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It Came From Afghanistan

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Posted on Sep 21, 2009
U.S. Marine Corps / Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

U.S. Marines discuss an overnight watch schedule during a security patrol in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

By Eugene Robinson

It’s hard to read Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s assessment of the Afghanistan war without hearing one of those horror-movie voices that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere, a voice that grows louder and more insistent with every page: “Get out. Get out. Get out.”

According to the confidential report prepared for President Barack Obama—obtained by Bob Woodward of The Washington Post—the situation in Afghanistan is “deteriorating.” The Taliban insurgency is “resilient and growing.” Afghans have a “crisis of confidence” in both their own government and the U.S.-led NATO occupation force. The next 12 months will be “decisive,” and “failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum ... risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

Obama said consistently during the election campaign that Afghanistan, not Iraq, was the right place for the United States to fight al-Qaida and its allies. Now the messy conflict in Afghanistan has become Obama’s war, and the president faces his most consequential decision thus far: whether he still believes his war can be “won” by military means.

“The mission is achievable,” McChrystal writes. The bulk of his report, however, strongly suggests it’s not.

As if on cue, the leader of the Taliban, Mohammad Omar, issued a taunting statement reminding Obama that for more than a millennium would-be conquerors have tried and failed to subdue the mountain fastness known as the “graveyard of empires”—Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C., the British in the 1800s, the Soviets from 1979 to 1989.

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“The invaders should study the history of Afghanistan,” Omar said in a message marking the end of Ramadan, reported the Financial Times. “The more the enemy resorts to increasing forces, the more they will face an unequivocal defeat.”

As galling as it is to accept tutelage from one of Osama bin Laden’s key enablers, this does seem to be what history teaches. Pouring forces into Afghanistan has always proved counterproductive. The presence of large numbers of foreign troops is the one thing that reliably unites Afghans—if only for long enough to drive the foreigners out.

Yet an additional surge in U.S. forces is precisely what McChrystal recommends—he calls it a “jump” in resources, presumably since “surge” is such a Bush-era word, but the effect would be the same. Declining to send more troops—troops that would provide a “bridge capability” until the Afghan army can be further expanded, equipped and trained—would “lead to failure,” the general writes.

Already, there are about 62,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, with the number set to rise to 68,000—more than double the U.S. commitment of a year ago. McChrystal doesn’t specify numbers in his report, but his predecessor asked for an additional 10,000 troops. As a comparison, the Soviet Union’s military presence in Afghanistan peaked at just over 100,000 troops—a number that proved pitifully too small to pacify a country larger than France and with a population now estimated at nearly 30 million.

McChrystal at least tries to outline a clear mission in Afghanistan: strengthening the Afghan state to the point where it can “sufficiently control its territory to support regional stability and prevent its use for international terrorism.”

He proposes a counterinsurgency strategy that could indeed inflict serious damage on the Taliban. In the process, though, McChrystal’s plan seems unlikely to boost confidence in the weak and corrupt Afghan government, especially following the recent elections that saw widespread, credible allegations of fraud. And as unpopular as the Taliban may be, does anyone believe that Afghans are really going to side with foreigners? Do we think that civilian casualties from aerial attacks—which would have to continue, given the size of the country and the ruggedness of its terrain—are helping to win Afghan hearts and minds? Can 1,400 years of history be so blithely ignored?

What Obama needs to do is downsize the mission. Our only goals should be to satisfy ourselves that Afghanistan will not again be a terrorist haven, and to leave as quickly as possible. We need to use not just force but also diplomacy—which means, yes, talking to the Taliban.

Some will say this shows weakness, but the ultimate sign of weakness is failure. If we send in more troops, I fear that’s where we’re headed.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.

© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By theworm, September 27, 2009 at 7:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The media, mouthing the administration, says ‘strategy’ first - ‘strategy before
resources’ - but, if Obama’s thinking is accurately reflected in the current
‘bumper sticker’, we are in deep Bush-like troubles. Every American knows
from bitter experience with a deranged administration that an effective
‘strategy’  is preceded by understanding the mission, goals and objectives. If
Obama is not reflecting on the mission, goals and objectives, he is clearly doing
it wrong (see George Bush et al for likely consequences). The American people
(not the Republicans, neo-cons and babble-heads, but the American people)
know that defeating al-Qaeda – i.e. the mission - is not achievable by
attacking and occupying a single nation, then another nation, then another
nation. Al-Qaeda simply moves from one country to another continuing its
work and leaving its pursuers to face the ill-will and animosity of an occupied
people. Let us hope Obama is looking not at the bumper sticker, but the reality
and reconsidering the war in Afghanistan in light of the mission, rather than
the strategy.

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By Anarcissie, September 27, 2009 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

Folktruther: ’... this is true not only in foreign but domestic affairs, where neozionism wants to implement the thought control bill and incresed censorship and repression. ...’

Ah, yes, Harman’s bill.  Totalitarianism from the center.  Well, I suppose that’s where it usually comes from.

Since you reminded me, I did a little research on it via Google, Wikipedia, and so forth.  It’s interesting to see who its friends and enemies were.  Or should I say “are”?  I imagine it will periodically rise from the dead.  Mr. O’s waffling about it (first he seemed to be for it, then he went silent) are what we have come to expect.

But one person out on the Net somewhere commented that the Internet seems to have become the “third rail of politics.”  Just think, millions of people have now enjoyed something like real free speech.  They may not wish to give it up.

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By Folktruther, September 26, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

Israel is not impotant in itself, but as Pfaff implied it fosters the neozionism that is isolating the US from the rrest of the world and making it more racist and bellegerant.  this is true not only in foreign but domestic affairs, where neozionism wants to implement the thought control bill and incresed censorship and repression.  And this is necessary in order to support foreign policy, since all foreign policy is domestic.

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By Folktruther, September 26, 2009 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment

An impressive posst, Anarcissie.

sure, oppression will increase when one fights it; if one gives in it is not necesssary for power to torment of kill, except for fun.

The Bush 2 approach, unilateralism,  started with the Clinton impeachment.  With the Soviets out of the game the neo-gops wanted to Clinton to emphaisize military power.  this was so disastrous that even Bush 2 retreated the last years of his reign.

But the US is still stuck with the torture, lawless imprisonment and death squads left over from Bush 2 to defend the mostrous and increasing inequlity.  IF Obama opts for the Afpak war, as he probably will, the US will cede first place to China.  this would eventually happen anyway, and the Chinese may well prefer that it happen later, but I don’t think Obama can stop the military.

Certainly his putting seven bases in Columbia does not indicate that he eschews the provocative.  the US is currently building a Green Zone in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2009 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:
’... Obama is continuing the torture, homicide, lawlessness and irrationality of Bush to maintain the super repression necessary to maintain American (and Isreali) power.  It is this super repression and exploitation that the American people must fight.’

If your analysis is correct then fighting it, especially fighting it successfully, will make it all the worse.  “The Devil rages because he knows his time is short.”

