Peacetime is generally defined as any period of time where there are no violent conflicts occurring such as the time after World War II when for Western Europe and America there was no war. For most people, the idea of no war is a goal well worth achieving, and in fact, the rare times America was able to extricate itself from war, or a war came to an end, it was a time of relief, celebration, and using wartime expenses for the good of the nation. Republicans have a different opinion about wars than most Americans, and if one believes their rhetoric, they would keep America in a permanent state of war in several geographical locations at once.
After twelve years and seven months, it seems as if the unnecessary war in Afghanistan has gone on forever, and now that President Obama has set a timetable to finally bring an end to that war, Republicans are apoplectic the country may see a desperately-needed period of peacetime. The price of the Afghanistan war that poured billions onto the nation’s deficit is over $720 billion and counting, about $10.1 million an hour, 2,232 Americans killed, over 20,000 local Afghani civilians killed, and tens-of-thousands of combat veterans facing a lifetime of physical and psychological injuries that Republicans lust to increase.
The reaction from three Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee to the President’s announcement that America’s longest war was coming to an end was despicable and revealed that, in their minds, there is never a time to end war. Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, and Lindsey Graham said in a statement that the President’s decision was “irresponsible and a triumph of politics over strategy,” and a “a short-sighted decision that will make it harder to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly.” Stunningly, the three Republican warmongers repeated the same rhetoric George W. Bush used to perpetuate the Iraq and Afghanistan wars saying ending the war “will embolden our enemies and discourage our partners, and fuel the growing perception worldwide that America is unreliable, distracted, and unwilling to lead.”
The Republicans claimed that keeping combat forces in Afghanistan, presumably forever, would “preserve momentum on the battlefield and create conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict,” and that “any decision to end the war should be determined by conditions on the ground. The question is how the war ends.” The senators ended their end-of-war tantrum claiming that “wars do not end just because politicians say so, the president appears to have learned nothing from his disastrous decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Iraq. The war in Iraq has ended in tragedy.”
The warmongers are wrong on both counts; politicians do end wars just by saying “no more war,” and the Iraq war ended successfully for Americans weary of violent conflict halfway around the world. Period. It is worth noting, again and again, that the so-called disastrous Iraqi sectarian violence going on today began only after America invaded and destabilized the country and has continued unabated. There was no sectarian violence, no Iranian influence, and no al Qaeda presence in Iraq until George W. Bush set his sights on regime change in Iraq. American forces leaving Iraq had about as much to do with sectarian violence today as the civil war that General David Patraeus and his failed surge allowed to give Shia Muslims clearance to eradicate Sunnis from the embattled nation.
On CNN, conservatives S.E. Cupp and Bill Kristol claimed that “what is happening in Iraq will happen in Afghanistan. You know, we successfully went in with a surge. We pulled our troops out too soon and it has collapsed yet again into a den of terrorism. Why not commit to the job and leave when the job is done?” However, one thing Republicans criticizing President Obama’s decision yesterday could not elucidate now any more than during the entire Iraq or Afghanistan wars; what job? What is the mission? If it is defeating an insurgency, history shows time and time again that an invading army cannot defeat an insurgency; particularly in a country like Afghanistan that has been invaded, occupied, and conquered throughout its history only to revert to its natural state of perpetual infighting and tribal wars.
The American people are war weary and the nation is, and will continue to be, in debt for waging unfunded and unnecessary wars of convenience over ideology, resources, and imperialism. It is prescient that as Republicans claim this country can ill-afford to rebuild and repair its pathetic infrastructure, fund unemployment benefits, food stamps, or any other domestic programs, it can afford to continue spending $10.1 million an hour to stay in Afghanistan until “conditions on the ground determine when the war ends.” As President Obama said, “we have to recognize Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one.” It is high time that Republicans recognize that their sole responsibility is to do their jobs and make America as perfect a place as it can be and it starts with taking care of the Veterans their wars of choice created.
Republicans oppose spending even a fraction of the amount of money to conduct the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the Veterans those wars created. In fact, over the past five years Republicans opposed spending any money on anything for this country or its people because they claim the country was broke, but they never once flinched at the cost of the wars. Likely because their corporate donors in the oil industry and military industrial complex were the beneficiaries; the troops or returning Veterans certainly did not benefit from the Republican largesse for war. It is hardly unreasonable to expect Republicans to support spending the same amount of money on Veterans, domestic programs, or rebuilding America that that are willing to continue spending to conduct the war in Afghanistan.
Americans may have thought Republicans would be as relieved that the Afghanistan war is coming to an end as they are, but they would have been sadly mistaken. It is beyond belief that President Obama’s announcement that at the end of 2014 America will enter a rare period of peacetime was met with such criticism and disgust, especially when Americans are weary of the country’s longest and completely unnecessary war. What is seriously puzzling, is that support for the war in Afghanistan is reportedly at 20% of the population, but when one considers Republicans, neo-conservatives, and religious right warmongers love a crusade to kill innocent Muslims, it is surprising the support is not greater. However, the rest of America will love the idea of entering a rare period of peacetime after over thirteen years of war, and that certainly includes war weary combat troops.