Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Come Home
. . . .

Come Home

Stephen Tuttle - May 9th, 2011
Come Home
Dear Mr. President:
Nicely done. We appreciate it. And we appreciate the outstanding efforts
of our intelligence community, our military and the bold members of SEAL
Team 6.
You are now hearing many voices telling you we’ve accomplished our mission
and we should bring the troops home.
I suggest we should bring the troops home not because the death of bin
Laden marks the end of our mission against terrorism but because it does
not. In fact, there is no end to this war and it is likely no such end
will ever occur during our lifetime.
Those engaged in these murderous activities are now part of a
decentralized group of individual cells located in dozens of countries.
There is no single place we can go to engage and defeat them. Their
fanatical zeal will never allow them to stop their violent rampages.
Additionally, this part of the world has been at war with itself and
others for at least 4,000 years and it is not likely they’ll stop whether
we’re in the region or not.
We’re sure someone must have explained to you that the prognosis for those
who invade the region is bleak. This lack of success has been going on for
a long time.
Afghanistan is ancient. Archeological digs have discovered traces of human
inhabitants from 50,000 years ago. Some form of urban civilization has
existed there since at least 3000 B.C. More to the point, Afghanistan has
been invaded, occupied and involved in some kind of conflict for as far
back as records exist.
Alexander the Great came rumbling through the area, made a brief stop, and
then moved along finding no real reason to stay. Genghis Khan visited,
too; raping, pillaging, plundering and destroying everything he and his
Mongols could find to destroy. They then moved along, too.
In more modern times, the British and the Russians played tug-of-war with
the place, neither gained much of an advantage and by 1920 neither
exercised effective control over the area and they left. A succession of
attempted governments followed, including a monarchy and several military
coups.
Then, the Soviet Union invaded in 1979 trying to support their Marxist
puppet regime which had come under fire from a religious insurgency. The
invasion was a bad idea.
We supported the anti-Soviet mujahideen, the so-called freedom fighters,
with money and arms. Osama bin Laden also supported them financially and
used that conflict to create and organize al Qaeda.
In nine years, the Soviets suffered at least 15,000 dead and 20 times that
number wounded. Then they went slinking back home, defeated, the invasion
serving as an important signpost on the way to their eventual collapse.
We are not likely to be the first to successfully occupy Afghanistan.
Iraq is not much better.
The Cradle of Civilization, with a history dating back to at least 6000
B.C., the area we now call Iraq has also seen an endless succession of
invading armies who came and saw but did not conquer.
It’s instructive to note the first war in recorded history, between Sumer
and Elam, took place around 2700 B.C. fairly close to what is now Basra,
in Iraq.
In more recent times, the British tried their hand as an occupying force.
They, along with the French, arbitrarily created the borders of modern-day
Iraq. They did not enjoy their stay in the country.
Winston Churchill, who was in charge of the Brits’ mess in Iraq long
before he became Prime Minister, might have made the most salient comments
about the area in a letter to then Prime Minister David Lloyd George in
1922, “Why are we compelled to go on pouring armies and treasure into
these thankless deserts?”
We know you inherited these wars, Mr. President. But you need not
continue them.
The fact is outposts of al Qaeda fanatics and their “affiliates” will
continue to exist and continue to undertake murderous missions. The
Taliban, always lurking in the mountains of Afghanistan, will also still
be around, desperate to return some country somewhere back to the 14th
century they so love.
We will never kill them all. Never.
But modern technology does allow us to remain hyper-vigilant and to
eliminate high value targets without the cost we now pay in blood and
treasure.
There is scant evidence that our staying in the area will help much,
either. The new Iraqi government is ineffective and ineffectual, a
conglomeration of folks without a clue of how to form or run a real
government. Afghanistan is even worse, a cesspool of corruption with
virtually no remaining infrastructure and with opium poppies as the
country’s primary source of income.
We’re not even sure those we now support will be allies in the future. We
may well be creating something even worse than what we’re replacing.
Remember the mujahideen we supported against the Soviet invasion in
Afghanistan? Many of them became the backbone of the Taliban.
In Afghanistan and Iraq we are now fighting the two longest wars in our
history. We’ve spent at least $1.3 trillion and suffered more than 47,000
dead and wounded in the effort. We’ve routed the Taliban in Afghanistan,
eliminated Saddam Hussein in Iraq and killed the symbolic leader of al
Qaeda. Despite all of that, the terrorists, who now kill just for the sake
of killing, are still there.
We can neither stay in the region forever nor protect them from themselves
indefinitely.
There is an old Arab saying: “We will sacrifice space for time.” The
tribal feuds into which we’ve injected ourselves have been going on for
millennia. They will continue with or without us.
Mr. President, it’s time for us to come home.
 
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