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Getting Out of Afghanistan With Grace

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Posted on Nov 12, 2009
U.S. Army / Sgt. Matthew Moeller

U.S. Army Pvt. John Stafinski fires his M-249 squad automatic weapon during a three-hour gun battle with insurgent fighters in the Waterpur Valley, in Kunar province, Afghanistan.

By William Pfaff

There are two tried and disproved methods for dealing with insurrection in a non-Western country. The third and reliable method is not to go there in the first place. The fourth is get out with such grace as is possible, as rapidly as possible. President Barack Obama may be looking at the last option, hitherto not on the policy menu.

The first method is treat the insurrection as a conventional military challenge. Attack en masse to destroy the uprising and its infrastructure, employ shock-and-awe tactics, search for and destroy the rebels’ sources of supply, even when this means invading neighboring countries. Make the enemy stand up and fight the way Americans fight wars. Rely on mass, overwhelming logistical superiority, and the huge American technological advantage.

This was Gen. William Westmoreland’s strategy at the start of the Vietnam War. Outkill the enemy. Make body counts the measure of success. By 1969, this program had failed and Westmoreland had been relieved.

In Iraq, in 2003, the United States again went in with fast, high-powered and overwhelming armed force, blasting to shreds whatever was in its way. It was a great success in getting to Baghdad. But the enemy had not been interested in fighting. Several of the most important Iraqi generals had secretly been bought off. The ordinary soldier had no enthusiasm in fighting for Saddam Hussein, nor had the midlevel officers.

The Iraq army expected to be taken over by the conquerors and put to work cleaning up and re-establishing order in the country. Instead the soldiers were told to go home: that they were untrustworthy Baathists—nationalists, socialists and pan-Arabists—members of Saddam Hussein’s old party. So they went home and found other things to do, such as taking part in an insurrection to drive the occupiers out, not without success.

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The Americans have started to leave Iraq, having gained nothing except to make Iran the regional great power, and to create hostility for American oil companies that wanted but are not getting oilfield development contracts.

Iraq is still a very unsettled country, with a difficult national election scheduled at the beginning of the new year. American troops are supposed to leave the country in two years, but doubt about that remains. Mideastern, Turkish, European, Russian and Far Eastern companies are highly actively looking for business there. (The U.S. State Department advises American businessmen against traveling to Iraq; it’s too dangerous.)

A second classic strategic theory for defeating insurrections is “clear and hold.” This is very much in fashion in Washington now thanks to its advocacy by Gen. David H. Petraeus at Central Command and Stanley A. McChrystal in Afghanistan, and also in two recent books, one by Lewis Sorley, the other by David Kilcullen, both arguing that the Vietnam War was actually won by such a strategy—but too late for the fickle American press, public opinion and Congress to recognize the victory.

Clear and hold means ejecting guerrillas from an area and then protecting it from their return. This began in postwar Malaya (as it was then) in 1948, when an insurrection from inside the Chinese minority population caused much of that population to be confined in guarded villages, leaving British troops free to deal with the Chinese who escaped this treatment. Eventually a political solution was found.

In Vietnam, where the U.S. copied the method, these villages were called Strategic Hamlets and were employed in conjunction with the Phoenix program to “clear” areas of enemy or unreliable elements, and defend against the return of the Viet Cong. The Sorley and Kilcullen books notwithstanding, the Communists won that war, the American part of it having lasted from 1963 to 1973.

In the Afghanistan case, Gen. McChrystal has suggested that his war, if fought on his terms (with troop reinforcements rising to a total of over 100,000 men at least), would take between 10 and 50 years to succeed.

Afghanistan consists of 652,230 square kilometers (251,827 square miles), many of them more or less vertically inclined, populated by an estimated 28.4 million people. Iraq has an estimated population of 28.9 million people and 438,317 square kilometers (169,235 square miles), many of them flat. The estimates of how many civilians died in Iraq range around the figure of 100,000, with some—such as   the Johns Hopkins-Lancet study—much higher.

President Obama, who’s been part of videoconferences on Afghan policy prior to his Asia trip this week, ought to have interest in talking again with the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry. A former U.S. military commander there (2005-2007), now retired from the Army, Eikenberry has expressed on paper his reservations about sending any more U.S. combat troops at all to the country. He would cut back to a few thousand more trainers, and wait to see if the Afghans improved in their ability to look after their own country. If not ... ?

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at www.williampfaff.com.

© 2009 Tribune Media Services, Inc.


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By mandinka, December 17, 2009 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

jimmyistic, as always the neocommunist left is out in full force with failed ideas and pc nonsense. Your trying to act as if arabs and muslims have the same worth as out guys and gals, they don’t. They have proved it with their actions and deeds and their pedophile religion is a reflection of neantherdal short comings.
I glad that you read about foreign policy and war but have never gotten your hands dirty so you can point to others and tell them what they are doing wrong. Stay with your Xbox your not man enough to carry a soldiers jock strap. I’m sure your ‘degree’ is in fine arts or pottery manly endeavours

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By Leefeller, November 21, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

Love this fear thing, sounds like a chip off the old block! Now that Operation paper clip is on the table, we can all rest easy. 

The operation I am concerned about is the “operation paper burn”, I want to know more about it, but cannot find anything, it is so well kept it is called a secrete, just to throw off what it really is, until now only two people have known of it, me and my cat!

I am sharing here is so tip top classified it is leaning to the left, but all we know, is it has something to do with bagpipes and toilet paper!

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By drbhelthi, November 21, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Withdrawing from Afghanistan?  Don’t hold your
breath.  It has been reported that some of the
visitors from other worlds, termed by the US
governemnt as UFO beings, fear that the human race
will destroy itself.  At the current rate of the
NAZI/false-zionists behind the alleged “Obama”
administration, these other-worldly folk will not
have to wait too many more years to find out. 
Americans were a bit too slow to gain insight into
the “American Indian” saying, “what you do speaks so
loud, I can not hear what you say.” 

The infamous Joseph Goebbels, propaganda minister
during the NAZI, Hitler reign, stated repeatedly,
“tell the people something long enough and they will
eventually believe it.”  He also practiced it.  The
same NAZIs brought this tactic with them when
furtively imported into the USA via “Operation
Paper-Clip.”  The falsification of the history of
Obama is a continuation of the falsification that
began with the Bush family, which family openly
supported the NAZIs in WWII.  Since the current
machine in power controls public media, only
propaganda that supports its intent reaches the TV
and radio, excepting the internet.  It is no wonder
that the NAZI/false-zionist empire is trying to
destroy the internet.