I have had a somewhat different idea of the struggle for world domination in recent years.  During the years of the elder Bush and of Clinton, the U.S. was unquestionably the world’s leading power, but part of the ruling class in charge of the government knew its power was not infinite but merely the first among equals.  The general strategy seemed to be to blur the distinction between the different national ruling classes and create a world ruling class which we might call “Capital”.  In order to maintain such an arrangement, it would be necessary to accept other faces at the big table, some of them differently pigmented.

When the Bush 2 crowd came in, they lay low for a while, but in fact they turned out to be regressives, reactionaries; they went back to national imperialism, not being smart enough to understand that the U.S. could not sustain such a role economically or politically.

With Obama and company, I think the U.S. ruling class is back on the Clintonoid track, but has suffered significant losses and may not be able to hold on to even the first-among-equals thing.  Mr. O has a fine line to walk: on the one hand, he must try to recover the U.S. from the destructive policies of his predecessor, and on the other, he can’t do it too quickly or the game will be given away and the deterioration of the American r.c. will proceed even more rapidly and violently.

I continue to think that Israel is not very significant; like Taiwan in the 1950s, it is more an enterprise of a certain segment of the U.S. ruling class into which subsidies can be dropped and various political benefits like campaign donations derived.  If it should cease to serve it would be dropped immediately.

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By Folktruther, September 26, 2009 at 10:38 am Link to this comment

Surplus repression refers to the routine repession needed to maintain social domination over the restriction on needs and desires needed for civilization to servive.  I am referring here to SUPER repression necessary to continue domination when a polity is losing power.

When the Bushites seized power at the beginning of the 21st century, began to initiate a super repression cuased by the plutocracy’s turn toward the smash and grab of short term historical power rather than long term continuted rule.  The US econinomic and political institutions are obsolete and non-competive in the world arena, so the US ruling class is joining the world ruling class and abandoning its American base.  The endless War on Terroism is directed both to domestic as well as Foreign Enemies.

The repression need to INITIATE social domintion is much greater than to continue it.  The capture, torture and homicide of Terrorists is much greater than routine under the traditional plutocracy.  A neoplutocracy has developed much more avericious and bloodthirsty than formerly, and its repression is much more intense, lawless, barbaric, and idsguised by greater irrationality.

The neoplutocracy can only rule by fear.  It is necessary to intimidate populations to obey, and this is done by torturing and humiliating them.  the template is the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians.  At the checkpoints in the Occupied Land, the soildiers are encouraged to demean the Palestinians, which need to get to work.  The sexual humiliation of the Iraqi prisoners serves the same purpose, as does tradtional rape in war.

The US, decaying rapidly economically and culturally, can only maintain its domination by violence and the fear of violence.  As the world’s people are outraged by US behavior, the neoplutocracy has installed Obama to speechify inspiring bullshit while continuing Bushite poliices.  Obama is the bookend to Bush, to get the Dems fully on board the War on Terrorism express.

Obama is continuing the torture, homicide, lawlessness and irrationality of Bush to maintain the super repression necessary to maintain American (and Isreali) power.  It is this super repression and exploitation that the American people must fight.

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By Anarcissie, September 26, 2009 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Folktruther:
‘Anarcissie- that is the classical marxist position, that capitalist exploitation is pretty much the same everywhere and the oppression is directly dependant on profit driven exploltation.  I disagree. ...’

I didn’t mean to imply that all evildoers do the same amount of evil.  It is clear that the masters of powerful states can do much more than ordinary people or lower-level evildoers; and since they can, they do.

Certainly not all exploitation is profit-driven, and not all destructive treatment of humans by other humans is exploitation (in the material sense).  Marcuse speaks about “surplus repression” which is an interesting concept—those who practice domination usually go well beyond the level of repression needed to secure their power.  The practice of domination, so to speak, feeds on itself.

This is one of the reasons I reject the idea that we can have just a little rational domination here and there, favored so much by liberal imperialists and certainly noticeable in discussions of Afghanistan, including the one descending from the present article.

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By Folktruther, September 25, 2009 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie- that is the classical marxist position, that capitalist exploitation is pretty much the same everywhere and the oppression is directly dependant on profit driven exploltation.  I disagree.

the oprression of the American plutocracy is greater because the scope of its power is greater and more intense than, say French capitalism.  since the US leads world capitalism, its oppression is worse, and the benefit to the earthperson population greater than the defeat say, of Blegiam capitalism.

And the homicidal violence power has a life of its own, hoever much it is based on exploitation.  As Chris Harman points out in his world history, a marxist work, the massacrre of the Jews was economically against the interests of the Nazi power structure, ssince resouces had to be diverted and the work, including specialist work, of the Jews could have been used.  but the holicaust was comminted for ideological reasons independant of getting a profit.

If you ever talk to right wingers, they really hate progs standing up for, say, minorities.  Their religious,political and scientific ideology maintain that people are Bad.  this justifies their exploitation, but it also justifies barbarism not necessary for their exploitation.  The hatred and contempt for the general population on the part of the Elite has an economic basis, true, but it has an emotional dimention that extends beyond the economic and political.

A big fallacy of marxism is that it presumes that people are rational, part of the Western worldview.  This presumption has been modified by psychological thought over the past century.

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By Anarcissie, September 25, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Folktruther: In my case Marshall’s accusation is quite justified.  I think the US plutocracy is the major enemy of the people of the world and the major enemy of the American population as well. ...  This plutocracy is bent on driving the American people into the ground.  It must be destroyed, or it will destroy us.

Actually, I think evil is pretty well distributed.  There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of it, and the Bible assures us that it is sufficient unto its day.

I don’t think the U.S. ruling class is bent on driving the people into the ground, but rather simply wants to exploit them as fully as possible, whether they’re driven into the ground or not.  Right now the folk are proving unsatisfactory in turning against the latest war—there must be some residue of democracy left if this is considered significant—and so I am not surprised to hear that an exciting new terror plot has turned up.

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By bogi666, September 24, 2009 at 10:21 am Link to this comment

leefeller, try tequila and creme de cocoa, just don’t drive. it used to be called a brave bull,

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By Leefeller, September 24, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

bogi666

“Question authority and nonsense, and why does it all seem nonsense?”

Both sides of this argument seem to have nothing to stand on but their own belief of cause, both have been separated from the individual use of reason, for they have become tainted as beliefs rather than ever evasive truth, in fact it seems truth is not even an option, seemingly not much different than our great government.

Interestingly I have been accused of being other posters on TD many times, (my favorite a Nazi with Jack Boots)  my schizophrenia keeps me from knowing who I am and many times where I am plus always why am I here? I notice it gets much worse when I run out of Tequila and coffee!

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By bogi666, September 24, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

leefeller, is hark you alter ego?

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By Folktruther, September 24, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

In my case Marshall’s accusation is quite justified.  I think the US plutocracy is the major enemy of the people of the world and the major enemy of the American population as well. 

It has subverted the fight to help save our traditional climate; it is the chief instigater of the spread of nuclear weapons; it has degenerated to past neo-colonialism; its death squads are all over the world; it is leading the world in engaging in torture; it’s neoliberalism is a chief cause of the destitution in the world; its barbarism is concealed, disgusied and justified by duplicity and ideological irrationality.

