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Obama’s Afghanistan Dilemma

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Posted on Oct 1, 2009
DoD / MC1 Chad J. McNeeley

By Stanley Kutler

During his presidential campaign, Barack Obama repeatedly called for expanding the war in Afghanistan. Be careful what you wish for.

The bells of Afghanistan echo the Vietnam War. Like then, we have a powerful military establishment linked to civilian foreign and defense intellectuals clamoring for an expansive military adventure to protect us from an onrushing enemy. The pressure on President Barack Obama to substantially increase troop levels in Afghanistan is enhanced by a high-powered, hardly subtle campaign.

Vietnam cost more than 50,000 Americans killed in action, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese dead or missing, untold numbers of maimed and wounded on both sides, and incalculable American treasure. Afghanistan promises to be as long and as expensive.

Tension and conflict between the military high command and the Obama administration over Afghanistan are obvious. Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in August described the Afghanistan security situation as “serious” and “deteriorating.” Less than a month later, he told a Senate panel that “probably” more troops were needed. Mullen’s remarks prefaced the report of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the field commander in Afghanistan.

Predictably, McChrystal has called for 45,000 more troops. And equally predictable, his “confidential” report to his commander in chief was leaked to The Washington Post, using none other than Bob Woodward, the serial conduit for power holders (or grabbers?). Who leaked and why is a mindless Beltway parlor game; the simple answer will do: The leak clearly is designed to pressure President Obama.

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McChrystal paints an impressive analysis of the war in Afghanistan and the shortcomings of our counterinsurgency responses. He suggests that failure is certain if he is denied additional troops. His report has been in circulation for nearly a month, yet the president has maintained that he will withhold a decision until he has charted a clear course. The White House take is that the United States must define its strategy before making any further commitment.

McChrystal and other military leaders, however, will apparently have none of that. The report’s conclusions are stated in urgent terms, citing the imminent danger of a Taliban triumph. Indeed, reports of the Taliban’s increasing successes mount, but that only draws into question whether an expanded military effort can do much to stem the tide against a Kabul government that is inept, corrupt and lacking of popular support. Meanwhile, the Taliban freely uses the soil of our ally Pakistan as a sanctuary and launching pad. Some ally.

Gen. David Petraeus, head of Central Command, weighed in with support for McChrystal’s recommendations. The generals are post-Vietnam, anxious to prove they are more adept in counterinsurgency. They have also learned to operate more effectively in the domestic political arena. They are not Gen. William Westmoreland.

Important civilian voices have lent their support, apparently well informed of the military’s thinking. Condoleezza Rice again has warned that if we abandon Afghanistan, we invite further terrorist attacks, reminding one of the dire “mushroom cloud” warnings she made before the Iraq debacle.

More ominously, Sen. John McCain soldiers on. Following the leak of McChrystal’s report, he attacked a “disconnect” between the military and the White House, as if the president is constitutionally, perhaps divinely, mandated to follow wherever the military leads. Since McCain campaigned for the presidency in 2008 as being best qualified to serve as commander in chief, he should know that the constitutional phrase asserts civilian supremacy. When Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon confronted unsound or incorrect military advice, McCain was a POW in Vietnam, unmindful of civilian-military clashes over Vietnam. Today, with the hindsight of history, we can look back over those conflicts and see that the wiser course was all too apparent. Clearly McCain in his certitude does not.

We will not hear much dissent among the political elite from McChrystal’s recommendations, aside from the usual array of war critics. But what is at work here is that vague, almost incalculable force: public opinion. Polls now reflect diminishing public support for our involvement and a corresponding increase in opposition.

The Afghanistan war has been difficult and long. McChrystal knows it will be even longer and more difficult—but he promises light at the end of the tunnel. Old idea, new garb.

The president is in a bind of his own making. How ironic. His campaign attempts to show his toughness have come back to bite him. Where were progressive voices then? In their zeal to pile on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, they offered few criticisms of their own candidate, who eagerly promised to pursue a similar policy, only better. The futility of that approach should have been evident, but candidate Obama got a free ride.

