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As to Afghanistan, this Thanksgiving it was ‘Thanks, but No Thanks.'

By       Message Ed Tubbs     Permalink
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"If you're going to Bazaar, Kansas, say from Palm Springs, once you're on I-35, you're gonna wanta take Kansas-177 north."

"It's nearly December. Palm Springs is lovely. Temperature.s in the mid-70s. Why do I want to go to anywhere in Kansas, let alone some lost burg called Bazaar?"

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"Just sayin, that,s all. If you want to go to Bazaar, that's the route."

The arguments concerning Afghanistan -- for US military actions and against them -- are much like that. Though the question about the road to and 'why' either never gets asked, or the rationales are just as weak as the presumption there could ever be a reason I'd head out in December to reach Bazaar.

In Black Friday's Washington Post, Fred Kagan, Director of Critical Threats at the American Enterprise Institute, and his wife, Kimberly Kagan, President at the Institute for the Study of War, write "In Afgthanistan, real leverage starts with more troops." (click here=newsletter)

Although I attended no Thanksgiving feast (I was invited to a grand effort, but elected "No thank you.") and said "Thanks" to no one -- or thing, I've actually a great deal to be thankful for.

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My election to defer attending our 55+ community's Thanksgiving dinner in the activity hall began slowly evolving more than a month ago. We've a few Republicans in the park, and I cannot locate any consistency of core principle, loathing to my core everything the GOP has become and stands for, that pretending those smiling "Hi! How are ya? Good morning" folks are not part and parcel of the rending that is a base mockery of every good and decent principle I want my country to cling to. And then to further pretend -- much more so to myself than to anyone else -- they and what they believe and vote on behalf of are somehow less objectionable . . . for the sake of a dinner.

Every possible nuanced rationalization for attending evaporated a few weeks back. A neighbor had happened by. The topic, whether Obama should or would send the 40,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan that General Stanley McChrystal requested , was fresh. The woman, a so called Obama Democrat opined that "He's got to. I'd rather fight them over there than here."

Several shards of broken glass pierced my brain simultaneously. 'That's so Fox News!' was one shard. It's natural follow-up springing compliment was 'You really that stupid: Fox News and a wholly insipid cliche' all in the same breath?' Those were my thoughts, left unspoken. How I actually responded was with an inquiry: "You've got a grandson. Have you asked him to volunteer?"

"Well Ed, you do know we have a voluntary military now, don't you?"

I raised the matter of Fred Kagan's op-ed for the same reason I'd resurrect Dick Cheney and his five draft deferments, and the conversation with the most un-neighborly neighbor. Google "Fred Kagan." Not only did the fellow, like Cheney, never serve in the military, let alone one of the two combat arms, unlike Cheney, Kagan was and is -- How to politely put this? -- so corporally unfit for military service; a circumstance that ought to be as a scarlet tattoo of utter and irredeemable shame etched on his forehead. As to the neighbor who is such via geographic proximity only, not only was the greatest threat that she ever faced to her physical well-being posed perchance by an errantly wielded potato peeler, she's unable to draw any connection between her disconnect on the use of US military forces and the fact each soldier and marine is a human being, not some X-Box avatar, and some patriotic moral obligation her perspective suggests she has to try and persuade her grandson to do his part by enlisting.

***

Remember the part about going to Bazaar, and how I said it was akin to troops -- more, less, same -- in Afghanistan? Not yesterday, or in George Bush's and every neocon's vicariously fulfilled hafnium wet-dream of glory, but TODAY, right this moment type of today: Why?

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To get rid of al Qaeda's presence there? According to every specialist in the region, including General McChrystal, within the entire 251,772 square miles that compose what is generally at best and kindest referred to as a country, there are fewer than 100 members of al Qaeda. Thus, if getting rid of that band of brigands was the reason for being there in the first place, it's been done. Now, can we go home?

No? They might return?

To that I offer the following vignette

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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