Tenth Anniversary of War In Afghanistan

Ten years ago today, October 7, 2001, then President G.W. Bush announced we launched military strikes in Afghanistan. Here is the text of his speech.

It's now the longest war in U.S. history. More than 2,000 U.S. service members and several thousand civilians have died. Here's the cost of the wars in dollars.

According to Pro Publica, here are the differences between Obama and Romney on Afghanistan. Here are Mitt Romney's positions Iraq and Afghanistan over the years.

17 of Romney’s 24 special advisors on foreign policy served in the Bush-Cheney Administration.

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    Sadly, its the eleventh anniversary (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by scribe on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 05:49:32 PM EST
    and not the tenth.

    You should also note the number of Romney advisors who were in the Bush-Cheney administration and advocates for or helped bring into being the Bush-Cheney torture regime.  Last I checked, it was something like 18.

    Yes, I was (none / 0) (#2)
    by Zorba on Sun Oct 07, 2012 at 06:11:42 PM EST
    Rather puzzled at the "tenth." Unless I got catapulted into the future, and it's still 2011.
    I agree about the Romney advisors, scribe.  Some people (in fact, way too many people) refuse to learn from history.

    Oh, they learn (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by scribe on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 05:43:27 AM EST
    It's just that they learn the wrong lessons.

    They learn "don't get caught" instead of "don't do that in the first place".  For starters.


    lol. They've learned plenty from history. (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Mr Natural on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 08:26:18 AM EST
    Doesn't our military industrial war machine continue to profit?

    I've decided that some people think (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 08:58:32 AM EST
    history can learn from them; they believe that the only reason some plan or policy didn't work the first 10 or 100 times it was implemented was either because no one listened to their advice, or, the incompetence of others prevented it from being successful.  

    Where you and I see insanity fueled by colossally over-inflated egos, they see a world filled with people of inferior intellect who will never understand the greatness they have to offer.

    That's some ego, huh?


    kind of like (none / 0) (#11)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:16:45 AM EST
    the people who like to argue that no where in the world has Marxism actually been given a real trial. D'OH!  Yup, someday somewhere communism is going to be a great economic system.

    It's the 1st anniversary of the 10th anniversary! (none / 0) (#12)
    by RonK Seattle on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:20:45 AM EST
    I went (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 04:50:10 AM EST
    to the link in which we were to find the differences between Obama and Romney on Afghanistan.

    I couldn't find any.

    The only thing I saw was that Obama says we'll be out 2014 (!) and Romney says we'll be out by 2014 if the situation on the ground permits.

    Since I have seen withdrawal dates come and go, I put little stock in the caveat or lack of caveat.

    As for the rest, Obama was as gung ho as anyone when he sent 30,000 more into the fray shortly after assuming office. Now they're out. Whether they are "home" or not is a question to which I have yet to find an answer.

    We are leaving in 2014 under Obama (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 09:44:50 AM EST
    Different policies are being implemented within the military too that are starting the downsizing.  With Obama you are out of Afghanistan in 2014, Mitt says he would the same but how many times have candidates campaigned on pulling troops only to become President and completely do a 180.  After Nixon and Bush II  I trust no Republican on the issue of ending wars.  And when you take a look at the Wolfowitz NeoCons in senior positions in the Romney campaign you can't believe an effing thing they tell you about Afghanistan.

    One policy that is being implemented right now that I know about first hand is that military pilots are no longer receiving waivers to fly while taking antidepressant medication.  Many many of the pilots who flew combat these past eleven years have developed generalized anxiety disorder.  They have waivered certain drugs for them to use and still maintain flight status.  They are pulling it, they project not needing these extremely trained pilots.  Because they can no longer fly they must find an MOS that will take them or become part of the downsize too.  You are leaving Afghanistan under Obama.


    And on cue, and just before the Biden/Ryan (none / 0) (#9)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:07:13 AM EST
    debate, Mitt Romney is giving a speech on how we should be handling the various things going on in the Middle East.

    David Dayen:

    In a speech today at the Virginia Military Institute, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will commit to arming Syrian rebels, and will attribute the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi to the "same forces that attacked our homeland on September 11th, 2001," which under the still-active Authorization to Use Military Force commits the United States to military action in that country.

    From the speech (released by the Romney campaign):

    I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf the region--and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination. For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions--not just words--that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated [...]

