Bring the troops home from Afghanistan

Events in Afghanistan and here at home since the “inadvertent” burning of Korans on a U.S. Army base show once again that the majority of Americans are right on target in their support for bringing the troops home.

As news comes out of Afghanistan about angry mobs and the killing of Americans, Afghans, and others, the GOP response has been to stoke the flames of more racism and anti-Muslim attitudes by portraying the president as a weak-kneed apologist to “dangerous, out-of-control terrorists.”

By implication, Republicans also feed into the Islamophobic lie about the president being a “secret Muslim.” Republican presidential candidates and their surrogates, like Franklin Graham, make such racial and religious bigotry part of their regular messaging.

They further hope to undermine the president by using the Koran-burning crisis to condemn his strategy of setting a timetable for withdrawal. That policy, they say, is the reason for all the trouble we are seeing in Afghanistan.

We don’t think the American people are going to fall for these arguments. We believe there is a deep understanding on the part of most people that the real problem is the deeply flawed Afghanistan strategy the U.S. has had from the very beginning of its unwarranted involvement there led by the Bush administration.

The flawed strategy is based on the incorrect premise that the United States can send in troops and occupy a nation in order to fight terrorism, when in reality military occupation increases terrorism. Plus, there are the one percent’s geo-political and economic motivations at work in occupying Afghanistan.

We see where that strategy led in Iraq – to nothing but disaster.

Some have argued that pulling out from Afghanistan will endanger Pakistan, turning that country over to “terrorists.” Those who argue that position, however, have given us not a single plausible explanation of how U.S. troops in Afghanistan can possibly have anything to do with keeping Pakistan “safe.” If anything, things in Pakistan grew worse after the arrival of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

The Republican argument that the reason for the trouble in Afghanistan is that the president, by announcing a withdrawal date, “gave away” our strategy is equally absurd. Afghanistan has been a disaster for us ever since we got involved there. It is a disaster now, and will continue to be a disaster for as long as we stay.

The American people know that to stop the killing in Afghanistan and to stop the loss of U.S. lives there is only one option. Get all the U.S. troops out of there and get them out now.

Photo: “Afghan cop looks at damage to vehicle in Jalalabad airport, which insurgents say was revenge for Koran burnings by U.S. troops.”    Rahmat Gul/AP