Think of someone who you didn't invite to your house, but
who still shows up and, then upon entering, draws a gun and starts barking
orders. Well, when you recover from the shock, you might say, "Wait a minute,
this is my house, and you must leave." However your now ensconced "guest" loudly
announces, "I'm here, I intend to remain here as long as I wish."
That's how the shell-shocked people of Iraq and Afghanistan are feeling these days. Their uninvited houseguest has totally worn out his welcome, is becoming pushy, overbearing, and downright nasty to say the least. It's not been a good relationship as the houseguest has dominated and controlled every facet of your life during his stay that has now lasted for almost a decade. Will the unwanted intruder ever go home?
Can we in America even begin to realize what living in these two nations might be like after being subjected to an occupation by the most powerful military power in history? Can we further imagine trying to live from day to day when, at any given moment, you and your family might be the victims of bullets, bombs or even missiles fired by overhead drones? That's a living nightmare, one that has been going on since 2001.
No, I don't think any American could really imagine living in that kind of terror each and every day. If such horror ever came to our nation I and my fellow Americans would call it illegal, immoral, and unconscionable. We would call it a clear violation of international law and we would demand that the United Nations take immediate action to force the invading nation to cease its military actions. If the UN, as is often the case, failed to act, then you can be certain the people of America would rise up and use every ounce of energy to expel the invader. We would, in effect, become insurgents.
But, enough of this illogical thinking. There is no way that such a thing could ever happen to us because of the power of our military and our law enforcement agencies across America. Of course we have heard that such terrible things are happening in other nations but we can rest easy knowing that we are safe and there can be no massive attack and occupation of America.
Now, back to the story about the houseguest who just won't leave. As dire as this situation seems to be, and just when the owners of the house and property have given up hope that the unwanted guest will ever leave willingly, all of a sudden there are signs emerging that he may actually be thinking seriously about the possibility of going home. That had seemed like an almost impossibility but then again even if there is the slightest chance, then there is still hope.
Mark down July, 2010 as the month when the turning point in the occupation of Afghanistan may well have been reached. The signs indicate that the leaders of the U.S. realize that there is no way that they can win this war against an almost invisible enemy and that it is time to figure out how to exit Afghanistan. The dilemma that they face, however, is exactly how they can pull it off without leaving in a state of complete failure and humiliation. While there was no honor to be found in the act of invading these countries, it is imperative that we leave with some sense of honor and dignity.
Could this actually be happening? What are these signs indicating that a turning point has been reached?
*the Taliban is gaining strength and their offensive capabilities are much more sophisticated.
*there has been a significant increase in U.S. troop deaths and those wounded.
*the troops are getting war weary, psychologically damaged, many even suicidal.
*the chances of "success" are extremely low.
*the people of America are now sick of perpetual war.
*the U.S. wars are bankrupting our nation.
*the U.S. has no other viable option at this point but to exit.
The people in the know, well-informed on-the-ground journalists such as Richard Engel of NBC News have come right out and said that this turning point has been reached. Engel, on the Rachel Maddow show, made this very important point which makes a lot of sense. He indicated that Pakistan was the key to the entire issue of our withdrawal; it is poised to play a major role in any exit plan because of its strong ties and complex relationships with the resistance factions in Afghanistan.