Nor is it a wonder that GESTAPO-types are
suppressing realists such as Rev. Dr. James D.
Manning, of Harlem. 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2TvtLMLOic&feature=player_embedded 
This type of intimidation will continue until “if and when” a military dictatorship is in place.  A shift of gears will then take place.  An added feature is the “chip” used to mark dogs, cats and other beasts.  Comrade David Rockefeller is reported to have told a friend, “-once we get the chip in everyone, we will not need to do any more assassinations.  When a trouble-maker arises, we will just turn off his chip.”  Marking humans, as dogs, cats and other beasts are currently marked, reduces humans to beast status.  Identifying each human, with a wave of the “bar-code wand,” is the goal of this group.  It will vastly simplify operations, when FEMA camps initiate Buchenwald, Dachau and similar genocide.

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By ardee, November 21, 2009 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

You cannot wage a war unless a huge hunk of the public backs it.

I wonder if this, which was once a truism, is still such? As our government becomes less and less responsive to the will of the people it seems to be able to act in its own self interests rather than being obeisant to that will.

I think that a draft was avoided precisely to exclude popular support for war from the equation. That this has placed enormous hardships upon our troops , who are serving three, four and five tours on battlefields, seems a small price to those in govt. who fear the will of the people less and less.

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By Sepharad, November 19, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, I don’t think the corporations/defense contractors/weapons mfrs., arms dealers and sellers, Wall St., oil companies and all the others who really run this country would even contemplate war unless it makes money for them: in the case of oil, they can always sell “lower gas prices” to the public and for a short time a war economy such as ours generates jobs. You and I both know that in the longer term oil wars destroy the economy and peoples’ living standards are ratcheted down a notch. In the short term, however, we get our cheap gas and get temporarily a little more money. You cannot wage a war unless a huge hunk of the public backs it. I don’t think we will ever turn this country around until people convinced that they are getting better gas prices and temporarily more jobs either 1) come to understand that these advantages are minimal and fleeting or 2) know they are basically backing a completely immoral—even amoral—war and decide their puny gains aren’t worth the blood and death on both sides.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 19, 2009 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment

Mandorkie

I’m sorry you had trouble posting facts to neocommunist. Posting facts can be difficult sometimes.

Maybe Obama would get more respect from the military if he turned all the important decisions over to McChrystal, but maybe McChrystal should be vetted with the Tillman family first.

I won’t argue about Obama’s state of consciousness; he does seem to be disconnected lately. I think he’s worrying about all that National Debt he personally accumulated in the past ten months, and all the unemployment he caused. He should have never started those wars, and handed out all those huge tax breaks for the super rich. I don’t know why he’s adopted all these Liberal policies, when the Bush and Greenspan policies have worked so well for us.

Regarding his Muslim brethren, he should just get over there in morning and take a good whiff of his Muslim brethren burning in the morning, and then he’d know what victory smells like.

You’re right I’m not a student of combat arms. I studied academic subjects at a School of Higher Learning, and most of my education comes from reading books about history and foreign policy. I should have gotten my education from “Soldier of Fortune Magazine” like you did. I think I could get the hang of it though; apparently all you have to do is fly over an area and shout “bombs away.” Oh, my Xbox is real time; it’s just that nobody actually dies when I play.

Speaking of getting the hang of something; I think I’m getting the hang of reading your writing. Are you dyslexic? I’m sorry, maybe I can help you. “Can” is spelled: C…A…N and not A…N…D. How about that Obama, he sure is a moron isn’t he?

Oh, you made a mistake. I’m not neocommunist, Barack isn’t neocommunist either. Neocommunist is the person you had trouble posting facts to.

I like your idea about preventing genocide, but I think Acorn is busy trying to get poor people to vote, and I don’t think they have the resources to prevent genocide. I think they took Acorn’s little money and gave it to rapist mercenaries in Iraq.

I’m sorry, you kind of hurt my feelings, when you said calling Obama a centrist, was the dumbest comment on this thread. I didn’t know he was a communist following in the footsteps of Mao, Stalin and Castro, or that his mentor is that loon in Venezuela. I guess I need to get out to some of those Tea Bagger rallies so I can expand my knowledge.

Well thank you! It’s been a joy talking to you too, thanks. Incidentally, I already have my GED and a College Degree too. Mom was real proud. So long for now, Oh, I almost forgot; say hi to all your geriatric brown shirt friends for me. Will you be wearing your dress uniform, or your fatigues, to the next rally?

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By mandinka, November 18, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Jimdickie, I should have know better to post facts on this blog trying to respond to neocommunist.
Lets see:
Capital B no small b since he hasn’t earned any respect by the military.
No idea he made a conscious decision I agree he hasn’t been conscious or made a conscious decision since Jan 20. just look at the debt and unemployment numbers.
There is no question that barak is an ardent supporter of his muslim brethren.
barak was interested in reducing afganie casualties good and bad guys.
I can see that your a real student of combat arms, that a pilot flying at 5000 ft or more looking at a black and white target has to “see” the suspects carrying arms. You may be able to do that on your Xbox but that’s not how it works in real time in a real combat situation. ( no sarcasm intended)
Moronic policy lets see barak plays general restricts what our troops and do and our casualties have been at record levels since then. Even a neocommunist like you and barak can connect 2 dots I hope
Intervening to prevent genocide is a good idea, that role should be played out by State or ACORN give them weapons and let them iron out the good from the bad since it has no impact on this country
barak is a centrist now that has to be the dumbest comment on this thread. he’s a communist following in the footsteps of Mao, Stalin and Castro his mentor is the loon in Venezuela.
Its been a joy talking with you let me know when you finish HS or get your GED I’m sure your Mom will be proud we’re all rooting for you

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By JDmysticDJ, November 18, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

LeeFeller

Allow me to correct myself. Coming from the global perspective, I believe that Obama would be towards the far right, not far right.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 18, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

LeeFeller, you say

“Obama being left of center seems debatable,
depending upon ones point of view! Many here from
what I can tell, seem to believe Obama is Right of
Center and then if you asked a Tea Bagger you would
get an opposite less flattering different view.”

I would say that, coming from the perspective of a global spectrum, Obama would be far right, but coming from the perspective of U.S. politics, he is best described as a “Centrist Democrat, just a little to the left of center” (Tea Baggers don’t count. They are Idiots, and they don’t seem to be able to decide whether Obama is left, far left, or far right.)

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By JDmysticDJ, November 18, 2009 at 8:12 am Link to this comment

Uh-oh

I think I made a mistake. I probably shouldn’t have posted that last comment I made to ManDorkie.

I’m afraid that my condecending and sarcastic comments might make him angry.

