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Commander-in Chief AWOL – Obama “Fiddles Around” While American Troops Lose Heart

October 8th, 2009 . by TexasFred

Commander-in Chief AWOL – Obama “Fiddles Around” While American Troops Lose Heart

Bill Smith, ARRA Editor: Before proceeding it is only right to say that as a 22 year veteran, I am by nature a “hawk” and support all efforts to stop the enemies of America. However, I already saw one war – the Vietnam War – mired down by bureaucracy and lack of direction. [For those who prefer using the term "Vietnam Conflict," tell it to the American families, friends of the veterans who served and lost 58,159 comrades in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia plus all those who died from war related issues after that "conflict."]

Most career military have served under Presidents with whom we did not politically agree. Some Presidents were more competent than others. Most Presidents and Defense Secretaries who had not served in the military have made decision or failed to make decisions that resulted in the wasting of military resources and lives. Although not always understood by the general population, military leaders clearly understand that the military is both a tool in defending America including America’s economic interests and a tool of diplomacy. However, when a president lacks declared interest or focus during a time of war – or major deployments with people at risk, military casualties increase and troop morale suffers and leads to more losses.

The Times Online is reporting a story about “American troops in Afghanistan losing heart.” It is like “deja view” – a scene from the past when leadership and adequate direction was not shown by prior Commander-in-Chiefs and Secretaries of Defense. A few excerpts from the article:

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban [sic, Taliban]. Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, . . . “They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,� . . . “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.� The soldiers are, by nature and training, upbeat, driven by a strong sense of duty, and they do their jobs as best they can . . . admitted that their morale had slumped.

“We’re lost — that’s how I feel. I’m not exactly sure why we’re here,� . . . “I need a clear-cut purpose if I’m going to get hurt out here or if I’m going to die.� . . . Asked if the mission was worthwhile, . . . “If I knew exactly what the mission was, probably so, but I don’t.� The only soldiers who thought it was going well “work in an office, not on the ground�. In his opinion “the whole country is going to s***�.

The battalion’s 1,500 soldiers are nine months in to a year-long deployment that has proved extraordinarily tough. Their goal was to secure the mountainous Wardak province and then to win the people’s allegiance through development and good governance. They have, instead, found themselves locked in an increasingly vicious battle with the Taleban [sic, Taliban].

They have been targeted by at least 300 roadside bombs, about 180 of which have exploded. Nineteen men have been killed in action, with another committing suicide. About a hundred have been flown home with amputations, severe burns and other injuries likely to cause permanent disability, and many of those have not been replaced. More than two dozen mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs) have been knocked out of action.

Living conditions are good — abundant food, air-conditioned tents, hot water, free internet – but most of the men are on their second, third or fourth tours of Afghanistan and Iraq, with barely a year between each. . . . The men are frustrated by the lack of obvious purpose or progress. “The soldiers’ biggest question is: what can we do to make this war stop. Catch one person? Assault one objective? Soldiers want definite answers, other than to stop the Taleban [sic, Taliban], because that almost seems impossible. It’s hard to catch someone you can’t see,â€? . . .

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