Letters to the Editor

Stop the killing

May 18, 2011


To the editor:

Anyone who knows the history of Afghanistan for the past 300 years knows that their religion and the rules that govern their lives are one and the same. Even those who have co-operated with us consider us infidels at best. No invaders have ever succeeded in bringing meaningful change to the basic way of life in Afghanistan and no one ever will unless they kill, at minimum, 27 million of their people.

Certainly the 500,000 Russian troops proved inadequate as did the British before them. We violate every principle they live by and attempt to rally support for a totally corrupt central power that is viewed as our puppet. Our true enemies are in Pakistan, but we invade the homes in Afghanistan and kill their men, women and children and those we do not kill we maim.

We blame the Taliban and say they are part of a conspiracy. Yet the Afghans welcome them as protectors fighting an occupying force. One thing everyone concedes is that 100 years with half a million troops would bring about no lasting change when we leave. So stop the killing now and save a lot of lives.


Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

Obama the war monger will not heed your words.

somedude20 6 years, 11 months ago

I like you, you make me laugh...thank you Frederick!!

Brock Masters 6 years, 11 months ago

Hey dude, right back at ya. Someone who gets my humor - about time!

cato_the_elder 6 years, 11 months ago

I respect the letter writer's sentiments, but Obama created a mammoth political problem for himself when, strictly for partisan political gain while running for office, he callously adopted Afghanistan is "the place where we should be fighting the war" rather than Iraq. This was asserted vigorously every time he spoke, and was done solely as part of his overall strategy not to run against John McCain, but against George W. Bush. Most of his fellow liberal Democrats privately disagreed but looked the other way because they knew it was good politics. Now Obama's stuck with it, and it's a stone around his neck.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

This reminds me very much of something I recently posted to a Facebook friend in India. Here it is, with some minor editing:

There's a problem with wars in general. In many if not most conflicts, both sides are fighting for their freedom. The problem is that both sides have very different ideas of what freedom is, and exactly what they want freedom from.

A significant example of that problem was the "police action" in Vietnam. At that time, Americans were fighting for our concept of freedom in that we were supporting the government in South Vietnam. That is, we took over after the French gave up enforcing their idea of freedom which they had been doing for I think over 100 years. What we were actually doing was attempting to install a system of government that we consider to be the best, which of course is our system. Americans seem to always consider people living under our system of government to be having freedom.

Meanwhile, the North Vietnamese government had massive popular support, because they stood for their concept of freedom, which was not described by a system of government. That is, they considered freedom to be basically this: Vietnam is for the Veitnamese people! FOREIGNERS GET OUT!

Well, the Americans were not willing to give up that easily, and spent countless amounts of money and lives and injuries in order to try to keep a system of government that was more to our liking that most of the Vientmese people seemed to NOT want. That is, they looked at it this way: WE SUPPORT ANY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT THAT WILL GET THE FOREIGNERS OUT OF OUR COUNTRY! THEN WE WILL BE FREE!

Well, the bottom line is that it is very difficult to install a system of government that the people don't particularly care for, and simply does not have the support of the surrounding countries such as China.

Some say that the war in Vietnam was really a war between the USA and China, and today that appears to be correct. A proxy war was being fought between the American system of government and the Communist system of government. The story is that the smaller wars were preventing a Nuclear War, which would be DISASTER for the whole planet.

It is very difficult to enforce a system of government on a country that either does not share the same values, or understand them.

It seems that the American government has developed a habit of trying to topple governments and install ones more to our liking. It has rarely worked! Look at the Middle East!

tolawdjk 6 years, 11 months ago

Wow. I'm not sure I have ever read such an extensive mis-interpretation of the situtation in Vietnam.

  1. The French cared nothing about freedom. The French cared entirely about re-establishment of their colonial empire. Vietnam was a cash cow for them and they were looking to start that back up. The world had changed post '46 and they didn't want to. The US actually gave France more money to support thier colonial dreams in SE Asia than we gave them for the actual rebuilding of France.

  2. Vietnamese Communism was not Soviet Communism and it was not Chinese Communism. In fact, there were many times the larger communist bloc hung the Vietnamese out to dry. Communism could have easily faltered in Vietnam -if- the West would have recognized their nationalist goals and played a bit more hardball with France, particularly after the Japanese left. Ho Chi Minh quoted the Declaration of Independance in one of his major speeches, hoping that the US would take notice and provided legitimancy to his efforts to unite Vietnam, not necessarily as a Communist country, but as a Vietnamese country.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

Sorry 'bout that!

