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General News    H3'ed 6/21/11

Obama Not Likely To Call For Major Afghan Drawdown

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OBAMA NOT LIKELY

TO CALL FOR MAJOR

AFGHAN DRAWDOWN

By Sherwood Ross

Four cheers for the U.S. Conference of Mayors! It has just voted up a resolution calling on Washington to transfer $126-billion in annual spending from its Middle East wars to America's cities! This vote represents an historic, antiwar breakthrough, one perhaps analogous to CBS anchor Walter Cronkite's commentary on February 27, 1968, that the U.S. could get no better than a stalemate in Viet Nam. As Cronkite put it, "...it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could."


We might hope Americans today will not have to endure further long years of losses in blood and treasure as did this nation in the Sixties and into the Seventies because Presidents Johnson and Nixon refused to withdraw even though the objective Cronkite rightly diagnosed the conflict as win-less and futile. Unfortunately, President Obama is not apt to listen to the mayors, either.


He is expected to deliver a speech tomorrow(June 22nd) calling for a mere token withdrawal from Afghanistan, where the cruel war drags on into its tenth year, making it the longest contest in U.S. history. That's despite a Bloomburg poll, one of many, that shows the American public by an overwhelming margin of 63% to 30% want "complete withdrawal." U.S. taxpayers are not only funding about 100,000 uniformed troops in Afghanistan but a like figure of civilian "contractors," who may be considered irregular regulars.


According to the Agence France-Presse dispatch of June 20, Obama "has to weigh rising popular discontent over the war with military and strategic considerations and may want to showcase faster withdrawals when he runs for a second term next year."


And Monday's Washington Post reported, " Senior Democrats in Congress, and many Republicans, have questioned the major troop deployments, called the costs unsustainable and urged a rapid withdrawal. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) has suggested that Obama withdraw 15,000 troops by the end of the year. "


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Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public (more...)
 
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