Sara Whitman

30,000 More Troops

Filed By Sara Whitman | December 02, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, mothers, War in Afghanistan

30,000 more troops. 30,000 more men and women to Afghanistan. England is sending another 500. Not us, no no. We will take care of this mess, now won't we?

I'm stunned by the number, by Obama's decision. Not surprised, mind you, because when he went and did the salute to the dead soldiers coming home, I knew that was a photo op to prep us for this moment.

Eight years, soon to be nine, we are in this way over our heads. My 14 year old son will be signing up for the draft in four years- all 18 year old males have to even now. I don't see us done with this one in four years. The conflicts there are centuries old. Our Western notions will never work there.


We all wring our hands about H1N1, shortages of vaccines created by big pharm to make us think we're all going to die without it. We debate Michelle Obama in shorts, Oprah leaving, and whether or not Tom Cruise paid Katie Holmes to have his babies.

How many US servicemen and women are in Afghanistan now? How many in Iraq? How many are dead? How many wounded?

When is Oprah's last show?

Which gets more news coverage?

I wrote about meeting a young serviceman in the Atlanta airport last winter. He was on his way to report for duty after having finished basic training. He was confident he would not go to Iraq or Afghanistan. Besides, he said, if I don't like where I am, I can ask to be moved.

He was all of 18 years old. He believed every word the recruiter told him. Wonder where he is now.

30,000 more friends, neighbors, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers. Will it never end?

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I'm disgusted by it too. I have a foster son who is now in the AF and my 19 year old is thinking about going into the Navy which is making me crazy.
It bothers me that my next sons will have to register for the draft in two, three and 6 years respectively and it doesn't look like our imperialistic approach to foreign policy is going to change.

Michael @ | December 2, 2009 11:06 AM

I have young cousins stationed in both Iraq and Afghanistan so I have a very subjective investment in this issue. Barely a day goes by that I don't fear will be the day I hear one of them has been killed for what my first instinct tells me is nothing.

We can debate the right or wrongness of our continuing military presence in either country but one thing is CERTAIN: most are not making informed decisions because we are being willfully mislead [while mainstream media once again plays along] about the REALITY of just how deep our involvement is in both countries by the Bush Speak deceptive statements about withdrawing or limiting American UCMJ-regulated MILITARY forces that Obama has also now made his own. Last night: "We will remove OUR COMBAT BRIGADES from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of OUR TROOPS by the end of 2011." [Emphasis mine.]

TRUTH: "In June, a Pentagon report revealed that there are still 132,610 contractors in Iraq - effectively doubling the size of the occupation - and that the use of armed 'private security contractors' in the country actually increased by 23% during the second quarter of 2009." - "The Guardian," August 14, 2009

AND "Overall, contractors (armed and unarmed) now make up approximately 50% of the 'total force in Centcom AOR [Area of Responsibility]'. This means there are a whopping 242,657 contractors working on these two US wars. These statistics come from two reports just released by Gary J. Motsek, the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Program Support): 'Contractor Support of U.S. Operations in USCENTCOM AOR, IRAQ', and 'Afghanistan and "Operational Contract Support, 'State of the Union'"." - "Blackwater" author Jeremy Scahill.

AND in the same vein of disingenousness and dishonesty, YET AGAIN our Commander-in-Chief had the balls to stand in front of members of our armed forces [for at least the fourth time this year] and rhapsodize about America treasuring Freedom and the sacrifice of American servicemen and women but doesn't have the balls to use his Congressionally authorizied powers to freeze discharges of gay servicemembers when HE himself has said that such discharges weaken national security!

How are we to trust the life and death decisions of a man who contradicts HIMSELF? Who has signaled repeatedly that he makes decisions based upon the desires of the dinosaurs in the Pentagon? Who...surely I was not the only one who noticed it...actually felt the need to "butch up" his delivery last night with atypical clipped words, sentences, and cadence while looking fiercely serious? At least he didn't pull a Gordon "{Penis Envy" Liddy trick and hold his palm over a flame.

He COULD have chosen THIS time, wrapped in the flag and watched live by millions of Americans to announce:

"And because this is such a critical mission, because the enemies of freedom in Afghanistan and throughout the world make no such distinction, because our volunteer military has been repeatedly stretched due to shortfalls in enlistments of those qualified to serve, I am issuing an executive order allowing every gay servicemember who has been discharged to reenlist...including linguists, pilots, anbd intelligence specialists already trained at the expense of millions of tax dollars....and allowing every gay man or woman willing to serve their country to enlist openly and join us in helping the people of Afghanistan fight for their own freedom."

The Barack Obama so many thought they elected would have said that last night...and would be telling us the whole truth about our involvement in those two countries.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 4, 2009 3:40 AM

The trouble is that with the economy in the crapper there is no shortage of recruits. It still is a "volunteer army" of the disadvantaged poor which is why this fellow was misused rather than having career opportunity. Military recruiters cruise working class malls with regularity, but you never see them in the affluent neighborhoods. Those young men and women have options.

