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Friday, July 27, 2007

The view from the ground in Afghanistan

In a week when the Taliban began executing South Korean missionaries in Afghanistan and Congress and President Bush continued their posturing over the war in Iraq, it would seem less troublesome to simply ignore world events and worry about matters closer to home.

But if we've learned one thing since 9/11, this war is a matter close to home.

While the national news media spend much of their time trying to measure the mood of the American people about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a consensus on what to do has yet to be found.

But as Donna Lenz Wright found out when reporting this week's cover story, opinions from people like Lt. Col. John Loomer of Delavan don't come from polls, they come from first-hand experience.

And as the mood of the American people appears to be increasingly ready to pull back from our incursions into Iraq particularly, we should listen carefully to those who have been on the ground and aren't (like politicians) highly skilled in the art of spin.

Not everyone will agree with Loomer, and we tell his story not as a definitive statement on what we believe this country's obligations are, but as a perspective that needs to be part of the debate.

Eileen Loomer of Delavan, whose husband is a relative of John's, first told us about John Loomer in February when she forwarded us a New Year's e-mail and photographs from Afghanistan that John had sent to family members.

In it he wrote, "I ushered in the New Year with a few close friends minutes ago.

"At midnight I walked outside and reflected on the long year that we've gone through.

"The moon was directly overhead and three quarters full. The moonlight lit up the camp reflecting off the inches of snow we had days ago.

"I could hear groups of soldiers celebrating inside their buildings.

"I looked toward town and could see shining lights glowing over a city of thousands that were asleep.

"I prayed that their city have peace and prosperity in 2007. Every day that we're here is a day that the Taliban remain on the run and powerless."

Although he has now returned home to Delavan, it's easy to see that Loomer continues the fight support the work that he had done and to fight for an Afghanistan free


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of any good being done it is outweighed by the fact that it is an illegal war which is bankrupting our country. We need to mind our own business, bring our troops home and take care of our own problems. You can expect more bridge collapses and terror attacks because we have left our country unprotected and destroyed our military.

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Bradley Geyer said...

The Bush administration had plans ready to attack Afghanistan prior to September 11, 2001. They just needed an excuse. The United States and the oil companies had the Taliban in Houston in 2000 to discuss an oil pipeline across Afghanistan. They told the Taliban they can have a carpet of bombs if they didn't allow the oil pipeline.

As for opium production, during Taliban rule it was illegal to trade in poppies. Since the US has taken over Afghanistan the production of opium has gone up over 1000% and around 90% of the world's opium comes from Afghanistan now.

10:12 AM  

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