    In Libya, I will support the Libyan people's efforts to forge a lasting government that represents all of them, and I will vigorously pursue the terrorists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi and killed Americans [...]

    In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets. Iran is sending arms to Assad because they know his downfall would be a strategic defeat for them. We should be working no less vigorously with our international partners to support the many Syrians who would deliver that defeat to Iran--rather than sitting on the sidelines. It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East.

    And - surprise! - the Etch-a-Sketch gets shaken once again so Romney can change his policy on Israel.

    Dayen again:

    Later in the speech Romney will endorse the two state solution for Israel and Palestine that he completely disavowed in a secretly-taped fundraiser in May. And he sees free trade as a route to foreign policy success, criticizing the President for not signing "one new free trade agreement in the past four years" (Obama has signed three agreements previously negotiated by the Bush Administration with Panama, Colombia and South Korea, and is in the midst of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a NAFTA for Asia that would be the biggest in decades).

    Dayen calls it, overall, "the Obama approach with a little more energy to it."  

    Oh, frabjous day!


    Heh! (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:47:44 AM EST
    If Romney gets in my husband can get a $60,000 signing bonus.  If Obama gets in, we have too many W5's with nothing to do. You should see how difficult life can get when you have too many W5s with nothing to do.  My husband has been driving the backhoe around that he bought his son-in-law and he likes it.  I told him if he wants to play in dirt and be a part of building different things.....please do it!

    If Romney gets in I'll get the speech about how he can't allow all these young soldiers go alone.  Then he will take his signing bonus and build a 3 car garage to protect the "stuff" during hurricane while he's gone.

    They are studying if he is deployable right now with his RA, but he takes good care of himself.  He is only going to score maybe 20% disabled under their scoring and that's probably deployable.   If Romney gets in it's just more war for everyone and no downsize.

    Many people in the military have been worried just lately about getting out because the DOD jobs aren't being hired for right now either, when positions are vacated replacements aren't being hired right now.  Everyone started feeling the heat and pressure from the beginning of the downsize this summer.  I thought that Obama was going to swing the military vote again but with military affiliated being as frightened about their future as they are and no jobs to go into.....I think Romney will swing the military affilated vote.


    Seeing (none / 0) (#13)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 11:52:54 AM EST
    things from your point of view, and the point of view of a deployable military person is eye-opening.

    I am really at a loss for words.


    I have made myself very clear (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 12:16:53 PM EST
    That this household is proObama.  I'm just telling you how it is on the ground for the military and GS and DOD employees right now.  Many people were optimistic about downsizing, but there are no jobs for them out there.  They see that now. Many began looking for different emplyment to migrate into and there isn't anything out there for them.  They have to feed their families too.  Romney is talking about no downsize.  They are probably going to vote Romney now.

    It is high time someone opened your eyes (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Politalkix on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 01:47:54 PM EST
    You and Dadler and Robot Porter have long lost the ability to convince even someone like me, who is on the left side of the political spectrum (after completing a survey posted here, I found out that I agreed 94% with Dr. Jill Stein and 74% with Pres. Obama regarding their stated policies)about almost anything, because of your very simplistic view about the world.
    This link provides the percentage of veterans as a percentage of the civilian population. A large percentage of the veteran population find employment in defense sector jobs (that are spread across all 50 states) after they are released from active military service. In an age where most manufacturing jobs have been offshored, defense sector manufacturing jobs are a good percentage of manufacturing jobs that have remained in this country (for national security reasons). These jobs have a ripple effect on local economies across our country because of the numerous other jobs they support.
    It is really difficult to downsize defense spending without causing a large scale increase in unemployment in the short term. However, the Obama administration has been really progressive on this issue. They are scaling down our military interventions across the world in a responsible way (ended Iraq involvement and will end Afghanistan involvement in 2014). They are encouraging defense contractors to invest heavily in space exploration and use some of the technologies created to develop jobs in the commercial world. Ofcouse, these things will be missed by you and those who never tire about promoting false equivalencies.

    Response. (5.00 / 2) (#19)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:37:08 PM EST
    A. I am not trying to convince you or anybody about anything.
    I express an opinion from time to time about what I have read or heard.

    B.  And speaking of "false equivalencies":
    When I hear Obama say, as he did in the debate with Romney in Denver:

    "On Social Security, I suspect we have a similar position."

    I hear him equating his position with that of Romney.
    What do you hear?


