Still asking why

During the last Presidential administration, I used the word “why” a lot. Now that the guy I supported is in office, it would be pretty ridiculous of me to stop asking.

So, when a friend of mine and I started discussing Afghanistan a few days ago, I was pleased that I wasn’t the only left-leaning person to wonder why–if we want to kill terrorists and potential terrorists–we’re doing it by occupying a country rather than employing the abilities of the CIA and some very talented tactical teams.

Then yesterday morning I read an article from the Washington Post that made me think I may not be too far off the reservation. It tells the story of a Marine captain turned Foreign Service officer who resigned from his position because, quoting him directly, “I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan.” (Read his whole letter here.)

I think that officer, Matthew Hoh, represents a man people on both sides of the aisle should meet. That is, we bleeding hearts didn’t hate the war in Iraq just because we disagreed with Bush. We hated it because we never saw any clear reason for so many people to die. Further, we didn’t support the idea of being in Afghanistan just because Obama said it was a good idea. We are people who that hate the idea of war but will accept it as a necessary evil.

Hoh is sort on other side. That is, he likes the idea of being a hawk. He’s spent his life doing it. Or as he put it:

“I’m not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love,” Hoh said. Although he said his time in Zabul was the “second-best job I’ve ever had,” his dominant experience is from the Marines, where many of his closest friends still serve.

“There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed,” he said of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. “I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys.” –From the Washington Post’s U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

But, he’s a man with a conscience. He believes the people in Afghanistan are fighting largely because they have a target in the occupying Americans. If people don’t have to die, if the war can be fought effectively in another way, if there is no good reason to be at war, then why put American lives at risk?

So today, President Obama, it is your duty to tell us, your supporters, why we should support the U.S. Military’s continued efforts in Afghanistan. It’s crazy that I’m hearing louder arguments in your favor from your former opponent than from you.

You made me believe. You made me vote. Now make me understand.