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Winning essay in R.I. Reform Party contest

May 19, 2011

Early last month, the Rhode Island Reform Party sponsored an essay contest seeking opinions on this issue: Should the United States begin pulling its military troops/personnel out of Afghanistan now? The entry deadline was April 30 (which happened to be prior to the May 2 raid that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden).
The Rhode Island Reform Party asked Times assistant editor Donna Kenny Kirwan to review the essays and to choose a winner. Despite the now-dated reference to Osama bin Laden, Kirwan chose a submission by John Blare, chairman of the Reform Party of California, as the best piece on this subject. According to Bill Greenwood, chairman of the Rhode Island Reform Party, Blare will receive the prize of two hardcover books by Bill O'Reilly, “Pinheads and Patriots” and “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity.”

The following is John Blare’s winning piece:
“The continued long-term United States involvement in Afghanistan raises some troubling questions which deserve immediate truthful answers if such involvement should even remotely be considered for continuation.
The big question is, why are we still there?
If this was about teaching a lesson to those who would attack us and/or harbor those who do so, that lesson has been given. The prior hostile Afghan government was dispatched long ago, victory should be declared, and exit should now follow.
If continued U.S. involvement is about one individual named bin Laden, the current U.S. strategy has either worked already (i.e. he is dead), or is apparently doomed to failure given the nine or so years of continuing failure to date, and the associated glaring truth, that large-scale military efforts are hostage to border considerations and constraints, which individuals are not, as has now become apparent.
If there is an unstated agenda, beyond military inertia, such as “protecting” Pakistani nuclear stockpiles, or some global strategy that requires us to continue our path to becoming a poor nation, an open public debate is needed.
The staggering costs of continuing the Afghanistan endeavor, in lives and dollars, coupled with our country’s overwhelming public debt and deficit problems, and the associated failure to honor and care for Americans, demands an immediate, thorough, and honest executive branch full disclosure, followed by Congressional and public review of the entire matter.”

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