As President Obama carefully considers our role and mission in Afghanistan, I express my appreciation to him for giving proper time and thought to this extremely important subject. The horrible mistakes and proactive bumbling by the Bush administration must no longer be tolerated.
My hope is that advice will come from the military leadership, the diplomatic corps, AND some insightful people outside those two areas and apart from the government. Thus far military and diplomatic advice leaves much to be desired. Mistake has been piled upon mistake.
President Lyndon Johnson listened to military and diplomatic "experts" as we got deeper and deeper into the quicksand of Vietnam. But these "experts" got support from the well-stuffed armchair generals back home who rooted for them like at a Sunday televised NFL game.
The Pentagon and Department of State are often not depositories of wisdom. Couple that with the limited aptitude of George W. Bush and the devious-sinister nature of Dick Cheney, and it is no surprise at the bumbling of the Bush years in the Middle East.
The men and women in our military did not escape this bumbling. Inadequate protection for them in the battle zones was atrocious. Adequate funding for veterans' health care was fudged by the Bush administration. Conscience was AWOL during the Bush years.
Be careful, President Obama. Don't get caught up in the inadequacies of the same bumblers. Get advice from a variety of sources. We have a great deal of catching up to do in the Middle East, let's not compound the idiocy of past with the same cast of "experts."
It is tempting to try and satisfy the "heroic" cries of the valiant right-wing warriors safe at home. Conducting the realities of the Middle East is quite a different matter.