The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

October 18, 2012

Marino sees the light on Afghanistan

Daily Item

---- — For the first 20 months of his first term in Congress, U.S. Rep. Tom Marino said he was depending on the guidance of the military generals to determine when it would make sense to get out of Afghanistan.

Marino said Tuesday that while he still believes that the military leaders are the experts, we have been in Afghanistan long enough.

"I don't want to see any more people coming home in body bags," Marino said

Good for Marino.

The war in Afghanistan has claimed 1,963 American lives. A Defense Department official on Wednesday said that a CIA operative was among those killed in a Saturday attack at an Afghan intelligence office. It was the latest in the string of "insider attacks."

The problem is not only that we have been in Afghanistan for more than a decade at a cost of almost 2,000 lives. There is little hint that staying longer will help the country achieve greater stability and security.

If American forces cannot tell who their allies our, it is time to leave. If the people American troops believe are allies are conspiring against them, it is time to leave.

Marino said, that after visiting the country, he could only compare the conditions in Afghanistan to what he imagined conditions on the moon must be like, with the desolation broken up only by ruins.

The Afghani people have a long history of conflict. For Afghanistan to become a place of peace, its people must embrace the idea of putting down their weapons. America cannot do that for them.

"We are fighting with people who have been fighting for 5,000 years and they will continue to fight for 5,000 more and they are not opposed to killing one of our soldiers. We need to get them home."

The congressman said the sacrifice and real commitment being made by military families was literally brought to him recently. Marino said his daughter shared with him that she is considering joining the military.

"I sat back and gasped," he said.

Marino has seen the devastation and hopelessness of conditions in Afghanistan first-hand. He has experienced the dread mixed with pride that parents face when their children announce they may serve in the military in a time of war.

Marino knows better than most people that the time has come to bring the troops home. He is right.