Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

June 4, 2013

We the People: Reality check, anyone?

By Bob Hoyt
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Harry Truman had a birthday anniversary in early May. Harry was proud of being from the “show me” state. Republicans who aspire to stop all progress and set the clock back should take a lesson from Truman. He did something besides complain and obstruct progress.

Truman had a lot on his plate after FDR died and left Harry (FDR’s veep) in the dark about the Manhattan Project. Truman made the decision to use the first A-bombs. Japan surrendered. WWII ended, but the cold war began. The Marshall Plan helped rebuild Europe. The Korean War came under Truman. After that war (police action) South Korea prospered in contrast to what followed in North Korea under tyrannical rulers. The North Korean mess continues.

Today, after ten years in the “War on Terror,” radical Muslims still don’t want peace. They want to destroy Western Civilization and all secular government. This war may never be over. We keep hearing from well-meaning (but naïve) Americans that fundamentalist Muslims are good people who don’t want to be ruled by bad-tempered old mullahs in robes and beards. But many of those Muslims behave as if they don’t care much one way or the other.

There’s talk of educating Muslim girls in Afghanistan, but we see few commencement ceremonies. Experts on television brag about how many times they’ve been to Afghanistan but they don’t seem to learn much from going there. Senator Bob Corker says the U.S. is still delivering bags of cash to Hamid Karzai, the many-faced Afghan President. Karzai needs to show us that someone beside his tribal relatives is getting fat off American cash.

Corker also might show us how it benefits U.S. business for China to be sticking its arm in the cookie jar (as we leave) to exploit the lithium, copper and petroleum resources of Afghanistan. Lots of luck to China, though, in dealing with Afghan extremists. The Russians learned their lesson; we’re learning ours and China may be next.

We have proven that we can look down on terrorists from drones and kill them by the hundreds. But we have not shown how drones can help agriculture and industry. The CIA factbook says Afghanistan has sufficient snow-fed streams for irrigation to transform arid soils into productive fields. But do Afghanis know enough to dig ditches for irrigation water to grow something other than opium poppies, goats and an endless line of religious geezers wearing fancy do-rags? If that insults someone then so be it. American taxpayers are being insulted daily by contrary actions in response to what the U.S. has done to help the Afghanis “free” themselves.

We can’t impose our values on other parts of the world without cooperation. Schools can reduce ignorance but drones are only a new way to kill. Drones can’t cure stupidity in the living.

Why should we send more soldiers and bags of money to a country that shows less promise than a flea in a whirlwind? We the people have done our duty. We’ve made nice and we’ve made dirty. We could have wiped them off the map. Show us the positive evidence, or even an upward trend, of benefits for backward Afghanistan that makes the fighting and dying worth the price. We need straight talk, not more war talk, while we bring our forces home. Neo-conservatives should look for a more likely place to peddle arms and ammunition. We’ve rightfully had it with political tomfoolery at home and batty religious nuts in far deserts.