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Afghanistan: Mission accomplished?

“Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Way to survial or extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered an analyzed.” -Sun Tzu

There is a hidden irony in the Art of War. Sun Tzu’s greatest teaching is that if possible, war should be avoided at all costs. It is the single greatest burden on a civilization. Few statements have stood the test of time as his work. War is the most costly effort a nation can engage in. It will ultimately destroy any nation that attempts prolonged conflict.

Now that we have killed Osama Bin Laden, can we declare victory in our war on terror?

Osama Bin Laden’s death has sent an irrevocable message to the terrorists around the world: “If you fuck with us we will find you and we will kill you, no matter how long it takes.”

I hope that President Obama takes the initiative on this victory and quickly begins the process of moving soldiers out of Afghanistan. Our work there is done. Mission accomplished. Story’s over.

If President Obama wants to enact the changes he has been pushing for, the time is now. He has the opportunity and means to remove most (ideally all) of our soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. The middle east should cease to be our concern. Now that we’ve accomplished a visible goal in the region, the time is ripe to scale back the military.

The inordinate amounts of money spent on defense in the modern age is unnecessary. The US Army alone maintains 10 divisions that and uses more than $140 billion. We live in a time when those kind of large scale forces are obsolete.

Don’t mistake my words here. A nation is only as strong as its ability to back its convictions up with real firepower. But how many ICBM systems and patriot missile batteries do we need before we’re getting diminishing returns? Everyone has enough standoff weapon systems today that it’s impossible to say that there is a present threat to the nation, or a need for large scale land warfare. The days of a large, monolithic dictatorships are ending.

So here the nation stands, for the first time in 10 years, breathing a sigh of relief. President Obama is at a crossroads. With one stroke he has the chance to withdraw our soldiers, scale back our military, and commit that money to national needs like education, infrastructure and energy.

I hope he makes the right choice.

Ross Coyle blogs at the Oregon Commentator. He is a contributor to the Student Free Press Association.

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