The moral degeneracy of the US power structure is so important because of US power.  It has an enormous amount of military, economic and ideological resources to support evil and its contempt for earthpeople. 

The US plutocrcies avidity for money trumps any moral or spiritual claim, and its deceit is bottomless.  Functioning in a power system with obsolete economic, political and cultrual institutions, the Bushite policies of the US is a danger to the whole world.

This plutocracy is bent on driving the American people into the ground.  It must be destroyed, or it will destroy us.

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By Leefeller, September 24, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Discussing the fine points of reality not knowing really if what was heard or told or proposed as truth is even real, seems slightly skewed. 

As far as what one has been told, guess one can discuss the points as intercepted by a working opposed to a non working brain, which makes for the fine points of division.

Seems accroding to some our troops should protect the world from itself and seems the would should be like the USA. In a sense, to some the USA is like the sun.
Seems others prefer to live and let live.

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By Anarcissie, September 24, 2009 at 6:11 am Link to this comment

Marshall:
‘By Anarcissie, September 23 at 4:44 pm #

i’m not going to engage on your pointless and diversionary historical interpretation of AQ’s/Taliban’s inception/motivations - with which i disagree; they exist now and are a problem.  But your belief in the U.S.’ existence as the cause of the world’s problems shares an arrogance in common with the far right’s belief that a U.S. presence can solve them all.

That you fall head over heals for OBL’s propaganda blaming the U.S. for his murderous actions is emblematic of the american far left’s ability to sympathize with any cause no matter how loathsome, so long as they can find a way to implicate the U.S. in its motivations. ...’

Fundamentally dishonest, Marshall.  You can get away with this sort of thing only if you can shout down or overwhelm the opposition.  But you can’t—our voices are equal here.  And anyone can read what I wrote, and what you wrote, and see who is speaking rationally and who is doing propaganda.  Better shape up if you want to convince anyone of anything.

In short, I’m not afraid of your abuse.

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By ardee, September 23, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

Marshall spouts:
Joined at the hip now by familial and ideological ties, Taliban refused to turn over OBL (subject to their laughable “conditions” which you both naturally use to exonerate them).  With massive popular support (save Anarcissie of course), U.S. did the right thing and toppled the mob.  What we do now is the topic you apparently fear to address because it would involve explaining how we avoid a re-peat.

The Taliban refused , Marshall states, to turn over bin Laden. The world knows that they did indeed offer to do exactly that with the provisos that there be no death penalty and that he be turned over to Islamist courts . This is a matter of public record.

The person who noted that Marshall’s posts are poisonous was dead on target.

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By Marshall, September 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 23 at 4:44 pm #

i’m not going to engage on your pointless and diversionary historical interpretation of AQ’s/Taliban’s inception/motivations - with which i disagree; they exist now and are a problem.  But your belief in the U.S.’ existence as the cause of the world’s problems shares an arrogance in common with the far right’s belief that a U.S. presence can solve them all.

That you fall head over heals for OBL’s propaganda blaming the U.S. for his murderous actions is emblematic of the american far left’s ability to sympathize with any cause no matter how loathsome, so long as they can find a way to implicate the U.S. in its motivations.  that you assign greater credibility to OBL than your own country is your business, but the idea that it’ll all go away just as soon as we confine all americans to the mainland is rather ridiculous, not to mention impossible.  but i understand that arguing an impossibility is easier than engaging current reality which is why the far left has little legitimacy in U.S. governance.  You’re spot-on about the divide though.


By Folktruther, September 23 at 3:57 pm #

“people wanted to attack somebody for 9/11, they didn’t much care who.”

Your Dem activist aside, it was clear soon after 9/11 who the perpetrators were and where they lived which is why most people supported that war.

“the problem Marshall has with his poisonous posts is that there is nothing to win in the Afpak war”

If I thought that, i’d be arguing for withdrawal. put simply, U.S. withdrawal=taliban resurgance=AQ reestablishment.  The consequences of this are obvious.

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2009 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

Imperialism as a mind set, may be like conservationism they are born that way, sort of like gays, it just happens to be the way they are. Out of the shoot, conservatives want stability and power, they need to be on the offensive for defense seems weak in their minds, so attack before being attacked is acceptable, the only thing is if someone seems to look at them the wrong way or does not agree them or is different the same end is acceptable to them, attack and make them like us.

Imperialism seems to be seeking more power and economics, our countries parallels seem striking, to yes Rome, but can one say the Nazis and Japanese were more the imperialists then the good old USA? Make up stories and attack?

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By berniem, September 23, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

Imperial Rome,over extended and dependent on mercenaries to defend it’s borders(interests)because conscription of it’s own citizens would not be politic. Circuses at home, among other domestic distractions, to keep the populous from focusing too much on the unraveling. An ever expanding military which must be kept busy lest boredom sets in and thoughts stray to undesirable pursuits. An elite ruling class that is incapable of managing itself much less governing a nation. Paranoia and constriction of civil rights to protect against the Barbarians at the"gates”. Is this starting to sound familiar?

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By msgmi, September 23, 2009 at 1:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lessons learned from Vietnam and Iraq have no legs on Capitaol Hill. Add to that the on-going counterinsurgency (COIN) operations in Algeria since the early 1990s, the politricos on the Beltway remain equipped with blinders and their addiction to the World Superpower mentality continues to perpetuate an illusionary perception of victory.

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By Anarcissie, September 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

Marshall—the U.S. ruling class probably cannot guarantee itself safety from a repetition of 9/11 because it has been meddling in the Middle East since World War 2—or, if you count the U.S. takeover of the British franchise, since before the 20th century.  Much of the involvement has been imperial, although some of it was merely commercial.  As a result of this involvement the American people have been put in danger from all sorts of Middle-Eastern tribal wars.  The business with al-Qaeda is a good example: this movement (it is not an organization) derives from American support, beginning thirty years or more ago, for groups carrying on guerrilla war and terrorism against the Soviet Union and its clients in Afghanistan.  We thought the Soviet Union and the U.S. were radically different; evidently a lot of people in the Middle East thought we were very much the same.  Similarly, the present interventions in Afghanistan and elsewhere are creating new groups with new scores to settle, maybe twenty or thirty years in the future.  It is important to understand that the people you support have already done the damage, which can’t be undone overnight.

So what can be done now?  Reasonable people would terminate the general imperial project, but this is not possible for the ruling class of a state because the lifeblood of the state is war.  So I really don’t know what to say.  We speak across a divide on one side of which are those who kill only in self-defense and on the other, those who kill as a matter of policy, convenience, expedience or profit—or for the hell of it.  I have no advice to shout across the divide and in any case, on the other side no one would care to hear it if I did.

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By Folktruther, September 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, the demos in LA against the Afghan war were very small, largely because people wanted to attack somebody for 9/11, they didn’t much care who.  A long time Dem leader and activist stated to me in an e-mail, “Id onn’t care how many innocent people are killed, I want revenge.”

I think the problem Marshall has with his poisonous posts is that there is nothing to win in the Afpak war, and the notion of Afghanistan attacking the US, possibly with nuclear powered war canoes, is so absurd that even the American people won’t buy it. 

