Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 10, 2014

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

Let's leave Afghanistan to the Afghan people


Kokomo Tribune

---- — 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.

Now we are still bogged down in Afghanistan. The Russians were there for 10 years before us. They went home with some help to the Afgans from us. Then we decided to "save" the country from the Taliban. We have been there now for more than 10 years with no end in sight. Again, nothing to gain and only to lose or maim hundreds of our troops. Afghanistan is no threat to our national security. It has no air force and no navy capable of reaching North America. What are we doing there? Afghanistan issues should be the concern of and cost for Pakistan and India and maybe even Japan, not us. Shame on Bush, Cheney and now President Barack Obama.

I have adopted the attitude of Pat Buchanan, a political conservative. He thinks we stick our nose into way too many places around the globe. We act like the global "policeman" and "savior". We are neither. Buchanan believes more in a fortress America philosophy. Yes, attack our enemies worldwide when they are identified and are true threats, but stay out of local conflicts and do not get engaged in lengthy ground wars or conflicts. Makes perfect sense to me. We need to tend to business at home.

Our position should be to have a military so superior in capability that no other nation on earth would ever challenge it. It is to carry the biggest sword and not have to use it. Beyond that, to mind our own business and let other nations work out their own destinies.

In case no one has noticed, we are broke. We need to concentrate on getting this country back to health monetarily, economically, scientifically and politically. Nothing short of this will do. Otherwise, our time in the sun is limited.

Kent Blacklidge, Ph.D., is a former vice chancellor of external relations at IU Kokomo and past publisher of the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at kent@visionengineers.com.