National Commentary

They’re Dead, Let’s Leave

Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are dead. Can we come home now from Iraq and Afghanistan? Not likely. World War II troops who occupied Germany and Japan have been refreshed over the years and still occupy those countries. We also have some 700 plus military outposts around the world.

Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are dead. Can we come home now from Iraq and Afghanistan? Not likely. World War II troops who occupied Germany and Japan have been refreshed over the years and still occupy those countries. We also have some 700 plus military outposts around the world.

It is time to declare victory and pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite our excuses, it is expected that our troops will remain in both countries for years to come.
Some elements in these countries will urge the U.S. to continue their occupation. The locals who have cooperated with the American military probably fear reprisals. Others, including top government officials, have profited from our lengthy stay and want us to remain there. If we withdrew our troops, we could save billions of dollars for immense needs at home. We could also solve some of the debt problems now plaguing the country. And we could get our own house in order, by coping with our domestic monetary problems.

We would be able to bolster the treasury and should lay on a big tax increase for the very wealthy, especially billionaires, who have not been asked to sacrifice their lives and have off shore tax shelters for their profits.

The U.S. has a falling down infrastructure – the roads, highways and schools are badly in need of repair. The New Dealers were smart enough to provide jobs during the Great Depression with public programs and Keynesian deficit spending to repair decaying public facilities.

This time around the country remains steady at 8 percent unemployment. But the President has not proposed any new spending programs. He is obviously hamstrung by the huge debt. However, the President has a lack of vision of how to deal with these problems.

On the other hand, Obama is reveling in the successful attack on the Pakistani compound of bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 catastrophe which took more than 3,000 lives at the World Trade Center in New York. And he now has the praise of his critics and potential rivals in the upcoming Presidential race of 2012.
His critics had faulted him for being “weak” on national security matters. But Obama had the upper hand when he and his national security team watched the Navy Seals fatally shoot the unarmed bin Laden. They watched from the White House situation room. Some believe it would have been preferable to capture the terrorist leader and force him to stand trial. But more details of the “secret operation” conducted in Islamabad, Pakistan – unbeknownst to any Pakistani secret agency – are expected to be revealed as time goes on.

Islamic religious rituals were preformed on bin Laden’s body before he was dumped in the Arabian sea. Officials explained that they did not want a burial shrine to be created for the former al Qaeda mastermind’s devoted followers.

Bin Laden’s death has left many questions. One is whether a leaderless al Qaeda will continue terrorist attacks in the western world. In addition, the secret operation caused a riff between the US and Pakistan, and has left some questions on why the Pakistanis obviously harbored bin Laden without telling the U.S. There are reports that bin Laden had lived in the compound for some five years.

There is obviously a need for the U.S. and Pakistan to hash out their relationship. U.S. officials have gone out of their way to paper over the differences that have been exposed by the US intrusion into Pakistani sovereignty. The two allies are dependent on each other for their military operations. The U.S. has provided billions annually to Pakistan, and some congressional critics are questioning the aid to Pakistan.

The U.S. extracted information for its successful operation from prisoners who were interrogated over months. There have been some reports that the U.S. used torture.

Obama is basking in the all round praise for the successful mission to nab bin Laden a decade after 9/11.

The world is changing, especially with the so called Arab spring, in which rebels are trying to topple the strong men dictators in Libya, Syria and Yemen.
Hail to the Chief who is now the front runner in the 2012 Presidential race – and he is smiling.