Broward News

Rep. Alcee Hastings' Stand on Afghanistan Wins Praise From "Rethinking Afghanistan" Group

Among the South Florida congressional delegation, only Rep. Alcee Hastings consistently votes to change U.S. policy in Afghanistan. He's probably done his history homework. He knows trying to win a fight with that country is much like using a Kleenex during a hurricane: pointless, frustrating, and ineffective. Plus, at the end, your nose is still running.

"It's a Vietnam-like quagmire," says Bob Bender, a Deerfield Beach resident who heads Southeast Florida Rethink Afghanistan. "It makes no sense from any standpoint."

SFRA issued a statement commending Hastings last week but is dismayed by the lack of action from most politicians, including President Obama.

"I'd think they'd want to get out of there fast," says Bender. The reason Obama abandoned his promise to do just that and instead go for a surge in troops is based on, he opines, "a fear of the military."

And in Florida, the issue isn't cut-and-dried along party lines. Democrats Ron Klein and Kendrick Meek voted against a withdrawal instead of an increased military presence. The only other Florida representative voting with Hastings was Alan Grayson (D-Orlando).

The public isn't exactly rallying in the streets demanding an immediate pullout, Bender admits. "Nope. There hasn't really been a galvanized opposition."

Bender's group was founded last October to sponsor public showings of Rethink Afghanistan, a film critical of the military answer to Afghanistan's 40-year-long civil war. Fence sitters who aren't sure if the longest war in American history is a good idea can watch the film here.

The Juice recommends John Krakauer's book Where Men Win Glory, the tale of ex-NFL star Pat Tillman, who left a lucrative football career to go fight in Afghanistan and get his brains blown out by his own troops. Not only does it clarify and amplify exactly what a clusterfuck things are like on the ground there but it provides excellent historical background about what has happened to other armies that thought they could conquer the country.