Afghanistan is not a national security risk and neither was Iraq. Back at the time, I was conned into thinking that Iraq did pose a threat to us. I was wrong and totally misguided at the time. If we wanted oil to be secure, Canada has about the same amount of oil reserves (Oil Sands) as Venezuela. Call me crazy but I do not believe importing oil from Canada is a bad thing. I also have absolutely no problem importing oil like any other commodity. If the prices do end up fluctuating to the point of huge inflation, we all know how many natural resources we have buried in the ground off of Texas, Florida, California, and Alaska. I only hope that we don't have to mortgage those resources to pay back China, the Saudis, Japan, and all of our other creditors who keep buying our worthless paper we call the dollar.
It really saddens me (but is not surprising) that a lot of the Fox News opinion guys (Hannity, Glenn Beck, and O'Reilly) are dead set on beating the war drum. I've done some research on Afghanistan and trying to tame it, nation-build it, and/or prop up a puppet dictatorship (Karzai) will never ever work. The Soviets found this out and went broke fighting the Afghans. Afghanistan is a nation of tribes (44% are Pushtu's and the rest are other ethnic groups such as Uzbek's and Tajiks), very low literacy rate, very low life expectancy rate (average person lives to age 40). Anything outside of Kabul is ruled by decentralized war lords and or tribal rulers. The Taliban are not synonymous with al-Qaeda. Most of al-Qaeda has been destroyed and is either irrelevant or totally regrouping in Pakistan. ABC is actually reporting that only about 100al-Qaeda members remain in Afghanistan. In addition, we have no interest whatsoever (or even the sovereign right by the way) to invade Pakistan or any other nation unless we are attacked. If that is the case, we have every right to defend ourselves and abide by the Just War doctrine.
This is another thing that bothers the heck out of me with my Conservative brethren. They point to the Constitution for one thing, but then we say "oh that thing is outdated and doesn't really apply in this case". We possess no credibility when we pick and choose what we want to follow and ignore about the Constitution. It is the Supreme Law of the land and as long as we are not a Banana Republic, the rule of law should account for something.
Constitutionally, the Congress has the authority to "declare war" as the President has the enumerated power to "make war" as laid out in Article II and Article I (respectively). The framers of the Constitution explicitly bound the powers of the Executive after past experience and the history of how Kings and Monarchs exploited their country's blood and treasure waging wars. So, unless the Congress "declares war against Afghanistan...or... Al-Qaeda ...or... Iran", or any other country we declare as a "threat"... we should follow the Constitution and the framers intent. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington knew that unless they enumerated these principles as described in Articles I and II, the Executive would always have motive to use force. They were brilliant and wise beyond their years in articulating a belief in having trade and commerce with all and allegiance with no one.
As I said before (and I'll repeat it again), the Constitution is very clear on the power that are left to Congress and the powers of the Executive branch. I believe these clear enumerations have been lost to so many people and it has a lot to do with the War Powers Act of 1973. This was the background of the resolution vote that was used when we first sent troops so as to invade Iraq. The vote was for a "resolution" for using military funds for troops that would last for more than 90 days. This was also used as justification for much of the wars that have commenced dating back to the Korean War. The War Powers Act is very shaky from a Constitutionality perspective and I believe the law should be repealed (but likely never will).
According to the Constitution, if we want to hunt down terrorists or their safe havens, we should have the Congress Issue "Letters of Marque and Reprisal" also found in Article I Section 8 to both private and government sponsored fighting forces such as Special Ops, SEALs, Green Berets, or other private contractors in the form of a bounty to kill and eliminate any and all terrorist elements either in Pakistan and/or Afghanistan. This could also be done to any Somali Pirates roaming around in the Gulf of Aden.
If there really are a small sector of these groups of folks, issuing Letters of Marque and Reprisal can be retrofitted to be creative solutions to the problems we face both abroad and internally within our borders if need be.
May God bless our brave men and women wherever they are and may God grant them the strength to endure whatever challenges they may face, the perseverance to overcome fear of the unknown, and the faith in God himself that we are all here to do his will and not our own.