Letter: Afghanistan mission is well defined - East Valley Tribune: Letters To The Editor

Letter: Afghanistan mission is well defined

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Posted: Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:00 pm

I take issue with Mr. O’Malley’s letter in Wednesday’s edition. Primarily, I contest his statement that there is an undefined mission for the United States military in Afghanistan.

President Barack H. Obama stated the following in 2009: “Our over-arching goal remains the same; to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan; and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.”

You may say, “That was then; this is now.” True, but the mission of our military is the same -- no matter that the focus of our leaders has been blurred.

Consider this: What is the goal of the Taliban and other insurrectionist groups? Is it not to threaten our peace and destroy the prosperity that we enjoy in this blessed land? Have terrorists succeeded? Have they advanced their cause?

Do you fear to walk the streets, lest you get caught in a firefight? Are you careful to drive in the tracks of the car in front, lest your tires strike an IED? Must you guard your speech to not offend anyone, lest you lose your tongue to some dissident authority?

Can you discern my political leanings by my statements? Do I fear to let you know them?

I am grateful that our military must travel to other lands to protect us! This is not just for our sake, but also for the sake of citizens in those other countries. Those peoples are enjoying the privileges of democracy for the first time in the history of their society.

Of course there is imperfection in the process, just as there was in the beginning of our nation. Societal change is never quick or easy or clean. It is a process that spans decades and generations.

The wonder is that our country survived its infancy and has grown to maturity. The blessing is that nearly from the beginning the United States of America has participated in (and sometimes instigated) nation-building, rather than colonialism. We have always given more than we took. Helping people to grow into self-government is an offering we can afford!

Patrick Shepherd


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