These are names of young Americans whose deaths were publicly announced the morning after President Obama’s message about our role in Afghanistan. President Obama has sacrificed their lives and others in a futile and extraordinarily expensive war. Ask their families if they think the president’s approach to troop withdrawal in Afghanistan is "balanced,” as advertised.
It was said about the Holocaust that the loss of 6 million lives cannot be comprehended; but reading about one, Anne Frank, say, makes the horror of that episode comprehensible. President Obama, who has had no personal involvement in any wars, should read about the lives of Cintron and Ibarra and Smith, and the others briefly reported and whose lives his baseless policy has snuffed out. Obviously his misreading of the Vietnam experience did not educate him satisfactorily to avoid making the same mistakes that President Lyndon Baines Johnson made. Ten years in Afghanistan; 1,600 American deaths; 12,000 wounded, and counting.
Yes, ours is a volunteer Army, and we need to rethink that policy. Without a personal stake in the military, the American public is slow to demand a halt to wars our leaders erroneously lead us into. But volunteers have the right to presume our political leaders will live up to their high- sounding, pseudo-patriotic promises to our military not to be careless with their lives before sending them off to unnecessary wars.
A majority of the American public realizes that we have no proper role in Afghanistan, and that we are squandering billions of dollars there that is badly needed here. His admirers expected the president’s policies to be wiser and more humane than they turned out to be. Interesting that the vice president, who was not considered the wise man of the presidential team, urged withdrawal this year, while his alleged intellectual superior has kept us in an endless, deadly morass.
Whatever is written about President Obama in future history books, and much can be said for his accomplishments, no doubt, the chapter on Obama’s war will cast a dreadful shadow.
Ronald Goldfarb is a Washington-based attorney, author and literary agent.