Obama inherited an imperial America; he also inherited the need to maintain it with military force. In the meantime, whatever the wisdom or viability of McChrystal’s military solution, his mission seems predicated on maintaining a corrupt, ineffective regime in Kabul. Or is it? McChrystal has not said anything on the subject, but does he have contingency plans for supporting a coup in Afghanistan? We should remember the futility of coups we sponsored in South Vietnam that resulted only in still another incompetent general.

If Obama rejects McChrystal’s call for more troops, and carries on an inconclusive war interminably, he will have to shoulder the blame and carry the burden of “we told you so” barbs. The right, determined for the president’s policy initiatives to fail, enthusiastically urges a more expansive war. But that is not to suggest a moratorium on its criticism.

Obama has little wiggle room; he cannot continue the war he already has expanded without imperiling his presidency. Time is not his ally.

Stanley Kutler is the author of “The Wars of Watergate” and other writings.


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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, October 4, 2009 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

omniadeo has it correct, strangely it is the British Imperialist Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said it best: “jaw-jaw-jaw is better than war-war-war.You lose nothing by talking. War kills people.”

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By omniadeo, October 4, 2009 at 8:54 am Link to this comment

Left-Right has nothing to do with it, really. The sorts of people who will use military might to subdue others are essentially non-ideological. Ideology is nothing but a means to power for such people. If JCS Chairman Mike Mullen had been born in Russia in 1900, he would have been a Soviet general, if he had been born in Germany he would have been a Wehrmacht General.  Right now he is our thin lipped apparatchik of war and destruction.

Left and right are distractions mostly, and the only reason I bring them up here is that in our country the “right” is the side mostly aligned with the Military Industrial Complex. But as recent history has shown (Hitchens, and many others) there are plenty of lefties here, too, willing to speak up for slaughtering others if they feel it will get them somewhere.

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By Paolo, October 4, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

As a pro-market, anti-state libertarian, I observe the Left is often right about foreign policy. If Obama really wanted to do the right thing, he would withdraw all troops from Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as the Far East, Europe, and all the 141 nations in which we station troops abroad).

If Obama were to bring all our troops home, he would be mercilessly attacked as a coward and “appeaser” in the short run. In the long run, he would be a true hero.

It won’t happen, of course: Obama is just the other side of the coin in our one-party system. Both parties support foreign interventionism, all the time.

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By omniadeo, October 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

AFriend,

Not sure what you mean. Thousands of what? Blogs calling for impeachemnt? Did anyone float a military coup against Bush in a major publication? If so, I am all ears.

When a man who served in two WH Adminstrations writes in a right wing online journal, funded in part by William Casey and Richard Scaife, with a BOD that has included Arnaud de Borchgrave, the longtime Newsweek chief correspondent who also serves as editor at large of UPI, Jeff Cunningham, former publisher of Forbes, the late Admiral Thomas Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Nixon Chief of Staff and Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig Jr., I definitely find it meaningful. Especially when it won’t apologize.

Exactly what it means, I can’t say yet.

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By Jean Gerard, October 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Time is not his (Obama’s) ally.”  The people are his ally.  Why doesn’t he call on them for support?  Because they do not hold the reins of power and money.  So terribly sad, but true.  The people finally—finally—summoned their power and succeeded in stopping the Vietnam war, but it took a long time and a lot of energy and effort and cooperation and understanding and above all, nonviolent actions. It took singers and actors and mothers and wives and veterans and peace groups and writers and college students and . . . tens of thousands of ordinary people.  It took patience and compassion and joy and grace and “hippies: and “peaceniks” and “commie sympathizers”.  A few people went to jail; a few people lost their lives.  But at last war-mongering went into hiding—for a while.  When no one was looking it re-emerged as “imperialism’ and “anti-terrorism” and now “the dogs of war” have to be restrained all over again. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be—or can we learn to live together and escape the trap?

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By AFriend, October 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

omniadeo,

I was wondering aloud on the meaning of a lone journalist writing about a military coup today after the thousands written and spoken during the Bush administration.

It seems meaningless.

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By omniadeo, October 2, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Afriend,

I know of no threat to have the US Military overthrow GWB. Every President, it is true, engenders threats to kill or impeach him, but we are talking about a military coup.