I’m afraid that if he gets too angry, he’ll go out and beat-up an old lady, or take out his frustrations on some other poor defenseless person.

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By Leefeller, November 18, 2009 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

JDmydticDJ

Enjoyed the sarcasm, thanks for the indications,
not knowing the writer does make it hard to know if
one is serious! 

Obama being left of center seems debatable,
depending upon ones point of view! Many here from
what I can tell, seem to believe Obama is Right of
Center and then if you asked a Tea Bagger you would
get an opposite less flattering different view.

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By drbhelthi, November 18, 2009 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

It is sometimes interesting how swiftly some of my comments are moved down the list, so that they do not show on the monitor screen.  Employees and sympathizers of the company have gotten better with their compositions and distractive BS.  Paid pimps of the company are handsomely salaried to “do their thing.”  The volunteer sympathizers will gain insight into their folly - - a bit too late.

Does the original U.S. “president imposter family” still own/control the drug trade out of Afghanistan, and parts of S. America?  Are US Army personnel and aircraft still misused to ferry the drugs to a location where USAF personnel and cargo aircraft are misused to take over?  Are the drugs still flown into Miami and D.C.?

The advertised, current top three wealthiest men in the USA would be slid down the list several spaces, if accuracy were to be revealed.  However, the Swiss, Luxembourg and offshore banks will not reveal the info.  Of course, in the “interest of national security,” the “US Gov” will not release the info.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 18, 2009 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

Mandorkie says

“……….if you have been following the war then you would realize that barak made a conscious decision to increase OUR casualties and reduce the afganies.”

I think you meant Barack, (It’s spelled with a C and a capital B)

Wow! I had no idea that Barack “….Made a conscious decision to increase OUR casualties…” he really is evil, isn’t he? (Oh, in case you’re incapable of recognizing such, I’m being sarcastic)

“…..and reduce the afganies.”

I think you meant Afghani’s, (It would be spelled with a capital A no E and an apostrophe) but I’m still unclear. Did you mean reduce casualties for the Afghani people, or did you mean reduce casualties for the Afghani bad guys. If the latter is true, it only reinforces how truly evil Barack is (More sarcasm.)

“The ground troops can no longer call in for air support…..”

Is that true? It’s beginning to look like Barack is a secret supporter of the Afghan Taliban. (Also sarcasm)

“……and if some is sent the standing rules are “the pilot must independently verify that they are bad guys”.

Now I’m confused. Didn’t you say the ground troops could not call in for air support?

“….the pilot must independently verify that they are bad guys”.

That’s outrageous! Are you saying that the pilots must actually know what they’re pointing at, before they pull the trigger?(More Sarcasm.)

“As a result more troops have been killed since this moronic policy was put in place.”

Hum? The idea that we should avoid killing innocents truly is a “moronic policy” (Not really, only morons fail to see why we shouldn’t be killing non-combatants.) I didn’t know there is absolute and quantifiable proof that this “Moronic policy” is responsible for the increase in casualties (Actually I think that only morons believe that.)

“He has 2 choices either allow the military to fight the war or get the hell out.”

Can we trust him with 2 choices? Not when he’s proven himself to be a secret supporter of the Afghan Taliban. I’ve heard that he has 4 other choices. So let’s see….? Your 2 choices, plus the other 4 choices (That makes 6.) That’s way too many choices for him, because he’s a moron. I think he should choose one of your 2 choices, because you are obviously the genius, but I think we should only give him one choice. The one that doesn’t require too much thought, him being a moron and all. That would be “… get the ‘HELL’ out! (Some sarcasm. Are you able to identify the sarcasm? Sorry, I’m making this difficult aren’t I)

I’m very glad I read your comment. It’s been very educational (sarcasm.)

Regarding your last sentence, (I think it’s a sentence, I think you may have left out some words, letters or punctuation marks or something, its very difficult to understand.)

“As for some of your other comments about the country and value it’s the neo communists wanting us to get involved military with regions we have no interest. Whether its Angola, Haiti, Rwanda they are disposable countries and let them determine their own society”
This “neo communist” thing (You need to put a hyphen between the two words.) Are you referring to Obama? I think…..? He’s a centrist Democrat, just a little left of center. Are you referring to people who advocate for intervening in foreign countries, thereby not allowing these countries to “determine their own society?” I thought it was Neocons who do that, not “Neo-Communists.” If you’re talking about people who advocate intervening in countries where genocide is occuring, well then, that doesn’t seem so bad. I’ve always thought communists were bad, but if these “Neo-Communists” you talk about want to intervene to prevent genocide…?.....?.... I’m so confused! I guess its because I’m not as smart as you are (Heavy sarcasm.)

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By drbhelthi, November 17, 2009 at 2:06 am Link to this comment

Is the original U.S. “president imposter” still the kingpin of the drug trade out of Afghanistan, and do US Army aircraft still ferry the drugs to a location where USAF cargo aircraft take over?

If accuracy were to be revealed, the advertised, current top three wealthiest men in the USA would be slid down the list several spaces. However, the Swiss, Luxembourg and offshore banks will not reveal the info, and, of course, in the interest of national security, the “US Gov” will not release the info.

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By mandinka, November 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm Link to this comment

Jdymetrich, if you have been following the war then you would realize that barak made a conscious decision to increase OUR casualties and reduce the afganies. The ground troops can no longer call in for air support and if some is sent the standing rules are “the pilot must independently verify that they are bad guys”. As a result more troops have been killed since this moronic policy was put in place.
He has 2 choices either allow the military to fight the war or get the hell out.
As for some of your other comments about the country and value its the neo communists wanting us to get involved military with regions we have no interest.
Whether its Angola, Haiti, Rwanda they are disposable countries and let them determine their own society

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By JDmysticDJ, November 16, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Mandinka

Your contention that Obama not sending additional troops immediately is costing the lives of U.S. soldiers makes a good emotional argument, even if it is a falsehood not backed by any factual evidence.

My understanding is that military leaders have said that increasing the numbers of troops in Afghanistan will more than likely increase the numbers of U.S. casualities.- More war, more casualties - . Do you really believe that “Pacifying” large areas in Afghanistan will not add to the numbers of U.S. casualties. Incidently, this proposed policy of pacification has been tried before, it failed.

Also, regarding your comment:

“There is nothing we need in Afghanistan…..”

Makes good common sense, but unfortunately, it seems that Neocon global strategists believe that we need Afghanistan in order to achieve their goals of empire and hegemony.

Regarding your comment: 

“.....if they ended up killing each and eliminating the population nothing would be lost.

I’m not sure if the comment is meant to be satiracal, or if its an example of the mentality of those who advocate for war.

