What is Washboard Express?

Washboard Express is a way for me to express my own opinions, to be a provocative gadfly, by writing a "letter a day" to the President. I may miss a day here and there, because sometimes my family with be my first priority, but my goal is to write a total of 365 letters, representing one full year. To say I have opinions about most things would be to understate the obvious. Those of you that know me, know this is true, those who don't know me, will learn that it's true. The Washboard is a reference to going back to basics and "keeping it clean," so if you would like me to post your comments or opinions on this blog, I only ask that you be respectful. So go ahead, express yourself, and I look forward to an exchange of ideas and opinions.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Letter #145... Dear Mr. President... When an Apology is Not Enough.

Dear Mr. President,

On February 20th it was the incident with burning several copies of the Koran in Afghanistan, resulting in a violent protest that left five dead American soldiers, and now the latest incident on March 11th, the murder of 16 innocent Afghan civilians, mostly women and children, by an American soldier. Don’t you think it’s time to leave Afghanistan? Don’t you think it’s becoming more and more apparent that you are dealing with a war of diminishing returns, and instead incurring more and more risk to our remaining troops?

When you have to justify an apology it loses all credibility.
You were correct to apologize for the burning of the Korans… it was a stupid, insensitive, and dangerous act that should have never happened given the cultural awareness training given after similar desecrations of the Koran provoked identical results. However, justifying that apology by saying it was necessary to save lives, makes it seem less than genuine, and therefore not a true apology. I realize that was not your intent, but sometimes even good intentions can backfire and become counter productive.

I remember being forced to apologize to my mother for one thing or another, and I was never really sorry, I only did it to regain whatever privilege I’d lost and get back in my mothers ‘good graces’, thus making the apology meaningless and insincere.

How do you apologize for murder? How can you assure the Afghans that this was just one man acting independently and without the knowledge of his superiors or fellow soldiers? At this point this is all but impossible.

Since the U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to supposedly topple the Taliban rulers who harbored the al Qaeda network responsible for the September 11th attack it has cost over $500 billion dollars and nearly 2,000 U.S. Troops. To continue the present course seems to fly in the face of common sense from both the Afghan position and the position most Americans take.

The timetable of the end of 2014 is just a number, a number that seems more and more unrealistic. To re-establish stability (if there ever was stability) seems very unlikely after these indefensible acts of disrespect and aggression. It’s time to get our men and women out of Afghanistan, if the Afghan forces cannot control the Taliban and their country erupts in civil war… it is none of our business… they should be in charge of their own destiny and the destiny of their people… just like America.

It is quite evident that the U.S. and NATO forces can no longer protect Afghan civilians… they know it and we know it… the time has come, the time is now, withdraw our troops and bring them home.

Most Respectfully,

Marcia Reimers,
Your Gadfly Granny

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