Interesting historical record since 1960:

Kennedy - killed using a patsy covering a deeper operation (with ties to the Bush family)

Johnson - decides not to run again

Nixon - impeached, forced to resign for things he did not do by an intelligence operation (with ties to the Bush family)

Ford - two apparently aborted assassination attempts using patsies with ties to US intelligence operations

Carter - serves term but severely weakened by suspicious events and defeated by secret negotiations (with ties to the Bush family) to keep US hostages in Tehran in exchange for arms

Reagan - nearly assassinated using a patsy (with ties to the Bush family) and a deeper operation

GHWB - serves term, defeated by Clinton who has ties to Mena AR operation, (with ties to the Bush family) but who leaves most of GHWB’s intelligence and military staff in place

Clinton - impeached and nearly removed from office

GWB - serves two of the most unsuccessful terms in office ever, more or less without incident

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By AFriend, October 2, 2009 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

omniadeo,

Re; John Perry: How does talk of a military coup differ from the thousands of written and spoken words of overthrowing-impeaching-killing President Bush? There are wackos in every political crowd.

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, October 2, 2009 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

Pikawicca, I hope you’re right, but I have little faith that, in this one thing, Obama will do the right thing.

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By Fat Freddy, October 1, 2009 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

In case anyone missed it, here’s a link to the 60 Minutes interview with General McChrystal which aired this past Sunday.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=5345009n

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By pikawicca, October 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

I think The Man will do the smart thing and get us the hell out of Afghanistan, despite the enormous pressure from the military/industrial complex.  The people want out.

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By PatrickHenry, October 1, 2009 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

The U.S. forces can only kill so many innocents before the entire population is against us.  We are now in that position.  If we had some good will with the population it has been spent on collateral damage.

The given reason we are “over there” is 9/11 and the pretense that it began there.  This is a lie and pure BS. 

In simple legal terms the war in Afghanistan is “fruit of the poisonous tree” and since it was founded on bullshit nothing good will ever become of it.  We errantly bomb weddings and funerals and the wrong people, their survivors will justifiably kill our people for vengeance as is their custom.  Such a shame.

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By omniadeo, October 1, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Just another wacky, right wing columnist, or a planted threat?

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2009/09/full_text_of_newsmax_column_suggesting_military_co.php

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By omniadeo, October 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

ocjim,

I won’t debate the K assassinations here, since that would be rude, but since you have an open mind, I invite you to take a very careful look at those journalists, including some well known “liberals,” who try to direct the focus to the Mafia alone. They leave out many, many facts in their account.

The Mafia did not control the CIA, the 488th Military Intelligence Detachment (which contained many Dallas Police force members and was led by CIA/OSS officer and GHWB friend Jack Crichton) or Naval Intelligence, all of which played big roles in the events of Dallas 11/22/63. This is not conjecture, but history.

May I recommend to everyone a new book by investigative reporter Russ Baker? Family of Secrets.

It is a great read, a powerful introduction to the deep history of the late 20th and early 21st century, for those who need an introduction, and a resource filled with many new hard facts for those already acquainted with the general outlines of the K Assassinations, Watergate, and the rise of the Bushes.

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By Folktruther, October 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

you are quite right, omniadeo, and the sowardness of the progs to detail the criminal volence of the US power structure is itself criminal.  And Ocjim, the CIA, FBI and other intelligence and police agencies colluded with organized crime historically.  Oswald was a low level intellignece agent and Ruby was part of the drug syndicate.  the opium in Afghanistan is part of a trillion dollar drug industry.  It was often trasported on military planes.

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By ocjim, October 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

omniadeo, you have some good and thoughtful comments. I am not so sure that JFK and Robert Kennedy were not killed because of their opposition to the mafia.

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By ocjim, October 1, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment

If it were 2002, a similar decision in Afghanistan could be readily made, but the Bush policies corrupted a policy that should have been. Spending money and effort to win over the people and building a representative nation when the Taliban was whipped. It is like starting over at a time that is worse than the original invasion.

We need to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan and redirect our efforts globally to provide a humanitarian face to the world with a plan of changing minds and hearts on the side of self-rule and unencumbered freedom. You can’t take over countries. You can only guide them, unless you want to be the Bush-type conquerors.

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By omniadeo, October 1, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

For those who understand the REAL history of the US since WWII, Obama’s dilemma is much different.

