Thursday, November 26, 2009
War Notes: Thanksgiving Edition
White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs has given all Americans something to be thankful for: An American military withdrawal from Afghanistan before 2017:
"We are in year nine of our efforts in Afghanistan. We are not going to be there another eight or nine years," Gibbs told reporters.
Gibbs added that the war was "very, very, very expensive", costing the U.S $6.7 billion in the month of June alone.
Family of suicide victims are seeking letters of condolences from the White House for their fallen children. While soldiers who commit suicide do receive the same death benefits as those who die in combat, it has been a policy since at least the Clinton administration not to send presidential letters of condolences. The families explain that the letters would be an important symbolic gesture from the president and the military that mental health problems are real, and need to be seriously addressed to prevent needless deaths.
McClatchy writer Steven Thomma points out that the Rep. Obey's war surtax is not without precedent. War surtaxes were levied by President Lincoln during the Civil War, President Roosevelt during World War II and President Johnson during the Vietnam War. The Obey tax would increase federal income tax by 1% on those making less than $150,000 and significantly more on those making over $150,000 a year.
This Thanksgiving, it is important to remember that 922 soldiers have died fighting in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began in 2001. Operation Enduring Freedom was the second name, after the President Bush's first choice, Operation Infinite Justice, sounded too much like a throw back to the crusades.