I thik it possible that Obama might change his policy since escalating is so obviously a losing one.

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By Marshall, September 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

By JimBob, September 23 at 2:11 pm #

“the fact that Al Qaeda happened to be hiding out in Afghanistan has as much to do with our security as the fact that Timothy McVeigh made his bomb in Kansas or used a Ryder truck.”

...except that neither Kansas nor Ryder provided its services for the purpose of abetting McVeigh’s intentions.  Absolving the Taliban of causal connection is ludicrous. And you acknowledge the global benefit of stable countries but give no special urgency to those that have fallen into the hands of terrorist groups who’ve declared war on us or attacked us in the past.  Flawed logic all around.

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By Marshall, September 23, 2009 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

By Anarcissie, September 23 at 8:43 am #
By ardee, September 23 at 6:08 am #

not surprising you both obsess on the one statement that has no actual bearing on my point.  Whether Taliban funded AQ, the other way around, or neither of the above is immaterial.

thug Taliban obviously conspired with AQ by providing their country as a base of operations with numerous documented training camps (like Rishkhor, Beni Hissar, Badr I and Badr II. etc…) which were clearly not being used as yoga retreats.  Some we’re even joint camps with both Taliban and AQ training at the same location.  OBL announced his intent to attack the U.S. at Abu Jindal camp in 1998.  Joined at the hip now by familial and ideological ties, Taliban refused to turn over OBL (subject to their laughable “conditions” which you both naturally use to exonerate them).  With massive popular support (save Anarcissie of course), U.S. did the right thing and toppled the mob.  What we do now is the topic you apparently fear to address because it would involve explaining how we avoid a re-peat.

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By OldUncleDave, September 23, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

It’s not a war, it’s an occupation.

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By Jean Gerard, September 23, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So where is my comment from yesterday about the “laundry list from hell”?  Or am I too serious? I don’t do this just for fun, or to get my name in print, or to argue.

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By JimBob, September 23, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

The misperception, or lie or whatever you want to call it at the very center of this whole issue is that”...a stable Afghanistan is central to the security of the United States.” That is simply not true. Every stable country is good for the whole world, and every unstable country poses risks for the whole world—economic risks, population-shift risks, health risks, etc. But the fact that Al Qaeda happened to be hiding out in Afghanistan has as much to do with our security as the fact that Timothy McVeigh made his bomb in Kansas or used a Ryder truck. Connection doesn’t equal causality. The 9/11 hijackers worked out of Florida, San Diego, Germany. The neocons have harnessed the reptilian fears of a segment of the population and used it to create a profitable little war that is never going to do us any good. Meantime, we “can’t afford” health care for all our citizens or a good, 21st-Century education for all our children.


Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/23/obama-considers-dramatica_n_295788.html

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By godistwaddle, September 23, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

More NATO (U.S.) troops=more targets for patriotic Afghans and freedom fighters.

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By dihey, September 23, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment

President Obama’s kabuki theater on Afghanistan reminds me not of Vietnam or Iraq but of China during WW2 with FDR, Generliassimo Chiang, Marshall, Stimson, Chennault, Stilwell et al., except that the “loss of China” then would have engendered infinitely greater problems for the Allies than a “loss of Afghanistan” today. What was President Obama thinking when he originally asked for 20,000 additional troops for Afghanistan? Did he believe that he could get the Pentagon off his back? If that was the case he comes across as dangerously naïve. If he thought that several tens of thousands more than that were needed to “win” why did he not tell us? Is he afraid of US voters? What is he thinking today? I have not the foggiest idea other than that he considers the Afghan war a “necessity”. Necessity is the mother of demand.

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By Ivan Hentschel, September 23, 2009 at 6:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You do not get to be a 19-star generalissimo by saying, “Let’s stay home and bake bread”. McChrystal is just doing the job he was trained for…just like assembling gas-guzzlers in Detroit. He is, sadly, a cathode ray TV tube in an age of flat-panel HDTV.

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By Anarcissie, September 23, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment

Louise:
‘Marshall,
Speaking of patently absurd.
The Taliban DID NOT fund al-Qaeda and bin-Laden!
ardee is correct. ...’

They just make stuff up.

Incidentally, I demonstrated against the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, as did some other people.  I think the demonstrations would have been bigger had people realized that what was on offer at the time was not a raid to get Osama bin Laden but a regular imperial adventure with an indefinite occupation as its outcome.

The propaganda from the ruling class on this one has been of amazingly low quality, hence Marshall’s silly remarks—he’s probably getting a newsletter giving talking points from the Pentagon, or maybe the New York Times.  Learn the facts, Marshall!  It won’t be hard to improve on the quality of the product you’re being asked to purvey.

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By Purple Girl, September 23, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

Afghanis are far more ‘Tribalists’ than ‘nationalists’.Something more akin to Scotland when the Romans realized they were ‘undefeatable’ and the Englsih tried playing ‘Whack a mole’ during their attempts to control them.
We need not just Miltiary assessements, but Sociological Assessements to determine how to ‘befriend’ each group without offending their regional adversaries at the same time. It’s not just the ‘The Enemy of my enemy is my Friend’ , but more poignantly ‘the Friend of my Enemy is my enemy’ attitude.
We are trying to corral cats in Afghanistan. chasing them around instead of luring them in with enticements. Want to corral a herd of Cats- put out enough Tuna. 
We must also recognize the fact we can not do this by offering them ‘westernized’ ideas of ‘progress’. Offering to build schools for Girls is not going to work. We must work within th econfimes of their Social and Religious ideologies- not ours. We may have to forego some issues we consider ‘human rights’. We must think more like ‘starfleet’ when it comes to social issues - we can not expect to suddenly ‘beem’ these people into the 21st century. We will have to work on that in steps over probably decades of interaction.
A Suggestion which may suffice not only The Afghanis but also those of US here who have had just about enough of big Businesses Self Congradulatory attitude- esp when it comes to CEO comp packages. Since these CEO’s constantly claim their salary and Comp packages are a reflection of their ‘Talent’ for business. Let’s make them prove it. Afghanistan is a fledgling economy- mostly based on Agriculture, much like ours before the Industrial revolution. Let’s ‘Draft’ these Industrial ‘Titans’ to create something out of nothing like their predecessors who brought US out of a purely Ag Economy. Dont’ just put your money where you mouth is boys- put your Talents too. That goes for Big Ag who has always claimed they are far better equip to provide the means to Bigger ‘Bread basket’ production levels. Not only Seeds and materials, but man power and Education. Get the Afghani’s off Poppy production and into crops suited for that environment.
Our current Industrialist love to pat themselves on the back while padding their pockets with profits. They have yet to prove they can make a silk purse out of a sows ear. In fact over the last few decades they’ve only proven they can make a sows ear out of Silk.

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By Leefeller, September 23, 2009 at 3:46 am Link to this comment

LemuelG thanks for the historical clarification, seems history has many tellers. Even if Afghanistan is Conquerable, reason for doing so seems far fetched.

Conquer Afghanistan because it is there? Always fear instilled on the mental ignorance’s of societies seems reason enough for some.
Being told spreading Democracy throughout the world is what Afghanistan is about, as if Democracy is the only religion the world should have.

