The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan apologized to Afghan President Hamid Karzai for a drone strike that killed a two-year-old child, and wounded two women, according to the U-T San Diego of December 1, 2013. The article further stated that Karzai condemned the attack and said all strikes and foreign raids on Afghan homes must stop if the United States expects him to sign a pact that would allow thousands of Americans to stay in the country beyond a 2014 withdrawal deadline.
According to nationalpriorities.org, we are paying $10.45 million dollars an hour for the war in Afghanistan.
More than 10 MILLION DOLLARS an HOUR, every hour, every day. For that, we get drone strikes that occasionally kill toddlers and women. For that we get soldiers that come back and have to wait for two years for their veterans benefits to kick in. For that we have soldiers with post-traumatic stress syndrome with ruined lives (see 60 Minutes of last Sunday).
We are propping up Karzai’s corrupt regime, only because the alternative seems worse to us: Total control of the country by the Taliban. We are fanning the flames of terrorism. One does not make friends with the father of a toddler when killing the child with a drone. While I don’t know the particulars of this case, it is quite possible that along with the two wounded women, the home of the family was also destroyed. These people don’t have Progressive Insurance to come over and replace their houses when American rockets level them. This unfortunate “incident” as we call it, necessary collateral damage to “keep America safe” may have destroyed a man’s livelihood, taken away his house and all his possessions, killed one of his children and injured two more women. One such incident turns that one father into a devoted terrorist for the rest of his life.
Drones are blunt weapons. Try to kill gnat with a sledge-hammer. Try not to do damage to the thing the gnat sits on. That’s what a drone strike in a civilian neighborhood is like. As long as there are drone strikes, there are civilian casualties, and they hurt the most.
For the $677 billion spent so far on the war in Afghanistan we could have given every citizen in Afghanistan (all 31 million of them) a cash sum of $21,838. Do you think the Taliban would have any chance for a foothold, if we had paid every family of four $88,000 in cash? The average income in Afghanistan is $426 a year, up sharply from $70 in 2004. The $88,000 would be 206 years of income, about what an Afghan family will earn in eight generations. For perspective, eight generations ago, that was the era of Thomas Jefferson in the United States!
From a minute fraction of the money we have spent and continue spending we could have BOUGHT the entire country and the eternal loyalty of its citizens for generations. Yet, here in 2013, we are no further along with the eradication of the Taliban, and its sponsorship of terrorism, than we were in 2004, ten years ago.
Karzai wants us to stop, he wants us out, and he is acting like he is doing us a favor by allowing us to keep forces in the country after 2014. I know he has to say that to stand up for his country, but it is galling nonetheless.
I say we stop the insanity, we withdraw all troops now, and let Karzai deal with his Taliban-infested, corrupt mess of a country himself. We’d have more friends in Afghanistan, and we could start spending $10 million an hour on the education of American children in American schools – and we’d get so much more bang for the buck.
Bush was responsible for starting the war – and with 9/11 one might argue it needed doing. Then Bush kept it going for another seven years. Obama is now responsible for five more years.
All this is done in the name of the American citizen. It’s done in my name, and I don’t like it.