Senator Fritz Hollings: Time to Get Out of Afghanistan


This is a guest note by former Senator Ernest F. “Fritz” Hollings (D-SC) who served for 39 years in the United States Senate. He is the author of Making Government Work, which Steve Clemons recommends for anyone wanting to understand more about legislative structure and process. Many of his other essays can be found at Citizens for a Competitive America.
fritz hollings.jpgOUT!
We learned after ten years and 58,000 dead in Vietnam that you can’t force feed democracy.
And now corrupt foreigners can’t force feed a corrupt democracy in Afghanistan. After eight years and 833 dead in Afghanistan, the United States mission boils down to that described in a New York Times editorial of November 3rd, entitled “President Karzai’s Second Term:”

(a) Mr. Karzai must prove that after “seven years of mismanagement and corruption … he is deserving of [his people’s] trust.”
(b) Mr. Karzai “must appoint a new group of ministers and provincial governors who are committed to rebuilding their country, not enriching themselves.”
(c) “The Interior Ministry, which oversees the corruption-plagued Afghan National Police, must be reformed.”
(d) “The agriculture, energy and private development agencies all [get] better leadership.”
(e) The Afghan people need “to see their government working to protect them and improve their lives….”
(f) Mr. Karzai must “reach out to members of the opposition, choosing competent technocrats for senior jobs.”
(g) Mr. Karzai must “break ties with his most unsavory cronies.”
(h) Mr. Karzai must demand that Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostrum “stand trial for his crimes.”
(i) Mr. Karzai finally cuts “his ties with his brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, whom American officials say is a big player in the opium trade.”
(j) “Washington must also cut its ties with the younger Mr. Karzai … [who] received regular payments from the CIA for the past eight years.”
(k) As Mr. Karzai kills the Taliban, he must “work with the Americans to come up with a strategy to try to woo mid-level Taliban leaders in from the cold.”
(l) Mr. Karzai and the U. S. “need to quickly develop a plan to accelerate training of the Afghan security forces.”

We can’t ask GIs to lose their arms and legs, even life itself, for this mission.
— Fritz Hollings, former United States Senator from South Carolina


3 comments on “Senator Fritz Hollings: Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

  1. Mr.Murder says:

    This is a Profile in Courage, to say what need be said, by the honorable Sen.(ret) Fritz Hollings.


  2. DonS says:

    Would that Barack Obama or any of his retainers could rise to the level of statemanship of Sen. Hollings.
    My sentiments about “getting out!” coincide. Not just because of the Vietnam parallel, but additionally because of everything that has happened since then that should heighten our awareness of the path we are on.
    That the military is stretched — never being intended for ongoing multi theatre wars without the support of a draft — is a commonplace. But politicians obviously will do anything to avoid reinstating the draft, most notably outsourcing the military function to “contractors”. And still it’s not enough, in large part because the necon-inspired template is for “endless war”. Were there a draft and/or some actual way to convey to the American people the out of pocket economic cost to each and every citizen of being a garrison state, there would be some serious questions pointed at Washington.
    Makes you wonder just what the right wing wackjobs get out of promoting the disastrous status quo besides money and ego gratification. I guess that does it for them. I’ll leave the interlocking directorates of the neocon right for others to speculate about.


  3. Outraged American says:

    Senator Hollings, I will always admire you for what you said
    about the Israel lobby’s power as you were leaving office.
    Would you please now tell us what you think about what seems
    to be an inevitable attack on Iran and what it will mean to the US
    and the world?
    And would you expand on the role the Israel lobby plays in
    pushing this attack on Iran?
    Also, what can the average American do to stop and US/ Israeli
    attack on Iran? Or even more sanctions?
    Thanks from someone who has a niece and nephew coming up
    on draft age!


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