Of course a Democracy which is not even a real democracy, but lip service to the concept of opportunism in the name. Very much like the many purported interpretations of religions in the same sense.

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By ardee, September 23, 2009 at 3:08 am Link to this comment

Marshall, September 22 at 9:42 pm #

By ardee, September 22 at 9:12 pm #

“the Taliban was not involved in any way with the machinations and plots of AlQaeda and bin Laden.”

That’s patently absurd ardee since the Taliban funded AQ and hosted OBL and his dozens of training camps which is why we went after him in Afghanistan, then refused to turn him over to the US after 9/11.

I would not deny that Marshall is good at propaganda, at burying the lie deep in the nuances and building upon it to make his case for war, for torture , for the status quo in fact.

In this case the lie is that the Taliban funded AlQaeda. No one outside of that small coterie of extremist neo-cons believes that the Taliban did anything but extend Islamist hospitality to that group, no one except the radicals on the right believes that they were even aware of the nature of AQ and its war like intent, and, once it was pointed out to them, the Taliban offered up bin Laden for prosecution. By the by, how many training camps were in Afghanistan…tens, dozens, hundreds, one, perhaps none even?

I understand the difficulty Marshall faces in spreading lies and advancing the Bush agenda. Torture and murder is such a hard sell after all.

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By LemuelG, September 23, 2009 at 2:37 am Link to this comment

When will writers tire of regurgitating that worn-out myth of Afghani invincibility?

It is simply erronious - as a region, Afghanistan has been conquered and re-conquered as much as any other place in the world. Alexander’s invasion was successful and Greek occupation lasted many years after his death (under the stewardship of the Seleucids), this article conveys the impression that he failed - wrong.

There is no reason or rule, mystical or otherwise that says Afghanistan is un-invadable. To imply such is merely pointless, nut-less defeatism, not the pacifistic kind, but the ignorant kind.

Air-strikes obliterating entire families cannot help NATO’s cause here, but the fact the Western world is happy enough to maintain the current political status-quo in Afghanistan discredits them even more. Many of the current elite are no better than murderous war-lords who share responsibility for the current shitty situation with the Taliban (and the US, USSR).

The logical approach for NATO to try and fulfill their mission-objectives would have been to take over the civil-administration of Afghanistan lock, stock and barrel.

If Afghanistan needed anything from us it was a political enema - cleanse the war-lords and drug-barons, the opportunists, fanatics and fifth-columnists to allow a new political culture not abused and corrupted by civil-war to develop.

Why should our young men be willing to die for the enrichment of corrupt adventurers and the whimsy of strategists?

(and if you think going to the head of the Taliban for a historical-lesson is a good idea, well, you are a God-forsaken fool)

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By NZDoug, September 22, 2009 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment

Sort Israel and the Muslim world just might believe in “Truth, Justice, and the
American Way”, just like in Superman.
Otherwise, its just more FOX news where the Terrorists are winning.
TERROR TERROR TERROR!
You reap what you sow.

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By Marshall, September 22, 2009 at 10:47 pm Link to this comment

By Louise, September 22 at 11:44 pm #

“The Taliban DID NOT fund al-Qaeda and bin-Laden!”

They did according to Lawrence Wright pulitzer prize winning book “The
Looming Tower” but we’ll leave that detail to the historians.  The obvious point
is that their symbiotic relationship made the distinction between Taliban and
AQ academic.

Your defense of Taliban/AQ’s absurd “offer” to hand over OBL pending
“convincing evidence” of his guilt flies nicely with the partisan anti-war left and
9/11 conspiracy nuts but no one else.

“it may have been discovered he didn’t actually plan the 9/11 attack. Not
saying he didn’t, just saying ... we don’t really know.”

No, you ARE saying he didn’t because that’s the only way to satisfy your need
to divert blame from Taliban/AQ and lay it on the U.S..  It’s fine - just admit it.

“bin-Laden had access to ample funding from various Salafi jihad…”

This is correct, though Wright believes he was in fact broke at this time, cut off
from family funding.  But again, this point is incidental.

“At some point in time, we have to leave and let them get on with their lives,
their way.”

Their “way” has been to provide succor to groups that stage serious attacks on
muslims and non-mulsims alike including the U.S..  That’s where “their way”
ends and “our way” begins.  This is common sense.  There is a legitimate issue
of how best to prevent Afghanistan from reverting to its earlier self but there’s
no question it must be done, though the author of this article pretends it’ll
happen by itself.

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By Louise, September 22, 2009 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

Ajaz,

“President Obama, do not send more troops to Afghanistan. Start a reconciliation process in that country and bring all American troops home from Afghanistan within a year.”

Amen! And Amen to your entire comment.

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By Louise, September 22, 2009 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment

Marshall,

Speaking of patently absurd.
The Taliban DID NOT fund al-Qaeda and bin-Laden!
ardee is correct.

And, the Taliban DID NOT refuse to turn bin-Laden over. Deputy prime minister Haji Abdul Kabir - the third most powerful figure in the ruling Taliban regime - said the Taliban would require evidence that Bin Laden was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks. And following evidence they would hand him over to a third country. Bush said no. I guess he didn’t have enough evidence.

Or maybe it was a matter of justifying war. How can one do that if the enemy is surrendered to a third country? Besides, if bin-Laden had been available to the foreign press it may have been discovered he didn’t actually plan the 9/11 attack. Not saying he didn’t, just saying ... we don’t really know.

bin-Laden had access to ample funding from various Salafi jihad, who in turn had ample funding sloshing about in the form of (oh no) petro-dollars, for decades before Afghanistan became a target. And he also had a huge personal fortune. And I refer to him in the past tense because he is probably dead, no matter what various propaganda releases tell us.

Leaders of the Taliban may have hosted bin-Laden in their homes, that is after all the Pashton way, even extending to Arabs. But they did not fund the so-called al-Qaeda effort, or the madrassas in the Afghan border regions.

“Pull out your sword and slay any one, that says Pashton and Afghan are not one! Arabs know this and so do Romans: Afghans are Pashtons, Pashtons are Afghans!” Khushal Khan Khattak, 17th century.

And therein lies much of the problem. No matter how intensly we think we know and understand these people in the Afghan/Pakistan regions, we don’t. And probably never will, so LostHills is right. At some point in time, we have to leave and let them get on with their lives, their way. A way that is older than any western civilization functioning on earth today.

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By LostHills, September 22, 2009 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment

Hey Louise, don’t call me out. You don’t have the intellect for it and you don’t have a position that makes sense. And don’t tell me this is my war. You bring the troops home the same way you bring boyscouts home from a camping trip. Order a stand down from combat operations, schedule transportation, and order company comanders to report to the transportation site with all their gear at the appointed time. It’s really that simple.

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By Louise, September 22, 2009 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

LostHills,

“It ain’t my war, baby. Bring the troops home now, and let the Afghans get on with their lives.”

~~~

OK, how? I’m sure the president and the DOD would welcome your suggestions. I know I’d like to hear them.

By the way, are you a citizen of the United States? If so, it is indeed your war.