And yes, we throw away millions an hour on military necessities which are anything but necessary so why not discriminate while we are at it.

Disgusting it is. What is also disgusting is the option of leaving without something resembling a military to protect Afghanistan. Tough neighborhood, nuclear neighbors to the south and wannabe nuclear neighbor Iran to the northwest.

This was the source of the terrorism and should have been the 100% focus of our military effort, but instead we went after Sadam. Saying "disgusting" twice is not enough.

Obama paraded out the dead of 9/11 last night, just like Bush.

It is his war now.

I see you failed to mention that 13,000 troops have been kicked out under DADT. That's nearly half of the troops he is plan on sending over there.

The draft has not been initiated and because there will be less troops in Iraq, it still won't be reinstated. Your son is safe. HOWEVER, if he decides to go in when he can decide for himself, the Navy is the safest, unless he becomes a Corpsman. They are on the ground with the Marines. The Air Force is fairly safe, with the exception of just a few jobs. My son was a welder and did two tours in Iraq, and never once had to fire his M16 at anyone or get shot at. Many of those 30,000 troops will be support. Only a small percentage will be on the front line.

Don't get me wrong, I don't support the war, otherwise, I wouldn't be suggesting how to avoid being shot at.

If you are going to post on these issues, it would help greatly if you had a basic understanding of the facts and if you demonstrated a minimal degree of fairness.

Draft registration was implemented in 1980, under the Carter Administration. It has existed since that time, during wartime and peacetime. It is not a product of the current conflicts and almost certainly not end when those conflicts conclude.

There is no pipeline in any stage of construction in Afghanistan, as you falsely posted earlier this week.

NATO is being asked to contribute 10,000 troops, and is expected to ultimately contribute an additional 5-7,000. It is misleading to mention a smaller number from the UK alone.

Lastly, I don't know if that story about the mislead recruit is real or a product of your imagination, but I highly doubt that this recruit could have possibly thought that he had a guarantee of non-deployment or that he could simply get transferred upon request. You would have to be ignorant of what the army is and what it does to believe that, and I don't believe that you are accurately relating this account, assuming it ever took place.

It is shocking that you would seek to leave the women of Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban. Ultimately, the policies you advocate as selfish and amoral as anything the Bush Administration came up with.

The Taliban hurting women? Yes, enlightened and armed troops will descend on Afghanistan and educate those savages on how to treat their women. Only Americans have learned the secret to not ever being sexist and we'll teach it to the entire Afghan population through predator drone bombings in 18 months.

Fortunately, as Glenn Greenwald pointed out yesterday, Obama stayed away from that narcissistic language during his speech. There was no pretense of escalating the conflict for "human rights." That's not what it's about, at least according to the Commander in Chief - it's about securing the country so it doesn't pose a threat to the US.

I don't think that's possible, and no one really does (not even the military architects of the plan, who say a presence will be required there for at least a few more decades). But, hey, it sounds nice. America, fuck yeah!

Lastly, I don't know if that story about the mislead recruit is real or a product of your imagination, but I highly doubt that this recruit could have possibly thought that he had a guarantee of non-deployment or that he could simply get transferred upon request. You would have to be ignorant of what the army is and what it does to believe that, and I don't believe that you are accurately relating this account, assuming it ever took place.

You could fill a lake with 18-year-olds' ignorance. Or you can just take advantage of it. Recruiters have had issues filling quotas these past few years (not this year, thanks to the economic crisis), and there were quite a few investigations into lying recruiting officers. And those are just the ones the military went after....

But, yeah, I don't see it as that far-fetched to believe that a recruiting officer would play with the truth a little to get someone signed up. I spent some time on a base last year, and the conversation turned to just that, and the guys had a big laugh over the lies used to recruit enlisted men (they were officers). Plus Sara wouldn't just make up that story.

And Sara didn't say that the draft was caused by the current conflicts either.

um, I didn't make it up. when I am in airports, and am in line with a service member, I buy them whatever they have.

and I say thank you.

this time, walter was with me and that man can talk.

and talk and talk. he invited him to come sit with us.

so, my question, sage, is when are you signing up?

The Russians pulled out of Afghanistan when they
realized it was not a place where they could win.
The United States pulled out of Vietnam in the 1970's. In my opinion, alot of Americans are
seriously questioning why we are there. Of course,
contractors are making lots of money as a result of
continuing fighting in that region. On newscasts,
when I hear discussions of Afghanistan I also hear
the word Pakistan. Don't know if the right word for that is interesting or scary?

I'm glad someone here remarked about Obama's failure to revoke DADT. That, coupled with Obama's escalation of the war insures that I will NOT vote for him in 2012. (I'll vote Independant perhaps?) I thought I was electing an anti-war President just a year ago, and a man who would keep his promises. My bad... The author is dead-on here: this is an unwinnable war. Just ask the Russians, who are laughing at us as we continue to toss money and lives into the savage inferno that is Afghanistan.