The correct war

DKS Editors

Osama bin Laden attacked the United States more than seven years ago with his Sunni Islamic fundamentalist terror group, al-Qaida. Nearly 3,000 people died.

Finally, someone’s going back after the ones responsible.

On Friday President Barack Obama will announce the details of his plan to increase aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan, countries that have become home base for al-Qaida since U.S. military attention was focused on the war in Iraq.

When former President George W. Bush initially sent troops to Afghanistan after Sept. 11, 2001, things were clearing up in that country. The al-Qaida-sympathizing Taliban, also a Sunni Islamic terrorist group, controlled much of Afghanistan in the absence of decent government.

Before Bush diverted attention to Iraq for (as it turns out) no reason, the Taliban were leaving, and a lot of them went to Pakistan. But since getting side-tracked, the Taliban have returned to their old haunts, terrorizing Afghanis and giving sanctuary to al-Qaida.

Obama has committed to correcting Bush’s erroneous crusade into the wrong enemy’s country by pledging to pull troops out of Iraq by the end of the summer of 2010. He wants 17,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of this summer and, most recently, another 4,000 military trainers to expand the Afghan army.

The federal deficit is nasty, and economic stimulus spending isn’t bound to slow. So really the last thing this ailing country needs is another place to hemorrhage cash, especially if it’s on a war – the worst outlet for human resource.

But the U.S. is already knee-deep in combating terror, something Afghanis have dealt with longer than anyone should have to. An American presence in the Middle East isn’t going away, perhaps ever. At least now we have a president less motivated by self-interest and bright enough to know where we can do some good.

And we will be doing good. It’s like Obama said in his 2002 speech against the war in Iraq:

“I don’t oppose all wars. After Sept. 11, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported (the Bush) administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.”

Short of taking up arms himself, Obama is going back and doing what we should have been doing all along. War is a disgusting thing, but sometimes it’s the lesser evil. We just hope this doesn’t go on any longer than it has to.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.