Kennedy was assassinated for, among other things, resisting full engagement in Vietnam and Cuba and running back-channel negotiations with Moscow over Cuba. Nixon was spied on and also removed from power by hardliners who thought he depended too much on detente and negotiation rather than military force. Even Reagan was targeted and almost assassinated as less dependable than former DCI GHWB. Clinton was almost impeached on trumped up charges over similar issues. Every one of these allegations is historical fact for those who are really willing to look at the evidence and not just repeat conventional wisdom, which always assumes without argument that power flows from the people to the President, the Commander in Chief, and then down to the Military.

Presidents depend on the Military Industrial apparatus, not the other way around. The illusion that Obama can just make a decision and the military will follow it, is just that an illusion, but one that goes unquestioned because, at present, it serves the interest of the powerful to keep it in place.

This is not to defend Obama, exactly. But the pressures on him are far greater than “what he said in the campaign.” Doing things differently than what he said he was going to do is an every day occurrence in the Obama WH. But changing positions towards, rather than away from, the opinions of the people who elected him has not been seen yet.

Mao said it best: “Power issues from the barrell of the gun.” What you learned in civics class about the way power works in America is just plain wrong.

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By NYCartist, October 1, 2009 at 11:42 am Link to this comment

Why assume President Obama disagrees with his advisers? See http://www.blackagendareport.com for ongoing criticism of Obama’s policies, and going back for quite awhile. It is angry-making that he is ignoring the American public, who want “out” of this war/occupation and the one in Iraq, etc.  Chalmers Johnson’s trilogy, “Blow Back” “Sorrows of Empire” and
“Nemesis” covers it all.  Obama is no liberal. Never was. 

US politics is a mess, as in what Chomsky calls “the Democracy Gap”...the difference between what the people in the country want, and what the gov’t wants.  http://www.chomsky.info

  Or as Howard Zinn puts it “What is in the interest of the government, is not in your interest”
paraphrasing.  What I like about Kutler’s article is
using history.  Zinn says if you don’t know history, it’s like you were born yesterday and the government can tell you anything.’

  And finishing up on the statement, “US politics is a mess” - if this republic was working as I’d like it to, we, the constituents, could or would be able to get Congress to do what people want/need.  The people who are not big corporations… In future, I will be wary of pols who have very short records before they get to run for President (even though I knew Obama was more to the Right of me, since I heard his speech in 2004 at the Dem.National Convention).  Some of the people who regular comment on this site, have pointed out that a two party system is a mess, and others note the ease with which one buys the legisture (be it state or federal).  So, if Obama is a one term president…we get back to the problem of getting a Republican President.  Yes, people are saying, well, we got Bush’s 3rd term…Maybe we’ll do OK with US Supreme Court appointees, which is why I ended up voting for Obama.  Obama has turned out worse than I expected, but Black Agenda Report was “spot on” about Obama.
http://www.blackagendareport.com

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By chuckwalla, October 1, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a Vietnam veteran (Infantry, 68-69) who lived one year along Highway 1 and its surroundings in Quang Tri Province just south of the DMZ, I read all of this with a mixture of anger and resignation.  During that year, not being a stupid person and possessing intellectual curiosity, I observed what we Americans were doing to “help” the Vietnamese, and what the French did before us, drawing my own conclusions.  Everything was blasted, wrecked, pagodas, houses, everything.  Starving refugees everywhere, living off of our garbage dumps.  We, totally absorbed in the techniques of war, were oblivious to this larger horror.  Having an interest in self-education and books, I read assiduously both before and after this year of “observation”, and began to understand and to empathize with “the enemy”, which I knew to be heresy.  Now I see a new “enemy” in Afghanistan, and understand why they fight us tooth and nail.  Why is it that I, who once packed an M-16 in a foreign land, can see this and the war bureaucrats cannot, or WILL NOT?  I include Obama in this question, which is rhetorical of course.  They don’t see partly because they are afraid of being seen as “weak” and unmanly, are prisoners of patriarchy.  I have overcome that fear, and am not an extraordinary person by any means.  They could too, if the will were there, and could see past their own ambition and elaborate lies masquerading as “strategy”, and “geopolitics”.  For those in the lofty seats of power, all well-educated, there really is no excuse for being unwilling to see, or even to entertain alternantives to mindless and cold-blooded imperial aggression.  No excuse.  Because that unwillingness equates directly to agony and death and dismemberment, and endless grief.  On both “sides”.  Obama, Gates, Clinton…are you listening?  Do you have the guts to make peace and be reviled by the baying dogs racism and war in this country?  Do you even want to?