    Since there is the possibility (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:00:16 PM EST
    That my husband could be found non-deployable, during on duty hours he must attend certain classes right now on his benefits and finding work outside the military.  Spouses may attend as well and I have when I could.  He still missed a few classes because HE was teaching, but they hold the same classes monthly and he will take those next month.

    Of those who could voluntarily leave service right now only about 40% do, that was told to me in the class.  The employment situation is BLEAK for the ex-military.  I think many of our younger soldiers would gladly migrate into something in the private sector but there isn't anything there that wants them.  The Afghanistan mission is a mission that doesn't conflict morally for most Americans, it isn't a meat grinder, when there are no jobs for you the military looks pretty good....looks damn good.....looks like the only game in town for most of them.  For DOD and GS employees, they never intended to work in the private sector so they are always going to vote for the candidate that promises to keep the Pentagon fat no matter what,  though many of them are tea partiers.  I still haven't figured that $hit out.


    Well, with unemployment hovering (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:27:07 PM EST
    near 8% with war, it just stands to reason that it can do nothing but go up without it.

    I'm not a big fan of military conflict of any kind, and I'm getting kinda tired of feeling like we have to find a bunch of nails to pound because we bought all these hammers that aren't being used enough, and if we don't, well, someone's going to take a lot of those hammers away.  

    And we can't have that.  

    when you think about it, if we're thinking about the problem being all these personnel out on the street looking for jobs, doesn't that make the military just another government-funded jobs program?  

    So...if we have to find something for all these people to do, and pay them to do it, why isn't there - hasn't there been - a plan to re-deploy excess personnel, and excess funds into some government-funded infrastructure projects?  If your husband loves big construction equipment, seems to me that with the rest of his skills, he'd be pretty darn perfect for some of the work that needs doing here to shore up or replace the roads, bridges, schools and other public structures that are falling down and falling apart because we keep being told there's no money to fix them.

    Hire civilians with some of that money - and by "civilians," I don't mean "private contractors" - so if war breaks out, projects don't have to be abandoned.

    Honestly, some days I feel like there isn't a creative brain cell to be found among all the supposedly big brains that are running things these days...


    Anne, have you missed (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by Politalkix on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:12:34 PM EST
    how the President keeps asking repeatedly to pass a bill that will invest in infrastructure at home-building bridges, schools, hiring teachers, firefighters, etc. However, the Democratic Party does not control the House of Reps anymore. Today's Republicans are not Eisenhower Republicans (or even Dole Republicans); they do not believe that the government should be hiring people to build and maintain bridges, roads, schools, etc. They want everything (roads, bridges, schools, prisons, etc) to be turned over to the private sector.
    Just look at the things that are happening in states with even "moderate" Conservative Governors. link. What should you do under these circumstances?

    No, I haven't missed it. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:27:42 PM EST
    But I also haven't missed that the president's buy-in on deficits has made it harder to argue for pretty much any kind of government spending that isn't attached to the Department of Defense.

    I also get that the composition of the Congress doesn't help, but I'm not altogether certain it would matter much if the entire Congress comprised Democrats.

    Just seems to me that dumping a whole lot of skilled, able-bodied, want-to-work individuals into an already too-full unemployment pool when there are projects going begging and the money in the defense budget to re-allocate to them is just the height of stupid.

    There doesn't seem to be much interest in smart these days, so stupid wins the day.


    If Obama and the other democrats (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:38:57 PM EST
    put it the way Anne just did, it seems like the republicans would have a pretty damn hard time refusing.  It's all in the sales pitch.  Seems to me Obama and the democrats, my party as long as I have been voting, are not all that enthusiastic about doing the right thing for the people anymore then republicans are.  

    Every jobs bill has died (none / 0) (#32)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:02:26 PM EST
    That isn't the President's fault.  The Repubs even filibustered the Vet's jobs bill and it got no play in the press, nobody even noticed.

    No, it wasn't the President's fault (none / 0) (#33)
    by sj on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:12:19 AM EST
    that the Vet's jobs bill died.  However he could have changed the fact that the filibuster got no play in the press.  The Bully Pulpit was there and gathering dust.  

    This is true (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:19:53 AM EST
    And the President has always had a difficult time being a fighter and outing people for their misdeeds so that there would be social consequences.  I don't understand that about him.  I probably never will.

