We actually have people convinced that the richer you are the more tax breaks you should get. Hey give the oil companies subsidies while they are making more money than they could ever spend even handing out big bonuses.

They have convinced people to screaming at that top of there dear little hearts we don't want our own poor people to get anything not realizing they are the poor people. They would rather the money go to other countries. These same people are not rich if they were they would not be posting on HT.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:44PM
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In history Afghanistan is where Empires go to die. Perhaps we have jumped the shark this time?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 2:00PM
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I like this:

But here's the big difference: the president isn't using bin Laden to scare us. The Republicans only ever used 9/11, bin Laden and terrorism to scare people into voting for them. This is fearmongering. It's the flagrant exploitation of both a tragedy and the threat of an on-the-loose maniac to trick voters into supporting Republican policies for no other reason than to ameliorate their irrational fear.

The president, on the other hand, isn't telling us to be afraid. He's telling us that we can rest assured knowing that he's capable of doing the job with competence, decisiveness and a little bit of "cool" -- he's also debunking the spindly possibly-Muslim cartoon character the Republicans have carefully constructed since whenever.

Shocking, isn't it, how the Republicans don't understand the distinction between noting a victory and scaring Americans into supporting them. Maybe if they had been more focused on actually getting bin Laden, and not on shoehorning the words "September 11th" into every campaign commercial and stump speech, they might have actually succeeded in the effort.

Conversely, the president has barely (to a fault) mentioned the bin Laden killing, and I can think of very few if any occasions when the president has mentioned 9/11 -- nowhere near the ooga-booga you'll-die-without-us Tourette's-like frequency of Bush, Giuliani, Cheney, McCain, Romney and the Republicans. Hell, one of the biggest flaws of the president and his team is they're frustratingly quiet when it comes to ballyhooing their own successes.

So regarding the campaign commercial, yes -- more like that, please. It's an important distinction that's crying out to be defined: while the Republicans might be good at coming up with scary bumper sticker slogans, the Obama team can actually do the job.

Here is a link that might be useful: source of course

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:10PM
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Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

The real people who have sacrificed in Afghanistan are not us, and it wasn't our president or our congress. They will suffer more when they get home. Be proud!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:54PM
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I am proud of them and I think it is despicable how our government treats them. They deserve the best possible benefits and opportunities.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Now Karzi's dead body will be displayed after we are out of there that is unless he completes his courting of the Russians which he has played on and off for the last year or so.
He needs someone powerful to keep his own head off a pike.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 5:33PM
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Thanks, esh. That is all so true. I'm so sick of the scare tactics that worked so well...until 2008. I think most people got sick of it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 5:35PM
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