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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bob Herbert's "The Courage to Leave"

In an op-ed entitled "The Courage to Leave" in today's New York Times, Bob Herbert correctly makes the case that the U.S. should withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. Mr. Herbert concludes:

"In announcing, during a speech at West Point in December, that 30,000 additional troops would be sent to Afghanistan, President Obama said: 'As your commander in chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service.'

That clearly defined mission never materialized.

Ultimately, the public is at fault for this catastrophe in Afghanistan, where more than 1,000 G.I.’s have now lost their lives. If we don’t have the courage as a people to fight and share in the sacrifices when our nation is at war, if we’re unwilling to seriously think about the war and hold our leaders accountable for the way it is conducted, if we’re not even willing to pay for it, then we should at least have the courage to pull our valiant forces out of it."

But what about the responsibility of The New York Times for this mistake? The Times has obsequiously provided blind support for all of Obama's international missteps. A December 1, 2009 Times editorial stated:

"In his speech Tuesday night, President Obama showed considerable political courage by addressing that pessimism and despair head-on. He explained why the United States cannot walk away from the war and outlined an ambitious and high-risk strategy for driving back the Taliban and bolstering the Afghan government so American troops can eventually go home."

Sadly, as noted by Mr. Herbert, seven American soldiers died in Afghanistan on Monday (should this also be the basis for a U.N. investigation?), and American combat deaths in Afghanistan now exceed 1,000, as Karzai seeks accommodation with the Taliban (


[In an editorial dated June 13, 2010 entitled "Taking Stock in Afghanistan", the New York Times editorial board concludes: "Mr. Karzai is going to have to drop his illusions and commit to the fight" ( The New York Times editorial board still has expectations of Karzai? Who is being delusional here?]

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