    I find Obama to be increasingly (5.00 / 3) (#37)
    by Anne on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 01:35:23 PM EST
    detached from the nuts and bolts of governance - I truly do not think that that aspect of the job has much appeal for him.

    Yes, he seems energized on the campaign trail, but in a debate hall where everyone present is on "mute," there is no energy transfer from the audience to the president and he just seems uninspired, and kind of irritated that he's even having to be there at all.

    This is a president who, I think I read, hasn't given a presser since March.  I just find that astounding, on a number of levels.  He's happy to bounce up the stairs of a stage in Dubuque to thunderous applause, but when it comes to standing before the people and letting them in on what's happening to their country, he's just not that into it.

    Biden better be bringing his A+ game tonight against, as Charlie Pierce refers to him, the "zombie-eyed granny starver," because if he doesn't and Obama has another debate appearance where he looks like a month-old helium balloon, I think he could be in trouble.

    And believe it or not, that prospect doesn't please me as much as some people think it would.


    I see brooklynbadboy has a diary up (none / 0) (#35)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 09:30:43 AM EST
    at Orange discussing the low information voter.  I am not the low information voter and neither are you.  I ask myself if that is who must be focused on in order to win these days, and the low info voter probably doesn't give a crap about veterans work bills nor understand that when we do things that put more dollars into the mainstreet economy that that improves demand and puts even more people back to work.

    I tell myself that these people are too busy, but that isn't it either.  My cousins knew all along who they wanted to vote for.   One of my cousins is insanely greedy and so self centered it sucks spending holidays around her...the Republican Party is her party, the party of bullies.

    My other cousin is the opposite extreme and always gives too much, ends up with the short end of the stick and then angry and sees others as always getting over.  Wouldn't know how to act if things ever turned out different for her....the Republican Party is her party, they will never disappoint her in her endeavor to never catch the car.


    MT (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Politalkix on Tue Oct 09, 2012 at 10:11:20 AM EST
    I checked brooklynbadboy's diary and agree with him. In my opinion there was an epic miscalculation on the part of BHO and his political advisors that if Romney and the President were seen agreeing on some stuff and the President was seen as polite and civil, Romney's nut case base would stay home on election day while BHO could keep his voting base intact and add a few non committed voters in swing states.
    A section of the white woman vote has always been a swing vote. Kerry lost them in 2004. BBB may be correct that they do not follow politics and policies very closely. They may just make their decisions about who to vote for based on who their perceive to be a "fighter" and has a "winner" demeanor. BHO has to get this swing voting bloc back.

    This is true (none / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:17:43 PM EST
    He couldn't get a nickel to save my grandma's life at this point.

    It is a government funded jobs program (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:53:40 PM EST
    at this point.  But you will never ever get any winger or Republican to admit that.  It is all about protection and patriotism and to say that right now it is a government funded jobs program will only make Trace Adkins write a song with a video that has flag draped coffins in it and you starring as a big boob :)

    But it socially is in many ways right now.  And Romney is using it for that too dog whistle style, because he is a Republican therefore he can get away with it and it will only make his base cheer louder and harder.

    It would be the same to use some Pentagon monies to create some different jobs that weren't about war, but we can't do that because Murika....Sochulizm, people start screaming and the government can't make a real job without you risking your life...and yadda yadda yadda who let the dogs out?  It would be a street brawl and our President, he isn't a street brawler.  He never was and maybe he never will be.  I keep waiting for him to turn his brawl on, but it never happens.

    Real regulation creates real jobs too, but uh...well....trying to get anyone to understand that is impossible.

    Everyone receiving regular preventative care and regular physicals and checkups is a giant job creator too, but it is also impossible to get anyone to understand that either so foo.  Give you $50 to run Frank Luntz over in a cross walk.  I'll swear that I startled you as a practical joke.  What can they get me for?  Manslaughter? I guess we should have done it in Tampa :)


    Also, anyone who thinks Mitt (none / 0) (#23)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 03:16:14 PM EST
    Is just going to allow the Pentagon to be the bloated whale that it is has another think coming.  Romney is an investor, and all investors are focused on our debt.  The giant U.S. debt may not have much affect on you or I but the those billion dollar big guns are going to lose money if they can't get this debt slashed.  I think total, Republican Presidents have closed more bases than Democrats.

    Right now though Romney can say exactly what he is saying and he has all the credibility saying it in the world.


