This week President Trump announced his administration's policy on future military involvement in Afghanistan. Since this is all just starting to fall into place, it's impossible to know how his plan will work out.
However, based on the way things have gone for outsiders in Afghanistan over the past centuries, our chances for creating a brand new day for Afghanistan aren't terribly bright. Then again, the President isn't shooting for that. - And for the first time since Donald Trump was elected, I think I sort of agree with him (or at least the advisors guiding him).
President Trump has said our goal will not be "nation building." Instead, Trump and his advisors believe our military presence in Afghanistan must be increased in an attempt to "strip terrorists of territory and safe havens." His plan calls for 4000 more American troops to be deployed on top of the present 13,500 NATO troops (8,400 of them American).
So now we should keep an eye on how this all moves forward. At one point back in 2011 under President Obama, our military numbers in Afghanistan had climbed to over 100,000. Obama then gradually reduced this number to it present level of 8,400.
At this point, I think the generals advising President Trump no longer hold the idea that this is a war than can be "won" in any conventional sense of that word. History has repeatedly shown, this is not a land or people easily controlled by outside forces. The Soviet Union learned that lesson in the 1970's and 80's. The quagmire they found themselves in played a role in their nation's demise.
About ten years later, we found ourselves in the role of Afghanistan invader. Soon after 9/11, joining with NATO forces, we invaded an Afghanistan controlled by the Taliban. We believed the Taliban were providing Osama Bin Laden's al-Quaeda network with a haven for its terrorist planning. The invasion was applauded by much of the world. And within weeks after the invasion, the Taliban was overthrown.
It is my impression that following the Taliban's overthrow, Afghanis, at least in the more urban areas, greeted this change as a positive thing. Reforms from pre-Taliban days for Afghanistan's women, and for the educational system in general, were reinstated. (Ironically, these reforms were first established under a socialist government supported by the USSR. And the fundamentalist Mujahideen rebels supported by the U.S. hated them. Many of those rebels became Taliban.)
After the invasion, the West made a military and economic commitment in support of a new direction for Afghans. Some observers believe that if this effort had continued uninterrupted for several years some sort of long-term stability for that society might have taken hold. Instead the money needed for such a push - the building of highways, new schools, modern infrastructure as well as internal security -- was diverted to the Bush Administration's invasion of Iraq.
Because of the foolish geopolitical theories of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, we never will know if concentrating solely on creating a Western-friendly Afghanistan would have produced positive results. -- Probably not. (However,
I never pass up a chance to express my loathing for that team of disgraceful White House occupants.)
Truth is, history has shown that any long-term investment to build a western-friendly Afghanistan will likely just become a money pit filled with our tax dollars, constantly drained by corrupt Afghani politicians and competing tribal leaders. Apparently, this is also the conclusion that has been reached by President Trump's advisors.
So here we are today, once again sending more of our armed forces into a battle to neutralize thousands of provincial, uneducated young men united by extreme fundamentalist religious beliefs. They reject much of the modern world and the most fanatic among them call for its destruction. (That means us.) And I find myself agreeing with Trump that we should do all we can to prevent safe havens for fanatics who want the West to live in fear of their twisted beliefs.
President Trump's somewhat tempered approach is considerably different from the saber rattling that seems more Trump's style. Perhaps this is a sign that he is starting to actually listen to the people who are his advisors. I'm now hoping that these advisors (mostly military men) will show signs they hold equal appreciation for the other powerful tools at the Presidents disposal - skillful international statesmanship, sophisticated espionage, smart economic leveraging.
We squandered more than $800 billion in Iraq. In the 16 years we've been in Afghanistan, we've spent another $783 billion and over 2,300 American lives. (Our allies have lost over 1,100 from their forces and the Afghani military and civilian deaths have reached nearly 62,000.) We can't turn back the clock and erase the stupid mistakes that have been made. If instead of spending billions on invading Iraq we had spent billions on treating terrorist activities as international crime, would their threat be less today? Could be.
Like I said at the beginning of this commentary, this is one situation when I don't strongly disagree with what President Trump is suggesting. Abandoning Afghanistan doesn't seem like a good option. Neither does heavy military involvement. What's needed is a very intelligent use of all of the President's resources - and his patience. Proceeding intelligently and patiently are not attributes usually associated with President Trump. I am truly rooting for the President to surprise us all.
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Save the date:
Sunday, Sept. 10
The NTDO Annual Meeting and Picnic
Lake View Room and Beach Pavilion
1 pm - 4 pm
(More info to follow)
Upcoming Events of interest:
Tomorrow morning, Aug. 17 in Glenview - Congressman Brad Schneider hosts a Federal Budget Workshop
Thursday, August 17.
Reception at 9:30am, program 10:00am - 12:00 noon
Glenview Public Library, 1930 Glenview Road
Congressman Brad Schneider holds a federal budget workshop with The Concord Coalition to examine how recent policy proposals could impact our nation's economy, debt and deficit.
Attendees will work in small groups to formulate fiscal solutions.
Coming up August 24 (in Evanston) and August 31 (in Skokie) -
A Screening of the Documentary "Equal Means Equal"
: Thursday, August 24, from 6:30 - 8:30pm
at the Century 12 Evanston, 1715 Maple Ave
: Thursday, August 31, from 6:30 - 8:30pm
at the AMC Village Crossing, 18-7000 Carpenter Road, Skokie
What: Friends for ERA Illinois present a screening of "Equal Means Equal," a documentary supporting adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing equal rights for women.
For additional information or
to RSVP for Evanston click here.
(The Evanston event will only happen if enough tickets are reserved. )
For additional information or
to RSVP for Skokie click here
(The Skokie event will only happen if enough tickets are reserved. )
Saturday Aug. 26 in Milwaukee -
A Protest at the NRA Concealed Carry Gun Show.