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Paul_GA's avatar

By Paul_GA, October 1, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

I fully agree, Hulk; time to beat feet for home, and let the Afghans sort things out.

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By Hulk2008, October 1, 2009 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

The best bet for the US and Obama and the Democrats (and secretly the Republicans) is to “get the heck outta Dodge” - out of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Why ask ANY US general how to solve internal insurgency? They have yet to demonstrate any “success” or “win” ANYplace yet.  If you ask a surgeon for a “cure”, he suggests surgery; an accountant would suggest a financial overhaul. 
    Maybe the LAPD could be beefed up and sent over to Afghanistan - at least they have hands-on experience.

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By Folktruther, October 1, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

The afpak war is a lose-lose situation for Obama.  although he inherited it from the Bushites, who entered it and conducted it with their customary stupidly, Obama was in favor of widening it on his own.  To Pakistan, a nuclear power with 180 million people who hate the US power system.  With 50 million Pustans, twice the number of Arabs in Iraq.

If he withdraws, he will be attacked by the Gops, threatening to lose the next elections.  IF he escalates, the war can’t be won and he will be in the situation Johnson was when he didn’t even run.

the best thing Obama can do is to use his public relations talent to explain to the people that the war is costing too much, spilling too much blood, and can’t be won without a huge expansion of military power involving a draft and incovenience to the yahoos to dumb to know the war is lost.

This however would involve a policy deviation from the Bushites, and Obama was put in office to continue their polices.  It would probably risk his assassination.  I don’t think he has the balls to do it.  I would guess he will go the Johnson route.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, October 1, 2009 at 7:59 am Link to this comment

Just for the record, I never supported the so-called war in Afghanistan, from the beginning. It was the height of stupidity for the United States to start bombing an impoverished country just because some radical jihadist cult (mostly from Saudi Arabia) used their money for real estate to plan for our demise. If that is the reason for this carnage, then we should have called in an airstrike on Perugia, Italy, after it was revealed that plans were made for attacks against the U.S., in an apartment located there.
I hear it said ad nauseum, that President Obama is intelligent. But that intelligence certainly comes into question, when this Commander-in-Chief speaks of the “right war” and “finishing the job”. But, as poster LostHills discovered, the Obamakins put on their blinders and supported “hope and change” no matter how much war promotion Obama keeps invoking.
I keep hearing about intelligence, what about humanity? Or, are those concerns dismissed by what President Obama described as “the overheated rhetoric of the campaign”?

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By Virginia777, October 1, 2009 at 7:55 am Link to this comment

I don’t blame Obama for Afganistan. I blame, as the author says, our military establishment.

“we have a powerful military establishment linked to civilian foreign and defense intellectuals clamoring for an expansive military adventure”

but its not “adventure” they are clamoring for, its what to do with the billions of dollars in weapons we produce each year. What do to with our huge army. In other words, our military establishment is committed to maintaining wars as a vehicle of their own survival.

And they are aiming for Iran next.

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, October 1, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

It’s not really Obama’s dilemma. It’s the Democratic party’s dilemma. Why did Democratic voters elect a dude that was promising us more war? I tried to talk to some of my friends about this during the campaign and they wouldn’t hear it. Well the campaign is over, the glitter has all been swept up and the Democratic party now has Bush’s war tied around their necks like a millstone. They have to decide whether they’re going to follow this guy over a cliff or stand up to him and save their party.

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By AFriend, October 1, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

I have been reviewing the content and comments on TruthDig for going on 5 years now. Until very recently both the content and comments were largely pro on the issue of expanding the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. The “good war” vs the bad war in Iraq. Almost every comment here spoke of the need to leave Iraq and “finish the job against the Taliban and Al Qaeda” in Afghanistan and, to some extent, into Pakistan.

During the last presidential campaign candidate Obama made “winning in Afghanistan” a major theme in his bid to win the White House. By a margin of 10 to 1 the comments here remained pro expansion into Afghanistan when the idea of expansion was popular.

