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January 10, 2014

KENT BLACKLIDGE: U.S. is not world's 'policeman' or 'savior'

Let's leave Afghanistan to the Afghan people

Is it any surprise we have political leaders who conduct wars for political gain, as Bill Gates, former secretary of defense, says in his new book?

This is not exclusive to one political party or another. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty. The last war to really save our freedoms was World War II. Since then, none.

Korea in the 1950s. That was one for the books. Thousands of lives later, we have a "truce" at the 48th Parallel. During the fighting, our political leaders would not let the military fight for a win. Their hands were tied. We were afraid of China coming into the conflict. One wonders why we were there in the first place and what, ultimately, was accomplished. There was nothing there that threatened our national security.

Then came Vietnam. Another one for the books. The "Domino Theory" at work. Our wise political leaders concluded that if we let Vietnam go to communism, there would be a march of communism across the globe. The French got out. We were there for years and years with great loss of life and no win. Ultimately, our country decided it was not worth it and left. I can see photos of the last helicopters leaving the U.S. Embassy in my mind. Again, nothing there that really threatened our national security.

Then 9/11 and the twin towers came down. This gave George W. Bush the excuse to attack Saddam Hussein and Iraq. Admittedly, Saddam was a tyrant over the country and the people therein, but Iraq had nothing to do with the attack on the twin towers. Bush and Cheney used that tragedy as an excuse. The reason is contained in one word, "oil". Otherwise, we had and have no interest in that country. And Saddam sure was no threat to our national security. He had no "weapons of mass destruction" and even if he did, no means to deliver them. We lost or maimed hundreds of troops in Iraq. Look what is happening there now: civil war between the Sunnis and Shiites. Was the cost to us in lives and money worth it? Our focus should have been on capturing or killing of Osama bin Laden, who was nowhere near Iraq. Shame on Bush and Cheney.

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