Comment and Opinion from AFP... Boulder, CO - Repeating his
criticism of the troop surge given a year ago in similar
Senate hearings, General William Odem told senators last week
that the surge is "prolonging instability, not creating the
conditions for unity as the president claims." The retired
general, who served as NSA director under Reagan, called rapid
withdrawal the only "sensible strategy."
Odem paints Iraq as a hornets' nest of "military chiefs who
follow a proliferating number of political bosses," having
little loyalty to the U.S. which is not paid for with large
dollar sums. He called our current strategy absurd, describing
it as one of attempting to build a state "from the bottom up"
by shifting power and financial means to local warlords. The
general challenged members of the Senate to name a historical
case when this has been successful "except through bloody
violence leading to a single winner, most often a dictator."
Odem insists that, although we are "certainly to blame for"
the chaos in Iraq, "we do not have the physical means to
The general also took aim at the U.S. policy with Iran and
those who support an attack on Iran, saying "it gives me pause
to learn that our vice president and some members of the
Senate are aligned with al Qaeda on spreading the war to
Iran." He implied that our policy of "regime change by force"
is the cause of regional instability, and stated that it
should be "renounced" in order to remove the incentive for
Iranian supported Islamic militancy.
AFP National Chairman Jon Hill stated, "We echo General
Odem's position that it is the moral duty of government
leaders to stop putting U.S. troops at risk in Iraq. But we
also insist that our armed forces not be used for empire
building, so-called 'police actions,' or any combat role not
strictly related to national defense. All of these activities
trample on basic constitutional principle. Tragically, four
thousand U.S. soldiers and about one million Iraqi civilians
have died because most congressmen failed to obey their
The America First Party Platform calls for the United
States military to be used only "to protect U.S. citizens,
U.S. property and U.S. border integrity," and for no other
purpose.-The Cherry Creek News-