    MT, the situation (none / 0) (#26)
    by sj on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 04:08:45 PM EST
    has been BLEAK for the private sector for quite some time.  Years.  I moved across the country to be able to barely standstill because it was so bleak.

    I'm not surprised that military jobs look damn good.  In fact, I know what you say is true -- it's why my nephew enlisted.  But put aside any goals or views on Foreign Policy as it relates to Afghanisatan or Iraq and look at the the soldiers purely as citizens of the United States.  Workers who could be laid off when their contract expires.  It is the same thing that we all face.  Admittedly few prospective employees who are not veterans suffer from PTSD so there's that.  I don't even know what to say about it.

    A tangent:  I moved to Maryland from the heart of Denver.  During rush hour certain intersections had regular pan-handlers most of whom (seriously, most, not an exaggeration) were Viet Nam vets.  I remember walking past one of the major intersections shortly after the invasion of Iraq and thinking "we're creating the next generation of damaged military vets".

    It is to weep.


    I'm not making any judgements (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 05:44:30 PM EST
    Just explaining why I think the military affiliated are going to swing hard Romney.  Harder than I would have ever guessed six months ago.

    Lost the ability (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 02:58:16 PM EST
    to convince you of what?  Of using your brain or your intuition?  It's clear from the way you berate and smear and condescend to and downrate commenters you disagree with that you made your mind up about... whatever... long ago.  Now suddenly you're all sanctimonious because someone can't "convince" you?  



    lol (none / 0) (#29)
    by TeresaInPa on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 06:49:21 PM EST
    I think the shrinks would call this projection on your part.  
    Sucks when people have opinions you don't like, huh?

    Oh my dear (none / 0) (#30)
    by sj on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:20:37 PM EST
    Sucks when people have opinions you don't like, huh?
    It is a situation I am completely comfortable with.  I am an admitted socialist, populist, ACLU joining, union supporting, bleeding heart liberal of the old school.  How many people do you think really share most of my views or opinions?  Often Zorba and I are on the same page, but that's about it.  Everybody has opinions I don't like.  Even people I like very much.  It seems perfectly fair to me -- you know, reciprocity and all.

    I don't need people to agree with me.  I just prefer when

    1. another's views are based on reality and not on childhood impressions or on the really worst debunked "science" or on personal bias .  (I say that knowing that bias is always a factor.  I can't help but be a factor).
    2. someone is not trying to shove his/her opinion down my throat.  
    3. someone uses "we liberals" when laying out a view that would fit right in to the right hand side of any Republican platform of the last thirty-five years.  (In that time period, some of the Republican planks had an almost liberal perspective to it)

    Yeah, I think that's mostly it.  There are other little factors that hang from these, but that's about it.

    A clarification about this (none / 0) (#31)
    by sj on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 07:36:09 PM EST
    1.another's views are based on reality and not on childhood impressions or on the really worst debunked "science" or on personal bias
    I want to be clear that I understand that two or more people may not reach the same conclusion from the same bit of data.  In fact, two people are unlikely reach the same conclusion from the same data.  It all depends on one's predispositions and experiences.

    I think views live on a spectrum and not in tidy little boxes.  

    For example, I likely wouldn't respond to your drug decriminalization posts except for your gateway drug beliefs which send you off onto a really rigid judgemental tangent.



    Out by 2014. (none / 0) (#14)
    by lentinel on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 12:08:13 PM EST
    With Obama you are out of Afghanistan in 2014, Mitt says he would the same but how many times have candidates campaigned on pulling troops only to become President and completely do a 180.

    Speaking of which:

    In a December 2009 speech, Obama simultaneously announced a "surge" of 30,000 soldiers and a pledge to begin the withdrawal of U.S. troops by July 2011.

    And here we are two years later and counting on something happening after another election.

    Incidentally, who would you guess said this?:

    "Every gun that is fired, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed...."

    It was Eisenhower - a republican in the process of ending the Korean war.

    Romney ain't no Eisenhower. But for me, the issue is not so much which party a candidate belongs to, but how committed they are to a process of peace and negotiation.

    If Romney were to get in, it will be because Obama has left the door wide open for him.

    Why he has done so is an issue for arguments in bars, in blogs, or possibly the office of a psychiatrist.


    This one goes up to 11 (none / 0) (#8)
    by rdandrea on Mon Oct 08, 2012 at 10:07:02 AM EST
    It should have been over at one.