If by any chance the comment was meant to be satirical, I would point out that we have heard these kinds of falacious arguments, from those who advocate for war, before.

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By mandinka, November 16, 2009 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

The only problem with barak and his skill as a war fighter is that he is greasing the shaft with the blood of our servicemen. Each month that goes by we sustain record KIA’s because of his foolish ropa dopa. Think its time to move of of Casius Clays technique and allow the military to either wage the war to win or get the hell out now.
There is nothing that we need in Afghanistan and if they ended up killing each and eliminating the population nothing would be lost

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By JDmysticDJ, November 16, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

By Ouroborus, November 16 at 12:40 pm #


“We will grease the walls and make the path a vertical shaft and describe it as the way out.”


Historically, many believed that war provided the “Path” to ending war, i.e. “The War to End All Wars,” or Lyndon Johnson’s and Richard Nixon’s belief that the “Way out” of the Viet Nam War was more war. Johnson and Nixon lead us to the entrance of that “Vertical shaft” that went straight down to Hell. If Obama accepts McChrystal’s recommendation, it will be a continuation of previous mistakes.

What is it that they say about doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results?

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By Ouroborus, November 16, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

We will grease the walls and make the path a vertical
shaft and describe it as the way out.

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By S L Olster, November 16, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

To a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. 

So it is with General McChrystal and his request for tens of thousands of more troops.

Terrorism is a complex problem of which traditional military force is a component—perhaps a small one.  But there are geopolitical concerns that the Commander-in-Chief needs to consider that the General does not.

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By @CT, November 15, 2009 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

William Pfaff writes:
” ... get out with such grace as is possible, as rapidly as possible.”

“Grace” is pretty much out of the question, considering how the US went in—remember the “daisy-cutter” display on teevee? (read all about it: http://www.bing.com/search?q=daisy-cutters+Afghanistan&src=IE-SearchBox&Form=IE8SRC ).

Such “face-saving” as is possible may be what is meant.

Worth considering, while looking for any “grace”:
5 April 2004: ” ... One of the “hidden” objectives of the war was precisely to restore the CIA sponsored drug trade to its historical levels and exert direct control over the drug routes.

“Immediately following the October 2001 invasion, opium markets were restored. Opium prices spiraled. By early 2002, the opium price (in dollars/kg) was almost 10 times higher than in 2000.

“In 2001, under the Taliban opiate production stood at 185 tons, increasing to 3400 tons in 2002 under the US sponsored puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.

“While highlighting Karzai’s patriotic struggle against the Taliban, the media fails to mention that Karzai collaborated with the Taliban. He had also been on the payroll of a major US oil company, UNOCAL. In fact, since the mid-1990s, Hamid Karzai had acted as a consultant and lobbyist for UNOCAL in negotiations with the Taliban. According to the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan:

“‘Karzai has been a Central Intelligence Agency covert operator since the 1980s. He collaborated with the CIA in funneling U.S. aid to the Taliban as of 1994 when the Americans had secretly and through the Pakistanis [specifically the ISI] supported the Taliban’s assumption of power.’ (quoted in Karen Talbot, U.S. Energy Giant Unocal Appoints Interim Government in Kabul, Global Outlook, No. 1, Spring 2002. p. 70. See also BBC Monitoring Service, 15 December 2001) ... “

The Spoils of War:
Afghanistan’s Multibillion Dollar Heroin Trade

http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO404A.html

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By @CT, November 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

JDmydticDJ writes:
“I would argue that the War on Terror, as it has been prosecuted, has only aggravated the hatred of those who advocate terrorist attack on this Nation, has resulted in horrific consequences, and has the potential for creating even more horror.”

Oh, is this a “Nation” ... one could easily mistake it for a military-funding area.

The supposed justification for the US savaging of Afghanistan is 9-11, which apparently was carried out by several men from SAUDI ARABIA—compensated by G-d knows who, possibly some over-grown juvenile delinquents at the New York Yacht Club. Whoever planned the “terrorist” extravaganza, “those who attacked us” died ON that day.

Anybody who really believes that three thousand relatively-innocent people dying in New York is worse than uncounted dozens, maybe hundreds, of thousands of relatively-innocent people dying in a military turkey-shoot abroad, is probably mistaken.

JDmydticDJ writes:
“End our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible.”

Damn straight ... if “we” can’t afford medical care for all, we darn sure can’t afford 50 billion dollars a year (or whatever it is, not counting the continuing expenses for “our” troubled and otherwise disabled troops) to butch around with heavy machinery on other continents.

Call a Christmas truce, give Karzai the keys to Bagram, and boogie. Let the troops build some public housing and playgrounds, or something ...

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By JDmysticDJ, November 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

ENDING THE WAR ON TERROR WITH GRACE

What are the most obvious results of “The War on Terror”?  Death, a massive amount of human suffering, destruction, torture, a crippling expenditure of economic resources, and an increase in terrorist acts committed by ALL the varied factions.

The attempts to calculate the numbers of the dead - Most of these dead apparent innocents – range from 100,000 to many more. The numbers of the dead will continue to increase as long as this so called war continues.

Is it possible to quantify the human suffering caused by this war? An attempt to quantify this suffering would have to include all those wounded (Both physically and psychologically),and the millions displaced, and impoverished. How are things like grief, fear, hatred, and guilt quantified?

Would anyone argue that the two foreign wars associated with this war have not caused massive amounts of destruction?

The United States of America and its citizens have a long history of publicly denouncing torture. As a result of this so called war, the efficacy of torture is now open to public debate, and advocated by people who use a pragmatic rationale.

The National Debt has increased by an astonishing amount since the Reagan Administration. Many believe that the National Debt has the potential to destroy our economy, and that the costs of the wars associated with the war on terror may have pushed, or could possibly push our economy past the breaking point. This large National Debt is an obstacle to funding, and maintaining, desperately needed domestic programs.

Would anyone deny that the incidences of terrorism have increased rather than decreased since the time when this War on Terror began? Some would argue that this War on Terror has protected this Nation from terrorist attacks, but those preventions have been the result of effective national defense policies, and not a result of foreign wars. Others believe that this War on Terrorism, as it has been prosecuted, has only increased the threat of future attack.  Clearly the prevention of terrorist acts on this Nation is of the utmost importance, and the necessary resources to prevent these acts should be allocated, but the question remains. Has the War on Terror prevented the threat of terrorist attack, and have our resources been wisely allocated?

I would argue that the War on Terror, as it has been prosecuted, has only aggravated the hatred of those who advocate terrorist attack on this Nation, has resulted in horrific consequences, and has the potential for creating even more horror.

