Letter: D'Amato: Withdraw troops now

Greg Buckley with a portrait of his eldest Greg Buckley with a portrait of his eldest son, Marine Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr., who was fatally shot on Aug. 10 in Afghanistan. Authorities said the Marine and two others were shot by a teenager who served as an aide to a local Afghan police commander. (Aug. 24, 2012) Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

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Like many of you, my heart broke watching the anguished Greg Buckley Sr. at his son's funeral ["Grief & anger: He lost his Marine son in Afghanistan -- and wants to save others from the same fate," News, Aug. 27].

Lance Cpl. Greg Buckley Jr. was taken from this world much too early and unnecessarily, in a war that we should not be fighting. In response to the Newsday story, I want to say that I agree with the elder Buckley when he says to bring our troops home.

The United States must make a long overdue decision. We must decide that it is time to declare an end to the U.S. engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring our soldiers home.

Let me start by saying that I supported the decisions to root out the Taliban in Afghanistan, and to remove the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But these missions were long ago achieved, and the endless involvement in these countries is now without purpose and should end.

In Afghanistan, we are saddled with a corrupt government that goes out of its way to show its disdain for the U.S. sacrifices there. And likewise in Iraq, the current rulers are nothing more than puppets of Iran's mullahs. The United States spends $50 million a day in Iraq to prop up this anti-American government. That's $18 billion a year for a government that opposes the United States at every turn.

Add to this the vicious attacks on U.S. soldiers by Afghan police and military recruits we are hiring and training, and the conclusion is inescapable: The time to end our involvement in these countries is now.

As a U.S. senator, I always championed our nation's right to defend itself. I co-sponsored the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act to put pressure on Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi and the Iranian ayatollahs. And, like the vast majority of Americans, I favored going after al-Qaida's vicious leaders in Afghanistan.

But today there is no compelling rationale for staying in these countries or providing vast amounts of U.S. aid to their hostile governments. So I say to our leaders: Enough is enough. Bring our young men and women home now, before another drop of U.S. blood is shed in wars that should be ended, not endless.

Alfonse D'Amato, Lido Beach

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