~~~

ardee,

“Geeez, Louise,”

“So, while it is our war it is also our obligation to try to make Obama see reason. So far, no luck.”

~~~

Now how can you state such an absolute without absolute proof?

As I recall the President has clearly stated, several times this week he has not yet made a decision. That does not necessarily mean he does not see reason. Perhaps his ability to see a lot of what we cant see is part of the process of looking at all possible solutions. At least to me, that seems to be a reasonable assumption. Besides, maybe that’s the problem, trying to MAKE Obama see reason. I’m not sure how you or I, or anyone can MAKE the president see our version of reason. As outrageous as it may seem, there may actually be someone out there who see’s reason more clearly than either one of us.

The absolute of one will, one view and one reason is one of those defining characteristics of the always right rights, isn’t it?

I know what I see that I don’t like. I also know what the troops see. But most important I don’t have a clue (well maybe a clue) about the far reaching consequence of any decision that might be made at this point in time. I had a pretty good idea, as I’m sure you did, about the inevitable consequence of the previous administrations actions, followed by lack of action. But the outcome of that indifference turned out to be far worse than any of us could imagine.

Why is it when I boil over and lay blame EVERYONE gets upset? After all isn’t that exactly what pundits, politicians and posters here are doing when they insist on laying blame on Obama?  I have a better idea. How about someone, anyone come with a practical, workable intelligent plan to bring the war, OUR war to an end.

I frequently express myself to/at the “rights” and all their rightness.

They don’t like it either. smile