Allow me to offer my suggestions as to “ENDING THE WAR ON TERRORISM WITH GRACE”. I realize that my offering these suggestions is arrogant. Also, I’m a realist, and I know that nearly all will find my suggestions ridiculous are impractical, but I’ll offer them just the same.

End our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible. There are many problems in   Southwest Asia, but we lack the moral/legal authority, and the capability, to solve these problems, and our presence only aggravates these problems.

A public acknowledgement to the International Community, by our President, that our policies have been tragically erroneous.

A complete, thorough, and unbiased investigation by our Justice Department to determine if war crimes have been committed by our political leaders, and others, and prosecution if allegations are substantiated.

There are many definitions for the word “Grace.” As offensive as it may be too many, I’ll offer the definition I believe would apply here: “The condition of being in God’s favor.”

From a more pragmatic perspective, I believe that if these suggestions were adopted, along with an even, impartial approach to the problems in the Middle East, the threat of terrorist attack on our Nation would be greatly reduced, even, perhaps, eliminated.

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By john crandell, November 15, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

“In a week of horrific news, it was good to hear at the end of it that Obama is dissatisfied with the four Afghanistan options he has been weighing so far. The more time he deliberates, the more he is learning that he’s on a fool’s errand with no exit. After Karzai was spared a runoff last month and declared the winner of the fraud-infested August “election,” Obama demanded that he address his government’s corruption as a price for American support. Only days later the Afghan president mocked the American president by parading his most tainted cronies on camera and granting an interview to PBS’s “NewsHour” devoted to spewing his contempt for his American benefactors.

Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and, until recently, a State Department official in Afghanistan, could be found on MSNBC on Thursday once again asking the question no war advocate can answer, “Do you want Americans fighting and dying for the Karzai regime?” Hoh quit his post on principle in September despite the urging of colleagues, including our ambassador there, Karl W. Eikenberry, that he stay and fight over war policy from the inside. But Hoh had lost confidence in our strategy and would not retract his resignation. Now he has been implicitly seconded by Eikenberry himself. Last week we learned that the ambassador, a retired general who had been the top American military commander in Afghanistan as recently as 2007, had sent two cables to Obama urging caution about sending more troops.”

THANK YOU Frank Rich.

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By @CT, November 15, 2009 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

Let’s see ... Gates and Oblabla—who was for the torture fotos before He was agin’ em—are suppressing information on what some of “our” troops have been up to, around the empire, in order not to endanger the troops.

Today is the day 21-year-old black single mother Alexis Hutchinson was to have been snaffled off to Afghanistan for court martial ... does anybody know if that’s still on?

(see “Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistan”
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/13-7
http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49256 )

Here’s another inspiring story of the administration’s concern for the well-being of “our” (their, obviously) troops:

“A Maryland soldier is in Army custody and classified as a deserter—unfairly, relatives say—after he extended a two-week midtour leave to take care of his sick wife and their new baby ... Pfeiffer spent seven weeks, from Sept. 14 to Nov. 3, at a Kuwait airport, unable to get a military flight to Afghanistan and lacking the necessities of life. Since Nov. 3, he has been kept in an office at the Bagram airport, still hoping to rejoin his unit.”
Army detains Maryland soldier In Afghanistan
http://www.wtop.com/?nid=25&sid=1812637

These people are amazing, just amazing. What are “we” doing in Afghanistan, anyway? Is “our” military something more than organized sadism, in which the politocracy rains death and destruction on whom it will, while torturing its young IED-fodder as a caution to their comrades-in-arms?

Why the teevee press can’t bring itself to deal with the treatment meted out to the “volunteer” troops BY the Army is kind of a head-scratcher.

These people are amazing, just amazing.

(Still, it was the explosive rebellion among “our” troops that finally brought an end to US madness in Viet Nam ... )

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By jackpine savage, November 15, 2009 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

I don’t know how many of you have seen the recently released archival politburo minutes from November 1986. Frightening is the best way to describe the mirroring between then and now.

http://electricworry.wordpress.com/2009/11/15/walking-like-a-pretzel/

(with links to the original documentation)

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By drbhelthi, November 15, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Regardless of how grammatically well written,
regardless of how respectful of others opinions, a
treatise that expounds on actions outside the
pattern that has been long established, is simply a
distraction from that which is, or reality.  While a
15-yr primed marionette, the “hero of the
downtrodden,” continues his bla-bla, as his
representative, a certain female tries to prepare
the world for her planned US presidency, as she
illegally commits the US to treaties and alliances
that must be approved by the US Congress, an
additional forty thousand, plus ten secretive
thousands, are being PCSd to Afghanistan. When will
representatives in Congress wake up, and realize
that they are being treated as excrement in a
commode that is about to be flushed?  Are there only
five members of the House and Senate that are not
bribed, political prostitutes?  No, that is not
accurate, political whores is a better fit.

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By @CT, November 15, 2009 at 10:22 am Link to this comment

“... Bagram is seen as ‘Guantanamo’s lesser-known evil twin’ ... All this talk about transparency, and the US government still won’t release a simple list of names of prisoners who are in Bagram” ... Bagram was previously a major Soviet base during Moscow’s 1979-89 occupation of Afghanistan, providing air support to Soviet and Afghan forces fighting the mujahidin.”
US unveils extended Bagram prison
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/11/20091115114337109563.html

Meanwhile—while his permanently-blond handmaiden decrees US puppet Karzai “must do better”—Mr. Peace Prize postures about closing Guantanamo, and tells other countries which political prisoners to release?

These people are amazing, just amazing. It’s no wonder their captive troops aren’t happy ...

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By Leefeller, November 15, 2009 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

Tangible evidence of responsive actions to the people needs seems most clearly to be the proven trickle down theory in all of it’s glory and wisdom. Though one must keep their eyes open to see it coming.

If one kind of war portrays strategic stupidity, what kind of war portrays strategic brilliance?

Possibility’s of politicians looking weak seems to be substituted in their minds by showing the intelligence of being war hawks, in effect preferring to continue looking stupid in the name of strength.

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By Samson, November 15, 2009 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

Wars become truly disastrous when domestic politics drives them.  That’s when resources are poured into them and when they continue long past the point of strategic stupidity.

How many people have died because hack politicians don’t want to ‘look weak’?

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By Samson, November 15, 2009 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

“tangible evidence that the government, led by the president but going all the way down to the local level, will be more responsive to the needs of the people”??

That’s what we are all crying for here!

Instead, what we get is more and more tangible evidence that the US government is responsive to Wall Street when they ask for trillions of the people’s money.  That they are responsive to the big ‘health’ corporations when they want bailouts and mandatory customers. That they are responsive to the generals when they want more war.

