Dear President Obama,
I hardly know where to begin this letter... so I thought I would tell you that I am not writing to you as a committed Democrat. Nor am I writing to you as an outraged citizen. I am writing to you as a very troubled veteran of eight years enlisted service in our armed forces.
The young Marine that I once was, is now trapped inside of a man in early middle age, but still thrills to the sound of the trumpet. By that, sir, I mean that I still want our armed forces to do what they are designed to do: Go forward into battle and crush our enemies, and drive them before us. The middle aged man that I have lived long enough to become still wants that, but I want to do it wisely. I don't think that your proposed new strategy is wise.
As I understand your speech, the idea is to send these thirty thousand Marines and soldiers to Afghanistan in order to stabilize the country and give the Afghan government the time and space it needs to get it's act together and take care of it's own security, right?
In other words, it's the George Bush "surge". OK, I know you don't want to hear that, but that is what it is: A surge. A ramping up of forces to quell violence so we can declare "VICTORY"... and then leave a vacuum for the Taliban to fill from their havens in Pakistan.
I know that you are a smart man, sir. I know that you have to be aware that a reconstituted Taliban can be the only result, right? I mean, you can't actually believe that in the face of an additional 30,000 troops, and an as yet undetermined number of allied soldiers that the Taliban will waste time and lives in pitched battles that they can only lose. Right? You do know that they will cross the Pakistan border and wait us out, right? I know that you know this, because I refuse to believe that you think that the Pakistani army is going to crush them... despite all of the military aid that we give them.
This is my quandary, Mr. President. We are going to pacify the trouble spots in Afghanistan, temporarily, to allow us to declare honorable victory, and then let that country descend back into chaos. While I understand it, and while I am ok with departing and leaving the Afghan government to handle their own security, I am terribly concerned about the number of American and allied lives that will be spent in order for us to feel alright about the terrible cost of this war, that in the end will gain us little, if anything in terms of national security.
As I said in an earlier open letter to you, I can't support this. I can't support it because it ignores the strategic facts. I can't support it because it flies in the face of military reality. I can't support it because of the cost (in blood and treasure). I can't support it because of the lack of honesty.
We need to withdraw from Afghanistan now... not two years from now.
Very Respectfully Yours,