I suppose my opinion was colored by Benny, a co-worker of mine from many years ago. He was a jet pilot for the South Vietnamese Air Force, so I guess he didn't know anything, and totally misunderstood what had happened in his home country. Most of what I noted above was his view of what had happened.

He was a refugee living in southern California when I worked with him.

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 11 months ago

This applies to very many situations: The populations of different countries have very different beliefs and values, and the first thing a person needs to know about a foreign culture is that you will never really understand it. You can attempt to, but you need to remember that you will not really be correct on many things.

I think that every country should be able to have a goverment that the people want, and not necessarily what the big countries want.

Because, people just don't consider themselves to be free unless their own leaders can select a system of government that works for that particular country, and that is very different for many countries.

All soldiers everywhere are fighting for their own country, and in most cases, the way they look at it is that if OUR country wins the war, then we will be free.

So, the soldiers on both sides are fighting for "freedom", but their concept of what freedom actually is is very different.

And, freedom from what? is very important also in that many populations just want the foreigners out. There are a lot of examples of that!

The bigger countries are trying to run the smaller countries, seems like, and until there is more of an attempt to understand different points of view, there will always be wars.

The above is no more than my own opinion.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 11 months ago

The Stench of Truth:

It's all about the poppies! Nothing else. Control of the world's heroin supply.

tbaker 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr. Hickam is naive. To start with, Afghanistan IS NOT a US war, it is a NATO war. In name only you say? Go there. Spend a year working in the two senior headquarters in Kabul and tell me after that experience what is going on over there is being driven by the US. It most certainly is not. Secondly - over the course of the Cold War "NATO" became synonymous with "Europe." If the US bails out of Afghanistan this will leave the balance of NATO holding the bag and they will quickly fail because minus the US the balance of NATO is an abject failure as a military organization. Europe (who gave PrezBO the Nobel Peace Prize) will make darn sure the US does not bail on NATO and effectively destroy the alliance in the process. Third - NATO military contracts to the 28 member nations are quite lucrative. Take the French company, The Thales Group, for example. Google them. Ever wonder why France wanted back into NATO so suddenly? Third - I do agree with the premise that any strategy based on an Afghan Central Government in Kabul is doomed to failure. This is true, but not because Afghan Central Governments in Kabul are hopelessly corrupt (they are). This is doomed because it is not in Pakistan's best interest to ever have a reasonably functional Afghan government, corrupt or not, working in Kabul. Pakistan has been and will continue to ensure whatever form of Afghan government there is in Kabul will remain ineffective and in constant turmoil or it risks having to share borders with two enemies. (Afghans don't like Pakistan anymore than Indians do) Lastly, the war's center of gravity really is in Pakistan, but Mr. Hickam misses the mark with his "enemies" assessment. The US came to Afghanistan to capture/kill Osama Bin Laden. We have stayed in Afghanistan (and will remain) because we need bases near Pakistan so we can move quickly in the event the Islamic militant psychos (aka the Taliban) ever overthrow the "legitimate" government of Pakistan and gain access to nuclear weapons.

My great grand kids will be serving in Afghanistan.

uncleandyt 6 years, 11 months ago

The war's center of gravity is in our silence, acceptance, and dis-informed cheerleading.

Abdu Omar 6 years, 11 months ago

The fact that bin Lauden was found in Pakistan is very significant. This is not surprising nor unexpected that they would harbor this criminal. But in a larger sense, can we see where our efforts to be Pakistan's friend and benefactor is an abject failure? Pakistanis don't want to follow the USA's lead on anything that is why they raised a fuss about our secret operation in their country. ButI am completely convinced that if the leaders in Pakistan knew about that operation, OBL would have escaped back into Afghanistan. They would have informed him. However, I was in Pakistan (Peshawar) in 1992, and the Afghanis were very friendly with the Pakis. They depended upon them for the basics of life since the Soviets destroyed everything. We crossed into Afghanistan very easily as there were no border guards and their lives were in ruin.
Then the Taliban came to power and they ruled the country with an iron fist. The people hate them, but they are powerless against them. They are an example of the worst of Islam not the best since they twist the Quranic meanings into what they want. This too, is prohibited and hated.

hujiko 6 years, 11 months ago

If Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan couldn't take Afghanistan, nobody can.

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