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December 02, 2009

Surges, then and now

Amid all the hubbub about whether it's a good idea to set a date for when U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan, it's probably useful to point out that the Bush surge in Iraq (also 30,000 troops) had an end point to it that everyone knew when it started -- and it was just 15 months.

The first "surge" troops of the Iraq era began arriving in February 2007, and continued arriving at the rate of one brigade a month for six months. The first "surge" troops to depart Iraq began leaving in April 2008 and were bascially out at an even faster pace. As Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno pointed out in this August 2007 briefing, "The surge, we all know, will end sometime in 2008, in the beginning of 2008. We know that the surge brigades will leave at 15 months, so that will be somewhere between April and August of '08 when those units will leave based on the 15-month rotation."

The same "they'll-just-wait-for-you-to-go" rhetoric was around then. But Iraq just marked its most peaceful month since the U.S. invasion -- with U.S. troops basically confined to their bases.

There's still a lot of debate about whether Iraq will hold together when American forces are finally gone in 2011. That's when we'll know if the surge really worked. And Afghanistan isn't Iraq. But right now experience doesn't suggest a deadline has made matters worse.


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I believe that Pres. Obama Deserves the Benefit of the Doubt..., Here's why!

After great Deliberation and personal Agony 9 in the dead of night, meeting the draped casket of a fallen soldier), Pres. Obama did allow for the Escalation of the "struggle" but Coupled it with an end date to this Struggle by military might and because of that (end date), I have Hope that the Long Nightmare of the twin wars, ignited by the twin towers will soon be over.

I saw in Pres. Obama a heart that bleeds for this decision for anyone whose heart center is open and active feels the pain of this task, yet, speaking with a Heavy Heart, I also heard in that speech the unspoken wish or Intent that he was going to also bring Bin Laden to justice ( the great Prize and Symbol)! I also heard the great Urgency he feels to bind up all loose nuclear threats and to prevent them from getting into those hands within Afghanistan and Pakistan which might annihilate the world as we know it. He has not made this this "call to arms" for Oil or for profit based upon a lie but a heartfelt desire to keep safe the people in the world, in the binding up of these nuclear threats to the world by this faction which he knows is still out there plotting to do harm! That in this way we are Standing up for Peace and that somehow we must go into Hell for a Heavenly cause.
I heard him also say to the Military Industrial Complex Machine that there will be an end date, and that it will not be open-ended, but that the battle for peace might call for other strategic ways to get to this goal -- that giving the benefit of the doubt to his generals -- he will try their way (since they are so much more knowledgeable about military than him).

As, he spoke about true security from a world without nuclear weapons (his real true goal), he also spoke about the need to unite with the world to accomplish this task because in truth, terror and nuclear weapons is a world problem! And finally, he called us to the time after 9/11, when we were all united but got deviated from the course, but to return to that Unity of purpose, one more time.... and that if he is lucky, he will bring home the Prize, Bin Ladin, break the back of this threat, and then for the weary and battle scarred-soldiers they can look onward and say, well done -- yet, there's no place like home, there's no place like home!

Let us trust " that there is a goodness in all of life that cannot even be eliminated by thoughts that temporarily cause you to believe that negativity is the underlying reality of human life on earth... " (1) Let us call on that goodness to illuminate our way forward towards that peace and goodwill and seal the door where evil dwells.

1. Ron Scolastico. Doorway to the Soul

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