Let's Do Something
By Cassandra D
I'm tired of reading and writing about all that is wrong with our approach to the War on Terror. I'm ready to stop observing and commenting. I want to do something, and I'm betting most other Americans are ready for that, too. Past ready. We've been ready to get our marching orders since September 11, 2001, and I believe it is time to stop waiting for our leaders to give them to us. It is time to stop putting the entire burden of these wars on the few people who serve (and serve, and serve) in our military.
We, the American people, need to bypass our bickering, partisan leaders and do what we can for the war effort. We can start by remembering what almost all of us agree on:
1) September 11th was terrible and we don't want anything like that to happen again.
2) There are people out there who want to carry out other attacks.
3) Afghanistan was a safe haven for those terrorists, and the Taliban protected them.
4) The Taliban are radical people who not only support terrorists but who are horrible to women and to anyone who doesn't follow their version of Islamic law.
5) It was a good thing to get rid of the Taliban.
6) It would be a very bad thing for them to come back into power. Bad for Afghanistan and bad for us. Great for terrorists.
And perhaps we can agree on this:
1) The Taliban are coming back into power.
2) We don't have much time to turn things around in Afghanistan.
KABUL (AFP) - The reconstruction of Afghanistan over the next six months is key to maintaining popular Afghan support for the drive against Taliban insurgents, the NATO force said.
The campaign against the extremist insurgents depended on the support of ordinary people, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said on Wednesday.
Top ISAF commander General David Richards "believes that the next six months have to be used for effective reconstruction and development to ensure this continuing popular support," NATO civilian spokesman Mark Laity told reporters.
"In this context he warned that if we did not exploit the success we gained in the south over the summer, the Taliban would try to take advantage of the war-weariness of the people over continued fighting to increase their own support," Laity said.
Richards said in an interview at the weekend that 70 percent of Afghans could begin to side with the Taliban if there was no major change in the security situation within six months.
Reading a statement from Richards, Laity said, "I know ISAF cannot take the support of ordinary Afghans for granted, and we must work tirelessly to justify the confidence they have given us.
"Having shown our skill and power in combat, we are now putting equal effort into supporting the reconstruction and development that will improve their lives and offer a real future to all."
If we allow the Taliban to return to power, we will have lost a huge chunk of the War on Terror. We will have lost the most concrete part of that abstract war, the part with the clearest connection to September 11, 2001. The part of the war that almost all Americans strongly support.
The people of our nation should rise up and say that that is unacceptable. We must not believe that this is a job solely for our military. Americans are willing to make sacrifices, and we have to stop waiting to be asked. We should demand to do our part to help rebuild Afghanistan and give those people hope, so that they will not turn to opium production and the Taliban for their future. We, the average American people, must not abandon the Afghan people any longer. We cannot go into battle with guns, but we can do our part to win the war for hearts and minds. Not only is it what the war requires, but it is the right thing to do.
American charities raised $597 million for tsunami relief. Why can't we harness that power to provide relief and rebuilding in Afghanistan? If we wait for our government and our military to take care of it, we will have lost that part of the war on terror. We can't afford to let that happen.
So how do we go about mobilizing ourselves?