The Petition

Is the Fog of War About to Clear?


November 15, 2009 By Demitry Dorfman, at

In the 2003 Academy Award winning documentary, The Fog of War, Robert McNamara said, "War is so complex, it's beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend all the variables. Our judgment, our understanding are not adequate. And we kill people ... These words of the late Robert McNamara, who passed July 6th this year, give great insight but no solution to the war conflict at hand. Today, many are scratching their heads about when that fog is going to clear.

In a few days President Obama will make a decision to send additional troops into Afghanistan. The delay in announcing this decision signifies that it is a rather difficult sell to the American people. Having entered into the 9th year of war, and with polls showing opposition to any additional military escalation, everyone is now poised to see how the new administration plans on resolving this conflict.

Let's look at some numbers:

  • 5282 - Total American casualties from Iraq (4362) and Afghanistan (920) since October 7th, 2001.
  • 2961 - Total number of days we've been at war.
  • 1.78/Day - Average of two Americans killed each day over the past 8 plus years.
  • $944 Billion - Total amount spent to finance the war through FY2009. [*1]
  • $139 Billion - Amount budgeted for the war for FY2010. [*1]
  • $1.083 Trillion - Total cost of the war by the end of next year. [*1]

War is Big business, and as these numbers keep growing, there is only fog at the end of the tunnel. Having passed the midpoint of the Vietnam War our lessons learned are long forgotten. Thus far, the U.S. achieved certain objectives in the present conflict but a successful resolution means a different strategy all together; a complete re-evaluation and newly set initiatives with timelines. We must complete our set objectives, or concede to this war as being the second Vietnam.

And what is our responsibility as Americans? Perhaps we've forgotten one of this country's greatest freedoms and our Constitutional right; the Freedom of Speech. Your voice is a powerful tool though only if you make it heard. In unison, the voice of a democratic nation will echo for centuries.

The fog of war is not yet clearing; however, what has become quite clear is that a different strategy needs to be implemented. There is still strong opposition towards this war from more than 54 countries as well as world public opinion. Perhaps we should reflect upon a relevant quote from the late Robert McNamara, "If we can't persuade nations with comparable values of the merits of our cause, we'd better reexamine our reasoning." Or maybe, we should voice how we feel and influence a change in strategy.

*1 Belasco, Amy. "The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11" September 28, 2009


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