~~~

Folktruther,

“It’s certainly YOUR war, Louise, since you support the American power stucture and Obama’s public relations role in it.  I can understand your contempt for the American peole for not supporting the continuence of pointless brutality and slaughter, as you do.  And the Dem leaders do, as well as the Gops. but the pompoms you are waving for Obama are getting an increasingly amount of blood on them.”

~~~

Clever folkguy. The pompom bit I mean.

Are you a citizen of the United States? If so, it’s your war too.

I guess I should be surprised by your obvious pretense to know exactly what I believe and exactly what I stand for, but I’m not. Any more than I believe you really understand my contempt. Or even your own! As I recall as often as not you come off sounding like a GOP apologist. Although I know, as you have so many times pointed out, you aren’t. Actually aside from being an Obama-basher, I’m not sure what you are.

“I try to avoid anger because its counterproductive and burns up a lot of energy. But sometimes it’s hard. How does one keep calm in the face of hopeless idiocy?”

So hey! Thanks for contributing to my thoughts.

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By Ajaz, September 22, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Generals are saying that without more troops war effort in Afghanistan will be lost. What they cannot visualize is that with more troops, failure will come sooner.. Many military and independent observers admit that 80% of Afghanistan is already lost to Taliban and this, after eight years of military effort!

Those of us old enough to remember early days of Vietnam war, remember well that troop levels were around 50,000 at first, then 100,000, then 250,000 and still the Generals wanted more, saying that we can only defeat the enemy if we have more troops. President Johnson listened to them and increased troop levels to over 400,000. United Sates still lost the war and to this day, hasty retreat of U.S. troops from Vietnam haunts many a mind.

Afghanistan is no different, same scenario will be played out again if troops are increased, only more American young men and women will die, more Afghans will be bombed and the resultant hatred against the U.S. will last for another 20 to 30 years. It is time to learn a lesson from history. “Nations who do not learn from past mistakes are bound to repeat them”.

It is no fault of the Generals that they ask for more troops. This is what they know - have strength to fight the enemy. Generals are no politicians and it is not in their purview to think politically, that is the job of the politicians and the President.

It is still not too late to achieve a reconciliation in Afghanistan. Mullah Omar and other Taliban leaders have hinted more than once that they are willing to talk. U.S. has the means and the motive to accomplish a reconciliation. What is needed is an immediate ceasefire and a conference of all Afghan players, Northern Alliance, Hazaras, Pashtuns, Taliban and all others. U.S. and NATO should tell them that if you want foreign troops to leave, they have to reconcile and get along with each other.

Annul the Presidential elections and hold fresh elections after a peace conference so all parties can freely participate and if the people of Afghanistan want an Islamic Government, let them have one, only do not isolate them like before, so they go to bed with terrorists. Bring the new Afghan Government into the fold of international community and let them realize their responsibilities to the international community.

Afghanistan and its people have suffered a great deal in the super power rivalry. It is time this country was at peace and started rebuilding its infrastructure, an education system and created job opportunities for its young so they don’t follow religious extremists. A Marshall style reconstruction plan for Afghanistan and Western part of Pakistan could change the political landscape of that part of the world and yet, it would cost a great deal less than extending the war.

President Obama, do not send more troops to Afghanistan. Start a reconciliation process in that country and bring all American troops home from Afghanistan within a year.

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By Marshall, September 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

By ardee, September 22 at 9:12 pm #

“the Taliban was not involved in any way with the machinations and plots of AlQaeda and bin Laden.”

That’s patently absurd ardee since the Taliban funded AQ and hosted OBL and his dozens of training camps which is why we went after him in Afghanistan, then refused to turn him over to the US after 9/11.  It’s like saying that if I allowed someone to build bombs in my house, go out and detonate them, then run back to my house to escape detection, I’m “not involved in any way with their crimes”.  You’re stretching past the breaking point on this one but what do I expect.

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By ardee, September 22, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, September 22 at 9:05 pm #

Does the author think Afghanistan will just take care of itself, deal with the Taliban insurgents, not become another petri dish for Al Qaeda and very soon a threat to other countries once again? 

As does the author, that’s exactly what I think.

What Marshall hopes no one remembers is that the Taliban was not involved in any way with the machinations and plots of AlQaeda and bin Laden. They extended Islamist hospitality to them and it is rather unlikely that they would allow a resumption of such as Marshall posits.

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By Marshall, September 22, 2009 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

“Our only goals should be to satisfy ourselves that Afghanistan will not again be a terrorist haven, and to leave as quickly as possible.”

Every pro-withdrawal article I read always papers over the issue of what happens when we leave.  Does the author think Afghanistan will just take care of itself, deal with the Taliban insurgents, not become another petri dish for Al Qaeda and very soon a threat to other countries once again?  The history we should be learning from is the one where OBL used the country as a base of operations and funding machine to launch a devastating attack on the U.S. and that since we drove him into the caves of Pakistan, he’s failed to do it again despite numerous threats.

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By LostHills, September 22, 2009 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

It ain’t my war, baby. Bring the troops home now, and let the Afghans get on with their lives.

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By ardee, September 22, 2009 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Louise, September 22 at 1:54 pm

Geeez, Louise, preach much to the choir? You are certainly correct in your statement that this is OUR war, we are responsible and only we have the power to end it. But I suggest you post this rant of yours on a right wing forum as most here were against the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq from the beginning.

Obama, as CinC, as the leader of this nation, decides whether or not to send more troops or bring them all home. So, while it is our war it is also our obligation to try to make Obama see reason. So far, no luck.

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By Folktruther, September 22, 2009 at 1:25 pm Link to this comment

It’s certainly YOUR war, Louise, since you support the American power stucture and Obama’s public relations role in it.  I can understand your contempt for the American peole for not supporting the continuence of pointless brutality and slaughter, as you do.  And the Dem leaders do, as well as the Gops.  but the pompoms you are waving for Obama are getting an increasingly amount of blood on them.

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By Leefeller, September 22, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

bogi666,

Is it possible hark was attempting sarcasm, if not he has his tongue on both cheeks.

Sarcasm is very hard to determine here as most posters are so serious it hurts them when they smile, plus sarcasm does not come across in the written word as easily, as in person, especially with new posters, we have no idea of their tone, body language and where they are coming from or history to judge from.

It may be helpful if people placed a flag or comment which said “sarcasm follows” or some indicator for readers to understand the true context of the writer.

Of course I do not practice what I preach, after all that is the American way.

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By bogi666, September 22, 2009 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

hark, thanks for you informing us that Einstein has nothing on you, when it come to intellectual ability. WE certainly appreciate your endowing us with your modest humility of which you should be proud.

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By bogi666, September 22, 2009 at 11:19 am Link to this comment

hark could it be that Einstein is the source!

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By Sufilizard, September 22, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This stopped being a “war” years ago. You can’t win an occupation.

After eight years, things are pretty much worse than they were when we first invaded. Why would anyone believe that staying longer is going to improve the situation.

Granted, pulling out now will likely result in the Taliban returning to power, but staying will have equally dire consequences for us.

There are no positive outcomes available to us. Unfortunately Obama staked his claim to this war, so even though the current clusterfnck is Bush’s fault, Obama will pay the political price.

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By glider, September 22, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

This war has no logical basis for continuing except to empower and enrich the MIC.  This is just business as usual.  They have replaced the fear-paranoia based excuse of the “domino theory” with the fear-paranoia excuse of the “terrorist sanctuary”.  Well, about 2 seconds of thinking allows one to comprehend that terrorists are perfectly capable of doing their training elsewhere, and that simply being in Afghanistan only aggravates the overall threat.  Rest assured that Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are very happy that 8 years after their attack the great satan is still masochistically undermining itself.

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By Louise, September 22, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

Is this Obama’s war?

Well no more than it is OUR war. How many folks out there cheered when Bush wanted to attack Afghanistan. How many cheerer’s paid any attention when Bush and Rumsfeld decided Afghanistan was unimportant and shifted to Iraq? How many cheered then?

At what point in time did the light go on in the attic and the cheerer’s realized the bad guy, the dreaded bin Laden was still out there? And he wasn’t in iraq!

Why didn’t we take advantage of the Talibans offer to surrender bin-Laden to a nuetral nation and avoid war in the first place? That’s a question I’d like to see Bush answer. Not the canned official clap-trap, but the honest reasoned answer Bush would give, if in fact he could give such an answer.

Sometimes we are a disgusting lot, we free thinking Americans. When the conservatives rule, war is wonderful. It doesn’t have to make sense, it just has to be because we are we and who knows better what’s best than us?

I try to avoid anger because its counterproductive and burns up a lot of energy. But sometimes it’s hard. How does one keep calm in the face of hopeless idiocy?

Did anyone out there honestly believe Afghanistan would go away just because we did? Certainly the Canadians didn’t because they didn’t go away, but now they’ve had it. So like it or not, we need to try and somehow clean up the mess Bush and the conservatives left behind. Put the lid back on the can of worms they spilled on the ground, just before they walked away.

I guess they didn’t understand worms reproduce and spread and what once might have been a fairly easy task is now, after all these years of neglect and indifference, anything but an easy task. Afghanistan is far worse, far more expansive and far more expensive. And belongs to Obama and us. Not the idiot Bush! Not the doorknob dumb Conservatives! Somehow, in the reality of unreasoned reasoning, they are blameless.

I watch the entire nation of Italy turn out to honor their fallen dead in Bush’s misbegotten wars and marvel. I watch Canada very publicly honor the return of their fallen, caught up fighting the war Bush forgot and I marvel even more. Because I seldom see that kind of caring poored out from we the really be-fuddled.

Is this Obama’s war?

No, this is now OUR WAR!

OK, I know lots of us protested against this war, but the “Right” in their conservative “rightness” won that argument. So now I have to ask, are we going to allow that pack of loosers to turn their stupid mistake into OUR stupid mistake? Are we going to allow them to muddy up the waters until we forget what really happened?