When: Saturday, August 26, 2017
Where: Outside Wisconsin Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI
What: Peaceful Communities sponsors a demonstration protesting an NRA Concealed Carry Gun Show at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee to express their view that our country will be safer when fewer people are carrying guns. There will be a call for repeal of the Second Amendment so that needed laws can be enacted.
For additional information or to RSVP, email Lee Goodman at
or call 847-559-9525.
Tuesday, Aug. 29 in Chicago - A Reception for Commissioner Michael Cabonargi.
Tuesday, August 29, from 5:00 - 7:00pm
Where: Highline Bar + Lounge, 169 West Kinzie, Chicago
What: A fundraising reception supporting Michael Cabonargi, Commissioner, Cook County Board of Review.
For additional information or to RSVP, register online or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 31 in Chicago - Lisa Madigan's Birthday Bash - Cubs vs. Braves Baseball.
When: Thursday, August 31. Reception at 6:00pm, game starts at 7:05pm
Where: Wrigley Rooftops, 3609 North Sheffield, Chicago
What: Root for the Chicago Cubs at Lisa Madigan's annual Birthday Bash.
Saturday, Sept. 9 in Deerfield - The Campaign Kickoff to Reelect Brad Schneider.
: Saturday, September 9, at 10:00am
: Warehouse Eatery, 833 Deerfield Road, Deerfield, IL
: Official kickoff for 10th District Congressman Brad Schneider's 2018 reelection campaign. -- Democrats across the U.S. are fighting to recapture control of Congress. Help reelect Brad and keep the 10th District blue!
Saturday, Sept. 16 in Springfield - The Illinois Democratic Women
45th Annual Convention
When: Saturday,September 16
Where: IBEW Local 193, 3150 Wide Track Drive
Crowne Plaza, 3000 S Dirksen Parkway. Springfield, IL
Join Democratic Women from across our state to discuss the issues facing our state and nation and what can be done to turn things around.1 pm-5pm Workshop Sessions 6:00-9:00pm Dinner and
Keynote Speaker: Krystal Ball, author, activist and President of the People's House Project. To read her bio click here.
FYI: The NTDO Events Calendar
for the rest of 2017
June 23-24 GLENCOE SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Glencoe
July 14 -15
WINNETKA SIDEWALK SALE
9 am-5 pm Downtown Winnetka
July 17 ANNUAL MEET AND GREET at AVLI ESTIATORIO
566 Chestnut, Winnetka, 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
July 22 -23 WILMETTE SIDEWALK SALE
9am-5pm Downtown Wilmette
Sept. 10 NTDO ANNUAL MEETING AND PICNIC
Lake View Room and Beach Pavilion 1 pm - 4 pm
Oct. 8 2017 NTDO ANNUAL DINNER
Maggiano's Old Orchard, Skokie, 5 pm-9 pm
Nov. (Date & Place TBA)
"HEAD START FOR 2018" CONFERENCE
All North Shore Democrats Invited
The guest speaker for the October 8, 2017 NTD Annual Dinner has been confirmed.
It's Congressman Mike Quigley.
As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Quigley will bring his perspective on the possible Russian meddling in our 2016 Election and the seriousness of such a threat to our democratic process. (Were any Trump operatives involved?) -- By October, who knows what our guest speaker may have to report?
Have you visited Senator Biss' website "The Road Back" --
click on the link to his video -- then, throughout the summer follow his plan's development on the website.
Daniel explains a lot about how Illinois got where it is today and how we can begin the journey on the road back toward achieving our state's tremendous economic potential.
who represent New Trier Township in
Washington, Springfield and Cook County
You'll be hearing a lot from these exceptional public servants. --
And they want to be hearing a lot from you.
The fact is, they need to hear from you and want to hear from you in order to represent you most effectively. So, the first thing you can do is get to know who these people are. The links below to their campaign websites are a good place to start.
, 9th U.S. Congressional District Representative
and Chief Deputy House Democratic Whip. The new Ninth District boundaries include all of New Trier except for Glencoe.
, 10th U.S. Congressional District Representative which includes a number of precincts in Glencoe.
Julie Morrison, State Senator for Illinois' 29th State Senate District
State Senator for Illinois' 9th State Senate Distric
t.The Ninth District includes all of New Trier Township.
. The district includes New Trier's northernmost precincts.
IL 18th District State Representative
. The 18th District includes much of New Trier up to Hazel Avenue and Dundee Road.
, IL 17th District State Representative.
The 17th District includes the East Glenview and West Wilmette areas of New Trier Township.
IL 58th District State Representative.
The 58th District includes the northernmost precincts in Glencoe.
Larry Suffredin, Cook County 13th District Commissioner. The 13th District includes all of New Trier, Evanston and Niles Townships.
Dear Fellow Democrats,
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|Still not a member of the New Trier Dems? Your participation in grassroots political action will make a difference. -- Come join us.
When you're a member of the New Trier Democratic Organization, you have an active role in affecting the political process; participating in grassroots campaigns, staying in touch with elected officials, playing a role in deciding which candidates are endorsed. You'll also gain free admission to select forums and events throughout the year.
Come be a part of New Trier's grassroots political community.
The New Trier Democratic Organization is made up of hundreds of grassroots volunteers dedicated to advancing progressive ideals through the political process. We welcome your participation.
Dean T. Maragos, Committeeman New Trier Township
We are located at 800 Oak Street, Suite 112, in Winnetka, IL. Ph: 847-446-8030
*This Internet communication paid for by the New Trier Democratic Organization and not authorized by any federal or state candidate or campaign committee. A copy of our report filed with the State Board of Elections is available for purchase from the State Board of Elections in Springfield, Illinois.