It's Time to Cut Our Losses

I’ve taken a lot of flack since I started writing for this paper. I’ve had people tell me that I’m wrong. I’ve had people tell me that I’m misinformed. I’ve had people tell me that I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Perhaps it’s fate that this article marks my first full year of putting myself and my thoughts out there for everyone to judge, because for the first time, I think it may finally be time to start anew and admit that I might have been wrong, or at the very least, that I’ve had a change of heart.

I realize that a lot of my critics don’t believe that I actually do quite a bit of research on the topics I write about, but it’s the truth. In this specific case, if not for my own personal ongoing investigation, I might not have come to the following conclusion. I’ve seen the facts and figures, and even I have to admit, regardless of my previous feelings, it’s time for an immediate and complete withdrawal.

Disregard the reasons and rationale for ever going there in the first place, I’m now convinced that the only reason the United States has a continued presence in the region is monetary. But even the benefits of their wealth of natural resources can not make up for the simple facts that the government is a complete failure, the region is hopelessly unstable, and it’s time to cut our losses.

How many years do we have to wait to see progress? Even the most trusting person would have a hard time denying that the leadership, legislators, and even the judicial branch of government have done nothing but mock us in their total disregard for the will of the people and country as a whole, often pressing their own local legal agendas over the rights of the nation.

Adding to the total lack of control is the daily flow of illegal insurgents over the border, a flood that even conservative estimates determine to be well over one million people in the past year alone. This is a situation that neither the government, nor the majority of citizens, seem to consider problematic, let alone feel the need to do anything about.

Despite all of this, the biggest argument for a pullout comes from the constant threat of violence, whether it be the mounting number of deaths to our brave men in uniform, or the staggeringly high number of victims of sectarian aggression, or even the shockingly high probability of incident a citizen risks by simply driving to and from their local village. In 2006, there were more than 190,000 recorded incidents of violent crime, with close to 2,500 recorded reports of murder, over 9,000 reported cases of rape, and hundreds of thousands of counts of theft. Not the kind of statistics you’d expect to see from a society that claims to be dedicated to peace.

I’ve heard all of the different reasons given for how we as a country got involved in the region in the first place. And while I still don’t subscribe to any theories of a secret presidential agenda, and certainly don’t follow the crowd that says that the action was illegal or immoral, I cannot refute the overwhelming evidence that suggests it had less to do with any moral imperative than certain monetary gain.

Last year alone, the United States government took in revenue the equivalent of $1.00 for every 79 cents spent in the region. That’s a better return on investment than we get from the Federal Income tax for several U.S. states. That alone should demonstrate that they are fully capable of funding their own endeavors. What infrastructure they need can easily be acquired from cheaper sources than what the U.S. government can provide. And, it’s not like we’re closing our doors altogether. We can still help train their personnel; we can offer special visas to allow advanced study in our colleges and universities. And our military will always be available if they are threatened directly by any of their neighbors.

How much more do you need to know? In most areas, our military is an unwanted presence, our religious beliefs will never be accepted by their cities or schools, and the gap in our moral differences seems to be widening further and further every day.

Yup, I’ve had enough. I don’t care if it leaves a short term void, and I don’t mind if this subjects me to public ridicule. I don’t subscribe to the strategists' suggestions that it might leave our country weaker or more vulnerable. The time has come for us to focus on the issues closer to home.

And that is why I say it is time to withdraw all military personnel, cut off all financial support, and close the books on continued presence. It’s time to admit our mistakes and abandon the State of California.

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Volume 3, Issue 21, Posted 2:42 PM, 10.05.2007