The White House is facing mounting pressure from lawmakers to work harder to rally flagging public support for the war in Afghanistan.
With casualties rising, the administration is struggling to persuade voters that the war can be won or is worth the human and financial costs. Afghanistan is President Barack Obama’s top foreign-policy priority, but recent polls show that a majority of voters oppose the war for the first time since the conflict began eight years ago.
The Afghan war’s shifting political fortunes could make it harder for the administration to sell the public on the need for further expanding the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
Mr. Obama has already agreed to send 21,000 American reinforcements, pushing U.S. troop levels there to a record 68,000, and the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is expected to ask for tens of thousands of additional troops later this month.
A $226,000 armored vehicle for the North Richland Hills Police Department SWAT team arrived a few days ago to replace one the agency got in 1990.
To many people that vehicle — and others like it used by police departments across the country — will go unnoticed. The public seems to largely accept the use of military-type equipment, technology and tactics as not only appropriate but also necessary to fight crime and make communities more safe and secure.
Armored vehicles are used by law enforcement agencies in Fort Worth, Arlington and Bedford and at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, just to name a few. Some police departments have assault rifles, noise-flash devices and grenade launchers. Arlington even sought federal money for a drone aircraft.
But some criminal-justice experts are troubled by law enforcement agencies’ growing use of military-style equipment. Rather than employ such equipment only in extreme situations, the critics say, their use is becoming commonplace, leading police to use unnecessary force and intimidating residents. For example, some cite an episode last year in which police used a battering ram to raid a Duncanville swingers club when no one answered a knock.
“We have been witnesses to a little-noticed but nonetheless momentous historical change — the traditional distinctions between military/police, war/law and internal/external security are rapidly blurring,” said criminal justice professor Peter Kraska, of Eastern Kentucky University, in one on his studies on the militarization of police departments.
Local police officials note that growing populations, rising crime rates and more-lethal weapons available to criminals have forced officers to keep up. They also say they rely on training to make sure equipment is used appropriately.
“For years, there’s always been a parallel between law enforcement and the military,” said Bedford Police Chief David Flory, former director of training for the Texas Tactical Peace Officers Association. “Of course, the big difference is the rules of engagement. The military in Afghanistan or Iraq is dealing with warfare. We as officers have the U.S. Constitution and the Texas Penal Code that we must follow.”
It’s a site recently launched by Jeff Cherry who is apparently looking to replace Paul as the Texas 14 representitive.
Do you know what Ron Paul really stands for?
- Wants to get rid of the Federal Reserve and return to the Gold Standard
- Wants to get rid of the Department of Education
- Wants to get rid of the IRS
- Voted against and does not support the Patriot Act.
- Voted against the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
- Wants to bring home all troops from Iraq immediately and shut down U.S. military bases
- Wants to pull us out of the United Nations
- Wants to cut off ALL foreign aid to ALL countries
- Wants to pull us out of the World Trade Organization
- Wants to pull out of the World Bank
- Wants to pull out of the International Monetary Fund
- Wants to pull out of NATO
- Wants to pull us out of NAFTA
- Wants to end the war on drugs and legalize marijuana.
- Is opposed to making immunizations for children mandatory.
- Opposes the Food and Drug Administration
Uh… yeah? That’s great stuff. Keep it coming.
I particularly enjoy the “Powered by WebSite Tonight from GoDaddy.com” advert at the bottom of the page. Very professional.
Kyrgyzstan parliament has voted to close a base the U.S. military uses as a route for troops and supplies heading into Afghanistan, a government spokesman said Thursday.
Of the 87 members of parliament who attended the session, 78 voted to close it, the spokesman said.
The law must now be signed by the Kyrgyz president. It will then be forwarded to the United States, after which the U.S. military has 180 days in which to withdraw from the base, the spokesman said.
The Manas air base outside Bishkek is the Americans’ only base in Central Asia and is a major resupply hub for the war in Afghanistan.
Its closing could deal a significant blow to the U.S. military effort there, especially following President Barack Obama’s announcement of additional troops to halt a resurgence of the country’s former Taliban rulers.
The air base currently employs more than 1,000 servicemen, 95 percent of whom are Americans, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported. The base is used to transport military personnel and cargo to Afghanistan and to refuel aircraft.
I love it. Lets hope the Kyrgyzstan president signs it and that more governments decided to throw out the American government and their bases.
Notice how the articles uses “employs.” A subtle way to put a negative spin on this closing by implying the servicemen will loose their jobs.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Barack Obama has approved a significant troop increase for Afghanistan, Pentagon officials said Tuesday.