In an extremely short time the comments here largely reflect the emotion that the U.S. should leave Afghanistan immediately. I’m curious as to what others here believe may be the cause of such a rapid change in attitude?

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By bud, October 1, 2009 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama’s dilemmas, whether:

To go down in history as a murdering warmonger and trojan horse hated by the deceived public or to stop killing people in Afghanistan.

To follow zionist wishes or to follow the wishes of the American voters.

I don’t think there is much question of how he will resolve these dilemmas.  It’s no wonder that he has temporarily escaped to Copenhagen re the Olympics.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 1, 2009 at 5:41 am Link to this comment

Parallels to Vietnam cannot be overlooked.  Corrupt government, people who did not support our efforts and an organic uprising that seemed better than what we were offering.  We cannot win in Afghanistan even if we put soldiers shoulder to shoulder across ever square foot of the country.  The people don’t want us anymore and we should just admit that fact and go home.  Otherwise, we will be debating this point during the next several presidential campaigns with essentially no solution.  Get out now and save our precious soldiers for something more important!

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By thebeerdoctor, October 1, 2009 at 5:37 am Link to this comment

“Obama inherited an imperial America”? Perhaps it is way overdue to no longer buy into this sophist claptrap. Those who think America has any business being in Afghanistan remind me of weasels all covered in oil. Maybe they will able to slide their way out of this murderous folly. There is nothing benevolent about the imaginings of clowns.

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, October 1, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

As time goes by, this is more and more looking like
the dilemma faced by the U.S. in the Viet Nam war.
All of the same scare tactics; remember the domino
theory? We’re swimming in a cesspool of propaganda
(lies) which is deigned to garner the support of the
masses/public. Hyperbole aside; it’s the tipping
point; stay and lose our compass or leave and let the
blood flow and let gravity have it’s way…it will
anyway! We can’t stop this unless we leave and it
must be now, not later. The longer we stay the more
humans will die, and the dying will be mostly
Afghans. Every single reason, excuse, justification,
barbarism, goal, and rationalization is straight out
of the lying play book from Viet Nam.

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By ardee, October 1, 2009 at 3:12 am Link to this comment

We have installed puppets to do our bidding time and again in various nations around the world. The result is always the same, corruption at the highest levels and the loss of the allegiance of the people of those nations who suffer under the yoke of US installed tyranny.

We seem to be the Taliban’s best friend in that the Afghani people now see them as the lesser of two evils. There was no widespread support of the Taliban outside of the Pashtun tribe , and, if we had used peaceful means to win the minds and hearts of that nation, perhaps they would be contained and isolated now.

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By LemuelG, October 1, 2009 at 2:39 am Link to this comment

A typically useless piece of reporting on the Afghani war…

Has anyone in the US press (main-stream or otherwise)heard of research? Editing?

It was all an innocuous re-hashing of a million other facile articles on the subject until this statement in the third-last paragraph:

“whatever the wisdom or viability of McChrystal’s military solution, his mission seems predicated on maintaining a corrupt, ineffective regime in Kabul. Or is it? McChrystal has not said anything on the subject, but does he have contingency plans for supporting a coup in Afghanistan?”

If the author had bothered to check the ‘secret’ report he would have found McChrystal quotes concerning the Karzai regime such as:

“abused their power at the expense of the people”

“little connection between the central government and the local populations, particularly in rural areas. The top-down approach to developing government capacity has failed to provide services that reach local communities.”

Oh my! It turns-out that he actually did say something about it after all! Well, well (who’d a thunk-it?).

Clearly, McChrystal feels as though the current government there is a major part of the problem; he also heavily criticizes the ‘re-construction’ efforts as being corrupt and ineffective.

These issues reflect badly on the political handling of the Afghan intervention - McChrystal was right to leak it (the report) - the truth is that he is the only leading figure involved to give a frank and realistic assessment of the situation… how utterly unsurprizing to see that the media (as a herd) has been so quick to write him off as a myopic militarist merely seeking more toy-soldiers to play with… how disgusting it is that those who are supposed to report the news can do little but protect the political leadership from embarassing revelations, and regurgitate their transparent lies (re: Iran as well… like 2003 all over again).

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