Iraq & Afghanistan: Time To Come Home

Marc D. Goldfinger
Spare Change News

Recently a U. S. helicopter in Afghanistan was shot down and we lost 30 soldiers. Then a wave of violence swept across Iraq and at least 89 people were slain and over 300 wounded. When, if ever, can “mission accomplished” take place?

These two endless wars are eating our budget daily, not to mention the fine men and women who are caught in the maelstrom. The cessation of our now useless conflict could turn our deficit around. These conflicts are part of the totally failed George W. Bush era.

After the Twin Towers went down, George W. Bush and his henchmen started wailing about the Weapons of Mass Destruction being stockpiled by Saddam Hussein and his evil regime. The Bush gang even made not-so-veiled references to Iraq as a co-conspirator in the takedown of the Twin Towers.

Both of his fractured visions proved to be outright lies. But George W. Bush wanted a war, and, by damn and by golly, he was going to get one whether it destroyed the budget of the United States or not. Bush just didn’t care about anything except what he wanted.

I don’t think that any other president has done so much harm to our country in such a short period as “Dubya” did in those eight nightmare years when he reigned supreme. Every company that Bush ran ended badly and now the United States is suffering from his mistakes.

There is nothing worse in the world than an untreated alcoholic who has stopped drinking and drugging but hasn’t worked out the issues that brought him to do that. George W. Bush was exactly that. He became president of the most powerful country in the world and then proceeded to deconstruct all of its strength. He just frittered our children’s legacy away with his warped escapades.

Recently, according to the Boston Globe, a cascading wave of violence swept through Iraq in multiple parts of the country. There were at least 42 different attacks, and it appears that radical insurgents have regained the strength that they had in the wild years of 2006 and 2007.

Russia fought Afghanistan for over nine years and had to pull out with nothing accomplished but damage to their economy and the loss of an overwhelming number of soldiers. They were neighbors to Afghanistan. Russia didn’t have to travel halfway around the world with a massive movement of troops like the United States. The war between Russia and Afghanistan is sometimes referred to as “Russia’s Vietnam war.”

Yet, in the face of all of the knowledge to the contrary, the United States continues its losing course in the two wars. First we went into Afghanistan to get Osama bin Laden. After 10 years we caught him. But still we continue. The Taliban is undergoing a resurgence. Now they are beginning their full-fledged takeover of Afghanistan, village by village, town by town. Not only that, but according to Internet news on August 17, over 360 million U.S. dollars have been diverted to Taliban warlords in recent months.

It doesn’t matter whether we leave this year, 2011, or stay until 2020. When we leave, Afghanistan will become what it was before we entered the fray. Please let us not lose any more brave men and women in this futile war.

The question that burns uppermost in my mind is, why are we continuing Bush’s failed policies? Why are we not pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan posthaste? When we leave, those two countries will evolve into their natural states and it doesn’t matter if we stay there for six more months or six more years.

When Barack Obama was elected it was as if his predecessor hit him in the face with a bag of fecal matter. That’s what happened, folks. Our infrastructure is falling apart. Our roads need repair, our bridges are crumbling, and our teachers are being laid off. Students in our country go to school in substandard buildings in the inner cities, and all the money that used to be allotted to states and towns goes overseas to feed the maw of these two endless wars.

My fellow Americans: both these wars are finished, and it is time to get our soldiers out of harms way, and bring them home to their families. It is also time to stop pouring the United States’ vital budgetary resources into these losing causes.

Yes, the Afghan and Iraqi wars are finished. We may not like the way they have ended but it is an exercise in futility and death to continue. Bring our soldiers home. Then, use the money that is spilling into these useless wars to rebuild schools and rehire laid-off teachers, firemen, and police here in our country where we need them.

Even here in Massachusetts, our local agencies have been losing their funding in the fight against the spread of HIV as the United States shifts funding to other places, because our programs have been so successful. What people don’t realize is that for the programs to stay successful, the funding needs to be continue.

If the useless wars ended, we wouldn’t have to choose which area to fund — we could fund all the areas in this vital fight against the spread of viral illnesses.

But wait! Maybe the current dysfunction of the United States government is the viral illness that we need to work on. The recent budget fiasco is what caused the downgrading of our country by Standard & Poor’s.

Now I know the meaning of the saying, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Our congressmen, now on their August vacation as I write this, are all tuckered out from fiddling. They, especially the Republicans and the Tea Party, frittered about until the clock struck 12:00 and we all almost turned into pumpkins, if you know what I mean.

Congress doesn’t depend on Social Security and Medicare; they have their own medical and financial programs — and you can bet there is no shortage there. Maybe it’s time they joined the rest of us and depended on the programs we depend on. Maybe that is what it will take to stop these endless wars, bring our soldiers home and keep our budget in order.

By the way, don’t forget to vote. Just choose carefully. We have nothing to lose but our country.

MARC D. GOLDFINGER is a formerly homeless vendor who is now housed. He can be reached at Marc also has books on that can be downloaded for $2.99.

Marc D. Goldfinger is a member of the board of directors of the Homeless Empowerment Project, which publishes Spare Change news. Formerly homeless, he serves as the paper's poetry editor.

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