We should be use to this by now! Cleaning up after the Conservatives is a centuries old way of life!
When are we going to learn to quit giving them the power to make the messes we have to clean up?

So here we are, tasked with the responsibility of cleaning up yet another conservative mess. A mess that comes from not paying attention when something goes wrong! You can blame Obama, you can blame the military, you can even blame bin-Laden, but when it comes right down to it, the largest share of blame now belongs to us! One of those unintended consequences of winning an election.

So what are we going to do about it?

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By hark, September 22, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

seektruth - I don’t believe Einstein ever said that.  Where is your source?

If he did, it shows even his genius had its limitations.  What a ridiculous definition of insanity. 

Doing the same thing over and over until we finally triumph over failure is a characteristic of success.  Success never comes easily except to the lucky.  The rest of us have to try, try again before we succeed.

Persistence is not insanity.  It is the essence of the human spirit.

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By Leefeller, September 22, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

War is the answer for most everything, especially animated fear. So noble is the USA,  fighting for women s rights around the world, fighting for Dominate-acry, fighting with fear.  Having heard so many times, since Bush has attacked Iraq, the USA has not been attacked, that should be since Bush attacked Iraq and Afghanistan the USA has not been attacked. Theoretically the USA could attack any country and use the same argument, same logic and more to the point, one can actually say the USA has not been attacked since Bush choked on a pretzel, thus one can conclude force feeding Bush Pretzels proves the USA has only not been attacked, but may achieve the much touted victory.

Wht if the USA developed internment camps for non Christians as they did for the Japanese in WWII.  The successes of actions always speak for themselves.

Cutting education seems most significant in the grand scheme of things,  providing clear direction allowing the masses to be absent of any ability to use reason.

Splendor of war is great for all the pomp and circumstance, waving the flag patriotism and promoting the hubris of anything Military. Self delusion and righteous belief of this as the Great Christian Nation and the center of the universe must continue at any cost.

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By LostHills, September 22, 2009 at 8:22 am Link to this comment

Please don’t call it “Obama’s War.” It causes his true believers to run around in circles with their eyes closed and their fingers in their ears, screaming, “No, no, no!!” This poses a danger to themselves and others…

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By dihey, September 22, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

One of the major objectives of commander McChrystal seems to be the “protection of the Afghan people against the Taliban and El Quaida”. The problem is that the Taliban fighters are not Han Chinese which would be immediately recognizable in Afghanistan but are Afghans who live among the non-Taliban population. Ergo, the only ways in which McChrystal can effectively protect the non-Taliban Afghan people is by killing all Taliban or locking them up in concentration camps. The first strategy will turn the entire Afghan population including Karzai against us. The second strategy has long been a classic method to separate “bad” guys from “good” guys since the British invented it against the Boers in South Africa. It will not work either. New Talibans will spring up from the children of the old. Are you going to put their kids into concentration camps too, General?
If McChrystal believes that he can coax the Taliban into cooperating with him he will be in for a huge surprise. General, the Taliban consider you to be a vile blasphemer of Allah.

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By bane-richter, September 22, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

There is a new strategy in town these days. First, the WaPo suddenly gets handed a top secret report from the Pentagon goons. The WaPo obediently follows their script, and ‘broadcasts’ for the world’s consumption. Second, there is a newer, big attempt to generate US fear.  Law enforcement and the Press seem to be working together on this one; the spectre of some mass casualty event, as three lesser Bin Laden’s have recently been arrested. The US is hunkering down
to control Afghanistan once and for all.
It may be safer to assume the opposite of most things you read when it comes to war, the press will never cease to sanitize, obscure and cheerlead the effort. Read closely, the Po article doesn’t say specifically how to “lose”, but how to “win”.  If enough women and children are killed, the enemy will in fact, give up.

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By Nancy Bordier, September 22, 2009 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

Deja Vu All Over Again

McChrystal’s script for upping the ante in Afghanistan recycles the same militaristic fear-mongering that we heard from Petraeus in Iraq and Westmoreland and Co. in Vietnam.

Same old same old.

$1 trillion goes out of taxpayers pockets every year for a bloated military budget to fight low-tech militants who could easily be stopped through cooperative international policing and intelligence gathering.

Our government is too corrupt to pass up the opportunity to put more money in the pockets of defense contractors who operate their businesses in every state in order to curry political favors from elected representatives.

Will we only learn when military overreach impoverishes us? When we realize that what we spend for unnecessary military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan could cover a single payer health care system for all - and avoid the 44,000 unnecessary deaths per year that result from lack of access to medical care?

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By Howie Bledsoe, September 22, 2009 at 6:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When the soviets invaded, their army was stronger than the one we have today. They share a common border, which we don´t. In fact, Our only allies in the area are the ones that Russia bitterly resents losing, escalating tensions between us. During the onset of the Iraq war proper, the US and Britain told Afgani farmers that they would subsidize all opium farmers if they switched to legal crops instead.  Naturally, 60% of “normal” farmers dug up all of their crops and planted opium, knowing that the subsidies would be worth far more than their paltry crops of wheat or onions. When this happened, the US & UK realized that this would cost far more than they could give, and scrapped the idea, sending opium production up by 60%. THe population of local afgan addicts rose by 40%, higher than it has ever been.  Was this a cynical manipulation by the west, or another stupid idea by the powers that be? I guess we will never know, but the result is the same.  Of course, religious hatred, oil, military placement in an unstable region, arms dealing, defense contracting, and plain old patriotic gung-ho let´s kick some butts mentality all play into this debacle, but I believe that the main culprit here is the huge cash incentive from the poppy plantations.
Killing them to take their drugs to bring back and kill our own. Ah, money makes the world go round, don´t it?

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By Mike789, September 22, 2009 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

As a vet, I’m all for the wise use of power. However, it seems that basic tenets of risk/reward, viz. [what are the sustainable an lasting benefits?] that legitimatize the sacrifice of lives and treasure, (treasure?). Is a protracted presence, whether it be 6 months, 2 years or 10 years going to somehow swap the digits of a 12th Century mentality for a 21st Century integrated model? Once we set and accomplich the goal and withdraw, what prevents a reversal? Can the threat of reestablished terrorist camps not be thwarted by other means? If we scale-up are we simply creating more targets? Are we thinking outside the box? If we feint a retreat, do the terrorists come out from under the rock?

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By bogi666, September 22, 2009 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

A general calling for more troops, how quaint although lacking in originality. It’s like the Pentagon, being the corrupt organization it is, is just taking their script from Vietnam and just changing a few names and locations. The Pentagon, the government inside the government, is so bloated with excesses and having over 1,000 constituencies, bases, world wide which is more than the U.S. Congress with 535 constituencies in the USA. Such a wide spread world wide Pentagon empire is rife with graft and corruption which is virtually untraceable even if the Pentagon wanted to hire the necessary auditors. This is due to the labyrinth of foreign subcontractors, shell companies,  accessing bank accounts world wide.

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By ardee, September 22, 2009 at 3:22 am Link to this comment

“Those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.”

If we are to believe that our leaders are intelligent people then we must also believe that there are ulterior motives behind the slaughter of innocents, the alienation of an entire region of the world, the destruction of our economy and the deaths of our own children.

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By Fat Freddy, September 22, 2009 at 2:41 am Link to this comment

Coincidence?

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s call for more troops and further escalation of the War

and

the arrest of alleged terrorist suspects in Queens and Colorado.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/21/AR2009092103502.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Oh, and don’t forget about the Patriot Act.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/us/16brfs-PATRIOTACTPR_BRF.html

So, when do we go to CODE: ORANGE?

Repeat after me:

We’re not safe, we’re not safe, we’re not safe….

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By Fat Freddy, September 22, 2009 at 2:12 am Link to this comment

There must be oil or a pipeline or something that we can steal from the Afgans, if there is nothing to steal then why are we there?

Opium, opium, opium.


From Wiki:

Legal opium importation from India and Turkey is conducted by Mallinckrodt, Noramco, Abbott Laboratories, and Purdue Pharma in the United States, and legal opium production is conducted by GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson and Johnson, Johnson Matthey, and Mayne in Tasmania, Australia; Sanofi Aventis in France; Shionogi Pharmaceutical in Japan; and MacFarlan Smith in the United Kingdom…

A recent proposal from the European Senlis Council hopes to solve the problems caused by the massive quantity of opium produced illegally in Afghanistan, most of which is converted to heroin and smuggled for sale in Europe and the USA. This proposal is to license Afghan farmers to produce opium for the world pharmaceutical market…

Opium is also the main ingredient for the War on Drugs. The more heroin, the larger the scope of the WoD.
We’re fighting a War, to feed a War.

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By seektruth, September 21, 2009 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  By this definition, U.S. policy toward Afghanistan is only one example of the insanity that has beset this nation in the waning days of empire. The British couldn’t control Afghanistan with troops; the Soviets couldn’t; why do we think we can?  Is it because of arrogance—we believe that we can accomplish what the British Empire and the Red Army could not?  Is it because of naive vanity—we believe that we are so lovable as a nation that eventually the Afghans will see the light and put down their arms to join with us in building a liberal democracy? Or is it because so many people profit from spending billions of dollars on warfare that winning and losing become irrelevant—what matters to them is simply being at war, somewhere, anywhere. 

The Pentagon’s budget is swelling, defense contractors are getting richer and richer, no one is protesting in the streets, and the only Americans who are dying are young men and women who volunteered for service.  So while our remaining in Afghanistan may be insane (by Einstein’s definition), it also is perversely logical.

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By ChaoticGood, September 21, 2009 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment

There must be oil or a pipeline or something that we can steal from the Afgans, if there is nothing to steal then why are we there?
The only other reason that I can think of to be there is because Democrats are afraid of not killing enough of our soldiers and thereby look weak and “soft on War” and loose the next Presidential election to somebody more willing to start more wars.

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