Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Afghanistan Weather Report: Cloudy with a Chance of Bombs

Obama's speech was just so sad - from the invocation of 9/11, to the recitation of wishy washy reasons for justifying his decision, to the circling back to 9/11 at the end of the speech to wrap up the unwanted gift of a continuing war to the American public - well, it was beyond disappointing. To use 9/11 as justification for this escalation, aside from taunting us with echoes of Bush, was intellectually weak and sounded as though he were in some fantasy world about how this new escalation would transform Afghanistan into an embryonic just 18 months! As I watched the cadets, some so young they still had pimples, I grieved to think that some of those sitting there would be going off to war and never come back. A war for what? The trope is 'national security', but it rings so hollow, except for those generals who get to keep their jobs and keep the military complex employed. Nevermind that 15,700,000 citizens in the United States are unemployed, and 26,950,000 Americans looking for full time jobs.

I don't care how many times they role-played in the war room and in Obama's planning sessions about this escalation, the actual outcome is always elusive...never one that's anticipated. But with this political strategy, at least Obama will get to say he tried and then we can leave. BUT WAIT. THERE'S MORE. We're not leaving. Today Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, testified before Congress that "we are not locked into the timetable", so who's to say that we couldn't be there for 50 more years...just like Korea. And Independent nightmare, Joe Lieberman, patted the President on the back for bucking his own party and siding with the warhorses...well, that's just sick. Obama must be feeling proud about that feint praise. Where is Obama's courage to buck the likes of General McChrystal and his posse, and corrupt contractors drooling for some of that $30 billion that should be staying here, at home, to repair this crippled economy?

Ok, enough about how depressing this's the solution to take back control of our wayward child's misguided ways. Time for some tough love. Since funding for the war needs to be authorized by Congress, we have to work on our representatives to simply NOT FUND THE WAR. I can already hear the chorus of "how can we not support our troops"? Well, what could be more supportive than not funding them so that they can come home. That would be the most patriotic thing to do.
We cannot let the war be funded. If ever there was a time for the grassroots to get busy, this is it.


Niodrara said...

Once again, you've hit the nail on the head. It's unconscionable that the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (what a joke) turns into mini-Bush. But don't think that "our congressmen" will not fund the "war": they don't have the guts. Nobody in Washington has the guts to point to the president's dangling privates, clearly visible through his "new clothes." Civil disobedience in bloated, lazy America? Not a chance.

Joe Markowitz said...

Let's start with your title. One of the reasons for increasing the number of troops on the ground is that it will allow us to decrease the use of air power, and hopefully reduce civilian casualties. The strategy for Afghanistan is a hearts and minds strategy to secure the civilian population and drive the Taliban out of populated areas. Unfortunately that strategy requires more troops. I am skeptical also that this strategy will work because the population of Afghanistan tends to get resentful of foreign soldiers no matter how helpful we might try to be, but I'm not sure I see a good alternative to it.

I don't think that Obama could possibly have stood up and said we're just going to abandon NATO which has 50,000 troops in Afghanistan, and we're going to abandon Afghanistan after he promised repeatedly during the campaign to win the war there. I don't think he could have said that we don't care if the Taliban comes back to power and makes Afghanistan a haven once again for Al Qaeda. And that is exactly what he would have been saying if he had announced we were bringing the troops home now.

In addition to that, there is a real human rights issue here. The last time the Taliban was in power, women were not allowed to go to school, men were not allowed to shave their beards, and people had to bury their televisions and record players in their back yards. Now millions of girls in Afghanistan are getting an education for the first time. I think we have some responsibility to try to prevent the Taliban from returning to power and taking music, art and education away from the people again, and they can only return to power by force.

It is a bad situation, and there may be no right answers, but anyone who opposes the escalation has to answer the question of what better plan they have for keeping the Taliban out of power.