But responsive to the people?  That’s a laugh.

Its easy to get a government responsive to the people. But to get it, we have to vote both the Democrats and the Republicans out. 

Never vote for a candidate that has the corporate money to buy TV ads.

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By FRTothus, November 15, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

FRTothus: The General’s name is Shoup, not Sharp.

Oops, thanks, Gold Star Father, November 14 at 9:14 am #
(Unregistered commenter). 

Overlooked adding the source, Joseph Schumpeter, for the last quote:
“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented…. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors.”

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By @CT, November 15, 2009 at 9:26 am Link to this comment

Democratic double-speak du jour:

US has no long-term stake in Afghanistan: Clinton
The United States has no long-term stake in Afghanistan and its primary aim is to defeat Al-Qaeda there, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/091115/usa/us_afghanistan_politics_unrest_clinton

These people are amazing.

“Now that the (Afghan) election is finally over, we’re looking to see tangible evidence that the government, led by the president but going all the way down to the local level, will be more responsive to the needs of the people,’ Clinton told ABC’s ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’ show.”
Clinton says Afghanistan’s Karzai ‘must do better’
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/clinton-says-afghanistan-karzai-must-do-better-05-sal-02

A perfect storm of bullchips, coming from the administration that’s about to put ... Art Agnos in charge of HUD again. It’s amazing, just amazing: how would these crooks—who still have Viet Nam vets, not to mention women and children, living in the streets—know “tangible evidence that the government, led by the president but going all the way down to the local level, will be more responsive to the needs of the people”??

The pot calling the kettle “black” ...

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By Go Right Young Man, November 15, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment

dihey,

On the issue of “enhanced interrogations”’; I think we should consider the many reasons why two U.S. Presidents (representing two separate political parties), along with the U.S. Congress, after Sept 2001, have kept for themselves the option of harsh interrogations.

I don’t see many people making the claim that KSM is a “war criminal”. In fact for the past 8 years just the opposite has been true. This is an important distinction. Neither the Bush or Obama administrations have designated anyone a “war criminal”. The Supreme Court has decided many legal issues in these matters and none, so far, have anything to do with “criminals of war”.

Perhaps I don’t fully understand your position. Irregardless of a formal declaration of war two U.S. President’s, an overwhelming majority of the Congress, along with the U.S. Supreme Court have settled the issue of military tribunals. We can’t wish or pretend them away. There are numerous reasons why each of the three branches of government have set up and supported these tribunals. That support continues today.

So far nobody has put forward any legal reasons why KSM should be tried in the U.S.. Atty. Gen. Holder himself has stated his decision to bring KSM to the U.S. was based on political and perceptual reasons.

Giving KSM and others exactly what they desire, a global megaphone for their cause, is in nobody’s interest but their own.

Also, and I’m sorry but, I can’t agree with your Lockerbie analogy. Lockerbie was “State” supported. This is not the case with KSM. These are entirely different legal, political, and diplomatic issues at play.

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By dihey, November 15, 2009 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man: you have presented the very reasons why our country should not use interrogation methods that do not stand the test of admissibility in civil court. Senator McCain, although he opposes the trials in New York, agrees that torture must not be used.
Most opponents claim that these men are war criminals hence must be tried by military tribunals. The problem is that the 2001 Senate resolution is not a declaration of war, hence our country is not legally at war, hence these men cannot be war criminals.
The closest analogy of 9/11 was the Lockerbie bombing. Those accused of that terrorist act were judged openly in civil court in Scotland.

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By Go Right Young Man, November 15, 2009 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

The decision to try Khalid Mohammed in a civilian court confronts the Department of Justice with a difficult decision on how much of the evidence against Mohammed should be aired publicly.  Our anti-terror investigations depend on secrecy and the FBI and Homeland Security agents may not relish having their methods publicized in open court.  There is even the possibility that there will be a global backlash in favor of Mohammed as his defense lawyer - paid for by the American taxpayer - will make him appear to be the victim of over-zealous investigators and prosecutors rather than the perpetrator of one of the greatest mass murders in history.
 
In any event, President Obama is affording the terrorists exactly what they wanted in the first place - a global stage right near New York’s theater district.  The very goal of terrorism is to attract world-wide attention and, by trying Mohammed in a civilian court in the middle of New York City, President Obama is giving them the stage they want on which to articulate their perceived grievances.

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By john crandell, November 15, 2009 at 1:40 am Link to this comment

As the Fish cartoon says, if you’re in a hole, stop digging deeper. There’s only so much space over in Arlington, pal.

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By whyzowl1, November 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad,
It’s wrong to go to war without asking the public in advance what they want, providing all relevant information re the economic bottom line. If our country is going to do something down and dirty that may be good for our economy only We the People agree to it, at least we know who we are. No illusions, no hypocrisy. If our government is going to act in our name and for our interests we should be responsible, and know that we are. Enough with the self-righteous pose unless we’ve earned it.
**********
Do my eyes deceive me? Am I misinterpreting you?

It’s absurd to think that a full and “honest” disclosure by our government of its immoral, or at least (and worse) amoral, intentions in launching an imperialist war on another sovereign nation, is in some way morally preferable to masking its ill intent behind the usual lies about bringing “the people of…(fill in the blank)” the marvelous gifts of “liberation,” “freedom,” “democracy,” or etc.

No American president is ever going to admit—let alone announce proudly—in public that he’s a war criminal and moral monster who intends to smash this or that little country over there to plunder its resources or thwart its people’s democratic aspirations because they have the “wrong ideas” or etc., etc. because we’re A LOT bigger and more powerful then they are and, besides, we’re pretty sure we can get away with it. Oh, and by referendum, the American people have let me and the rest of the world know that they enthusiastically support this horrible crime against humanity!

U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

Even Hitler only ever acted with the best and purest of intentions; defending his people from this or that imagined threat and so on.

I don’t think the evidence in any way supports the belief that the American people are enthusiastic supporters of imperialist military adventures—quite the opposite, in fact. I think it may have been wise William Pfaff himself who once pointed out that the American people have a will to violence, but they do not have a will to Empire (in the same way the British, in their day, clearly did). As soon as the “self-defence” argument for any of these American imperialist wars loses its force, public support for the war du jour evaporates swiftly.

The real enemy of the American people is our own corporate elites, and the American foreign policy establishment—that handful of barbaric madmen—who serve their, “our,” interests.

Let’s get honest about that.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Sepharada

In one of your previous comments you quoted from Sodium

“.......he himself would not fault Obama for his performance in easing us out of rather than deeper into wars until after his second year in office. As he usually is, Sodium appears to be prescient—or just more meticulous and better informed.”