“This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires,” Obama said in a written statement.
“The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan, and al Qaeda supports the insurgency and threatens America from its safe haven along the Pakistani border.”
Another 5,000 troops will be deployed at a later date to support combat troops, bringing the total to 17,000 the Defense Department said. A senior administration official confirmed the total.
The Obama administration has been conducting several reviews of U.S. policy in Afghanistan, including a review by Gen. David Petraeus, the commander in the region. The president and the Pentagon have been considering a request from the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, to send as many as 30,000 additional troops.
Obama said the troop increase in Afghanistan would be made possible in part by the impending troop drawdown in Iraq.
All 17,000 troops announced Tuesday will go to the southern region of the country where Afghanistan borders Pakistan, with the goal mainly being to stop the flow of foreign fighters, according to a U.S. military official with direct knowledge of the deployment and military plans for Afghanistan.
The troops will also train Afghan army units.
The military operations will set up a string of bases and smaller combat outposts, allowing the troops to move around and engage in counterterrorism against foreign fighters and counterinsurgency operations against the Taliban and other local enemies, the official said.
The goal is to have enough troops to “seize and hold” territory and maintain basic security, which hasn’t been possible under current troop levels, the official said. The Taliban continues to maintain at least half a dozen safe areas inside Afghanistan, which are prime targets for the U.S. military.
About 38,000 U.S. troops are currently serving in Afghanistan.
The increased troop levels are expected to last three to four years, the military official said.
However, the administration official said there was no clear timeline. “That would prejudge the outcome of the strategic review,” the senior administration official said.Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said the original mission in Afghanistan was “too broad” and needs to be more “realistic and focused” for the United States to succeed.
“If we set ourselves the objective of creating some sort of central Asian Valhalla over there, we will lose, because nobody in the world has that kind of time, patience and money,” Gates said during a recent Senate hearing.
WOW! This certainly is change we can believe in. I’m so glad the new chief is different from the old chief.
In the ongoing struggle between radical Islamism and Western democracy, military intervention by the United States may again be judged necessary as a last resort against particularly dangerous states or organizations. Although presidential candidate Barack Obama made drawing down U.S. forces in Iraq the centerpiece of his national security agenda, so as to focus on the “real fight” in Afghanistan, President Obama will find that even with a complete withdrawal from Iraq, the United States’ current all-volunteer forces will be inadequate for accomplishing its worldwide national security goals. Regarding Afghanistan in particular, even the planned reinforcement of 20,000 to 30,000 troops will not begin to match the 1 to 10 troop-to-population ratio generally acknowledged to be necessary for success in counterinsurgency.
Moreover, as a result of the repetitive stresses of Afghanistan and Iraq, the human-resources quality of the U.S. military appears to be declining: recruitment and retention rates (by pre-Iraq standards) are slipping, forcing the armed services to lower their physical, educational, and psychological standards; to soften the rigors of initial training; and even to expand the moral waivers granted to some volunteers with criminal records. Generous inducements have also been needed to retain junior officers beyond the length-of-service payback requirements of their academy or ROTC educations. The economic downturn might help temporarily, but the problem cannot be resolved by continuing the present system. There will have to be a reinstitution, albeit in a significantly modified version, of universal military service — a “draft.”
Our proposal is to combine a revived military draft with a broader public-service program as already practiced in some European states — a “domestic Peace Corps.” Indeed, a crucial component of our proposal is that draftees be allowed to choose between military and nonmilitary service. A program structured along those lines would simultaneously increase the political appeal of conscription, defuse the opposition of those who disapprove of the use of military force, and serve such valuable national purposes as public health, public works, and the alleviation of shortages of teachers and social workers in disadvantaged regions of the country.
Of course, reinstating the draft will generate opposition from all parts of the political spectrum, on the left by civil libertarians and opponents of any use of force, in the center by classic libertarians and those who would regard conscription as an unfair “tax on youth,” and even by some on the political right, who (as noted earlier) would correctly perceive that the modified draft proposed here would inherently constrain presidential unilateralism. The professional military, traditionally conservative, might initially resist such fundamental change, though we are confident the professional military will come to value its significant advantages.
In the event of new terrorist attacks on U.S. soil on the scale of 9/11, let alone the unimaginable consequences if American cities were struck by nuclear or biological weapons, the arguments against conscription would vanish overnight, and there would be a crash program to build up the armed forces, similar to the aftermath of attack on Pearl Harbor.
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.