“To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.”
I’ve had some interesting comments made by a certain Joshua on an old post. Interesting might not be quite the word, but close enough. As the persons in question took the time to criticize my posts at length, I feel the need to reply. For one thing I think I expressed some of my points poorly so I’m going to clarify myself. And I disagree with some of the points raised in the comments. However, rather than try to make some sort of point by point reply, which usually just further confuses a debate, I am simply going to restate various aspects of my argument. Including how they relate to some of the comments.
First of all, dissent is not unpatriotic, it’s OK for someone to argue that the war in Afghanistan is a mistake and that we should pull out. This is not disrespecting the troops or encouraging the enemy, it is simply the sort of healthy dissent that exemplifies the principles our nation was founded on. And if our troops are “defending our freedoms,” isn’t the freedom of speech one of the most important freedoms? And no, I’m not advocating surrender, exercising my freedom of speech is proof that we are still a free country. Frankly our troops should be proud that Americans can and do openly disagree with our government’s policies, doesn’t that make us better than the Taliban?
Secondly, supporting the troops is not the same thing as supporting the war. One can support the troops and be opposed to the war. In fact I maintain that my desire to bring the troops home is supporting the troops. I don’t want to see a single American killed or maimed in a pointless overseas war. And pointless the war is, as Yoda would say. The Taliban are no threat to the United States. This was a war we chose, not them. The last time a foreign power seriously threatened American’s freedoms was 1781. George Washington took care of that shit, see illustration above.
Certain allegations were made regarding my understanding of the exact nature of the war the USA is pursuing in Afghanistan. Mea culpa, I was using figurative language to describe events, and the meaning may have been lost. I don’t want to get into the nuts and bolts of what our troops are doing in Afghanistan. Because it doesn’t matter. Two administrations have had more than ten years, and whatever they wanted from Congress, to do whatever it is they are doing in Afghanistan. Ten years later, the Taliban is still unvanquished. The longest war in American history, and we appear to be no closer to “victory,” whatever that means, than when we started. I don’t have to go to Afghanistan to see that what we are doing there isn’t working.
Afghanistan is a war we started, with a poor nation on the far side of the world that posed no threat to the USA, not some epic struggle against global powers like World War Two. I’m also a little unclear on exactly what we are trying to accomplish. What is the goal? If the idea is to defeat the Taliban, well, they seem no closer to defeat than ever. Establish a modern secular regime that can hold its own against the Taliban? That doesn’t seem to be happening any time soon either. In fact the warlords we put back in power in Afghanistan were the same warlords whose corruption and violence created the Taliban in the first place. Giving them modern weapons will no more ensure their survival than arming the South Vietnamese government to the teeth ensured its survival.
Lastly I think it’s funny that someone says I should go to Afghanistan since I oppose our war there. Gee, I thought that it was people who approve of our foreign wars that should be forced to participate in them? I should also point out that someone who is in the midst of a war has powerful psychological reasons to agree with what they are doing. The bandwagon effect for one. Nonetheless, anyone who interprets my writing as somehow being insulting to the military personnel who are serving has clearly missed my point. And frankly it’s an attitude very close to “If you aren’t with us, you are against us.” That’s not an attitude that people of a free country should be taking, in fact it’s kind of the opposite.