David Halberstram, the Pulitzer Prize winner and author of “The Best and the Brightest” said that Clinton decided not to take action regarding the horrors of Ruanda, and the Balkans, because he was concerned about how taking action would impact the coming mid-term elections. Meanwhile the genocide continued on. Political expedience sucks. More pragmatism?

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By gerard, November 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Pfaff’s use of the word “gracefully”—or was that the TD headline writer’s choice?—boggles my mind.
Wars are just about the most graceless events in the history of humanity.  They are a very blunt instrument of foreign policy in the hands of leaders who plunder and kill utterly without regard for the after-effects of pain, death, and destruction which invariably rear their ugly heads with clumsy abandon. How do you “gracefully” bring back one single child with its legs blown off?  Let alone thousands?  “Gracefully” heal one mother’s broken heart who lost her only son to combat? “Gracefully” clean up and restore one landscape contaminated with agent orange or phosphorus or nuclear radiation?  “Gracefully” put a poor, ravished, third world country with 70% unemployment back together and provide even a dim promise of economic viability?  “Gracefully” get the oil barons to stop plundering local resources?  “Gracefully”—ah, but the idea sickens me.  I can go no further. Grace and war are terms in abject opposition to each other and their use in relation to each other indicates one more unconscious example of that strange schizophrenia which permits things like “just wars” and “partial health care” and “humane torture” to co-exist when they are mutually exclusive and absurd.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

To be more succinct, my contention that “Idealism is the highest form pragmatism” is not to disparage Idealism, but to suggest that Idealism supersedes pragmatism, using a pragmatic analysis.

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By Folktruther, November 14, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Ardee, the tendency of the right wing and fake Progs is to blame the people for the predations of power. OF COURSE more people are concerned about their jobs then demonstrate, activists are always a small percentage of the concerned.  Especially in the US where Militants are systematically smeared and attacked by the cops.  the idea of power is to attack and intimidate the people and then berate them for being afraid.

But the idea that the Afpak war is to the economic benefit of the American people is cynical even for Sepharad.  And it would be even if the orginal pipeline that helped instigate the invasion were feasible.  Sepharad’s comment is completely cynical, and attibutes the cynicism to the population.

I think the neozionists have gone to the right now that a two state solution is ruled out by the Dem’s support of the settlements.  As the ziofascist oppression of the Israelis continue, the only way to conceal, justify and disguise the increased oppression is with increased deceit.  Sepharad’s comment is of a piece with the resolution of the house to oppose the Goldstone report, passed by an overwhelming UN vote.  Inequality, the violence to maintain it, and the irrationality to justify it is now the program for neozionists.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Leefeller

Perhaps an idealistic “Dove” would have a use for pragmatism. Idealism is the highest form of pragmatism.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 10:28 am Link to this comment

Leefeller

Can words be amused?

Perhaps the word pragmatic would be amused, by it’s deceit.

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By Leefeller, November 14, 2009 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Occasionally posters spouses or their cats have been known to post in their respective owners or spouses name.

My problems are many, we do not have time to get into them here? Maybe I was being pragmatic plus should not have butted into a closed conversation?

Must say absolutists do have a tendency to get my rankles up, accept me apologies, let me desist, instead I will have a shot of Tequila!

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By Leefeller, November 14, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

“People who make decisions purely on pragmatic considerations are Machiavellian, and they give support to the barbarous and destuctive Neocon theories of hegemony and empire”. 

Could not a dove make pragmatic decisions and not be Maciavellian?

Morals and ethics finds many differences in definition most interesting, now one adds pragmatic? If words existed as beings they would be most amused.

Sephard, you trouble maker you!

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Leefeller

I wasn’t preaching to the choir. My comments were directed at Sepharad and others who have similar views.

What’s your problem?

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By @CT, November 14, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

ooops . . .
U.S. Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistan
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49256

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By @CT, November 14, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Where “troops” for Oblabla’s “war of necessity” come from:

<b>U.S.: Army Sends Infant to Protective Services, Mom to Afghanistan<b>
By Dahr Jamail
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49256

(And consider . . .
Huge Rise in Birth Defects in Falluja
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/11/14 )

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

Sepharad

Furthermore.

The overriding issue in this debate is a moral one. Lives are in the balance here.

People who make decisions purely on pragmatic considerations are Machiavellian, and they give support to the barbarous and destuctive Neocon theories of hegemony and empire.

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By Leefeller, November 14, 2009 at 8:52 am Link to this comment

JDmydticDJ comments:

“I believe that these wars could be an economic benefit to the very small, economic elite minority that effectively rule this country, but will have disastrous economic consequences for ordinary Americans”.

Theory as opinion seems same as mine and by others, is the plutocracy real? Seems one may be preaching to chore here. Obviously to me the war seems madness, has no reason and exists for it’s own sake and the sake of opportunists. Get us out, out!

In the end the reasons for war, seem lies and excuses, especially in the minds of a namby pamby non war hawk, such as myself, guess this makes me a dove? Labels seem so important in the scheme of things, though I prefer not to use them, unless insults need rendering.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 14, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

Sepharad

Your suggestion that the people of this country should be allowed to decide by referendum, before our Nation goes to war, seems to be a good one, but let us not forget that the people of Germany voted, by referendum, with a near 90% majority, to give Adolph Hitler absolute power in Germany.  Given that the New York Times, the Main Stream Media, and our political leaders were disseminating false information in the run up to the Iraq War, I’m wondering how the people of this country would have voted in a referendum regarding the Iraq War. True Democracy is the only viable form of government, but we don’t live in a true Democracy. We live in a Corporatocracy.

Due to the fact that the vast majority of news organizations in this country are owned by large Corporations, and due to the bureaucratic nature of Corporations, news and opinion will be dominated with corporate bias. Also, any astute observer of our political systems realizes that our governmental systems are controlled by moneyed interests. Before we can hope to have true Democracy in this country, we need to remove the power and influence of money on our political systems.

Your seemingly pragmatic suggestion that these wars could be considered efficacious is based on, what I believe is, a false premise. You suggest that these wars could be of economic benefit to the people of this country. I believe that these wars could be an economic benefit to the very small, economic elite minority that effectively rule this country, but will have disastrous economic consequences for ordinary Americans.

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By PatrickHenry, November 14, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

By Sepharad, November 14 at 2:10 am #

National referendums are something other more democratic countries have, not the United States.

