I am doing research for an article for a magazine. I have been speaking with troops directly in Iraq and Afghanistan on the front. I also speak with Veterans who have left the military who were in both these battle fields.
In general these men and women believe that we need to remain in Afghanistan. They firmly believe that both the Taliban and Al Qaeda remain strong forces. Their thoughts are that essentially these groups are organizations setup with a corporate structure. Many said it does not matter whether Bin Laden or any other leaders are dead or not, there are many second in command (vice presidents) who will take over.
They feel as strongly as we on the left about getting out of Iraq. Virtually every one of them I spoke to currently in the military and those who have returned believe it was wrong to go into Iraq and we need to be out ASAP.
We currently have 160,000 troops in Iraq and 50,000 in Afghanistan.
They know Bushco used 9/11, Al Qaeda, Bin Laden and The Taliban for fear mongering. They believe that he just exploited a situation that is real. Their thoughts are that both these groups are as strong or stronger than they were on 9/11.
Those in Afghanistan believe in what they are doing there and are very frustrated that Pakistan is not allowing them in their country to pursue the Taliban and Al Qaeda. On this battle front the men and women universally are committed to their cause.
Those in Iraq are completely discouraged and feel their training is being wasted and they are killing for no good cause. They know they are in an un-winnable war that is virtually a civil war within Iraq. The Iraqi government and military are NOT “stepping up to the plate” and taking the lead and doing their job. They should be preparing to take things over as we withdraw but are doing little to show signs of doing so.
In general the troops in Iraq would gladly go to do what they were trained to do in Afghanistan.
I have spoken to over 50 men and women who are in or were in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have spoke to officers as high as Majors. That is three promotions from General. They are of the same belief.
What are your thoughts on these issues? PLEASE TAKE POLL, THIS IS A LARGE PART OF WHY I POSTED THIS ESSAY. THANKS.