Congratulations on bringing the war back to the front page and especially on
sending your own reporters over to the war zone. There are way too many news
sources who rely on second or third hand information about events that are
critical to our country and to the people of Nebraska.
That said, I'd like to make a few comments. The headline the first day was the
best most accurate headline of recent years. But the articles, especially the
glowing description of conditions in Afghanistan by Mr. Gouttierre, left much to
be desired. I doubt very much if any Afghan historian would agree with his
description of that country's condition either now or in JFK's time.
Your introduction column frames our actions there as in defense of our
freedom. There are many who have lived in the area or who are considered
"experts" on both these wars who would differ greatly with your
characterization. Indeed, far from Freedom seeking, our actions very well make enemies in the
entire area that will last for years.
General Petraeus, the expert on COIN, has dropped most of his written and oral
principles concerning how such wars need to be fought. There are rising numbers
of air attacks, night raids of Afghan homes, accidental killings, denials of
such, and on and on.
The marines are introducing Tanks into the war despite statements
earlier about the need/desire to not have images of the Russian war on Afghanistan with its heavy
use of armor and the defeat they suffered there.
"Studies" of both wars have emphasized the impossibility of "winning" these
conflicts by military action. I believe you can go into statements by
Petraeus himself and find such. Certainly, many of those closely tied to the
wars in Afghanistan/Iraq have stated time and again that the solution lies in
Political not military action. The most obvious case of such advice goes back
to the study of the war in Iraq by the Iraq Study Group.
These senior advisors, with much experience, and with many Republicans in their
group concluded that military action would not solve the problems. Their conclusions ring even more
Lastly, The cost of these wars has been grossly underestimated at one Trillion
Dollars American. Professor Joe Stiglitz, a Noble Prize winner in economics,
has stated in 2008 that the true cost of these wars exceed 3 trillion dollars
and that was assuming the wars ended "soon". He made that claim in Feb of
The figure commonly used of just one trillion is based upon monies actually
appropiated by Congress for the wars. But it fails to include the cost of
renewing the worn out equipment put at another trillion. Worse than that it
also fails to count the at least 3rd trillion needed to cover Veterans costs due
to the war.
I hope you will consider all of the above.
Stephen P. Horn