Afghanistan is an unconstitutional war as congress has not declared war. 

http://www.fed-soc.org/publications/PubID.106/pub_detail.asp

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By Leefeller, November 14, 2009 at 7:37 am Link to this comment

So, Sephard turns out not to be the cuddly mother hen in ones eyes, so Comprehension hides in the back of room (were it usually hides)  as prejudice takes center stage!

A threat of wits, no! In the end the cause means all, history has shown,  individuals and reason come out second to the frenzied fanatic and their cause. Of course if everything becomes just right, like the three bears right! Then maybe the cause may be. Only it should be known, causes seldom turn out as planned, for causes agendas change after Fanatics find out opportunism becomes a reality.

I would request, FRTothus please use paragraphs, otherwise it is very hard to read.

FT, I did not read in any way Sephard was promoting war as good? Unless I am having a comprehension problem?

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By ardee, November 14, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

I am uncertain, FT as to your complete understanding of the comments of Sepharad. Instead of the support you claim she shows for that war I find a realistic appraisal of the selfishness of the American people, as in:

Hate to be the bearer of ambiguous news, but the numbers of demonstrators out there with “no blood for oil” signs may not outnumber the ones who worry about big cars and jobs.

to have an embarrassing amount of truth within it.

This may very well be a case of “kill the messenger”. I remind you of the serious disagreements I have had with her over our alliance with Israel so please do not take this as any sort of support for what you perceive her position to be, only a clarification of what I see in her words.

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By Folktruther, November 14, 2009 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Sepharad’s presumption that the war in Afghanistan is good for the economic welfare of the American people is so absurd as to require no rebuttal.  the pipline in Afghanistan has been dead for years.  the blood and money of the AAmerican people is quite real.

  Sepharad is a prfessional journalist.  I am getting the distinct feeling that she is being paid by someone to write this drivel.  She is too intelligent to make these cildhish arguements on her own.

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By Gold Star Father, November 14, 2009 at 5:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

FRTothus: The General’s name is Shoup, not Sharp.

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By Sepharad, November 13, 2009 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

Re FRTothus’ Joseph Goebbels’ quote: “The lie can only be maintained [as long as the State can shield] the people from the military, economic and political conseqences.” This raises an uncomfortable issue. In a Depression economy that will worsen if the price of foreign oil goes up, what would happen if the State would say, straight up, “We’re going to have a national referendum on whether we should send more soldiers to Afghanistan where they will to a certainty be killed or horribly maimed as well as brain-damaged. This will cost a lot of money. The downside is that if we do not stay in Afghanistan there is no way Americans will benefit from that southwestern Afghanistan pipeline to be built in 2010, so our oil prices will go up and you have to give up your big cars, probably a lot more jobs. So who do you care about? Those soldiers or your nice life?”  Hate to be the bearer of ambiguous news, but the numbers of demonstraters out there with “no blood for oil” signs may not outnumber the ones who worry about big cars and jobs.

It’s wrong to go to war without asking the public in advance what they want, providing all relevant information re the economic bottom line. If our country is going to do something down and dirty that may be good for our economy only We the People agree to it, at least we know who we are. No illusions, no hypocrisy. If our government is going to act in our name and for our interests we should be responsible, and know that we are. Enough with the self-righteous pose unless we’ve earned it.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 13, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

Interested in pipeline info.?

Search Unocal, scroll down to Unocal(historycommon.org)

Good timeline, and Unocal connections to Taliban, Karzai government, Neocons, and Bush Administration.

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By tman, November 13, 2009 at 6:20 pm Link to this comment

Don’t forget the oil pipeline to be built across southern Afghanistan in 2010, the oil barons need American troops to provide the security.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 13, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

@CT

Gerald Ford bragged that he played football, without the benefit of a helmut. Obama isn’t that stupid. Gerald Ford couldn’t put two sentences together, while Obama is a great speaker, (But he has a tendency to forget what he has said in those speeches.) Obama is cooler than Ford was, and his family is much more appealing than Ford’s family was (Betty Ford had a problem with tranqilizers and alcohol - I wonder why?) but, both men could be classified as ineffectual centrist “Politicians.” Even so, they would both be better than Bush or McCain.

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By @CT, November 13, 2009 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

JDmydticDJ writes:
“About the only positive thing I can say about Obama and his National Security and Foreign Policy decisions Regarding Afghanistan is, he’s not Bush or McCain.”

Yeah: Obama’s more the Gerald Ford type.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 13, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, you give me hope: “Politics is the science of the possible”. Blessings of your heart.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

@CT

About the only positive thing I can say about Obama and his National Security and Foreign Policy decisions Regarding Afghanistan is, he’s not Bush or McCain.

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By Leefeller, November 13, 2009 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

mandinka, I seem to understand everything being said, except the last sentence, please explain?

“Most people learn that in school but as a quota admission he never had to contend with the rigors of a formal education”

So, once a war is started, it is to be only be in the hands of the military generals until all is won or lost? Peace is not an option, not changing minds, changing opinion, realizing the folly? WWII they should have let MacArthur do what he wanted to do instead of what was done? 

Saving face, grace or any other thing to be saved is nothing but folly, moronic and counter to logic, so the cause must go on from the gut, the hart, wave the flag and finish the job even if it does not make sense?

Beerdoctor comment:
“Mr. Obama. Anyone can cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, but it takes a real man or woman to stand up for peace”.

This reminds me of the possible compared to the impossible. In theory:  One prefers to obtain the impossible, for then failure is not ones fault it is blamed on the task, in this case war, but obtaining the possible, if something should go wrong and failure happens, one is at fault. I shortened it, but the comment from you reminded me of this. 

In this case, Obama pulling out would be the possible, to continue is the impossible. Seems pulling out is admitting failure in some minds,thus failure would be on Obama, if Obama stays in, to continue the war, he attempts the impossible, in failure the task would be at fault not Obama.

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By JDmysticDJ, November 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment

Mandinka

One could make a rational argument that the Confederate States had a right to succeed from the Union, even if they were guilty of crimes against humanity.

There are a myriad of factors that caused the Civil War. Not the least of which was The Confederate Army’s attack on Fort Sumter.

Your Contention that Lincoln should be tried for War Crimes, and that your boy George W. was a great Commander in Chief because he relinquished his duties to military leaders is absurd. It wasn’t the “Surge” that brought a measure of stability to Iraq. It was the old fashioned concept of “Paying Tribute” to your enemies, in order to pacify them that brought an uneasy, and unsustainable, degree of relative calm to Iraq.

All the costs: financial and human, of George W’s pre-emptive strike (Based on Fraudulent Intelligence) are the responsibility of George W. and his coterie of Neocon criminals, and its they who should be charged with War Crimes.

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By Daniel Edd Bland III, November 13, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was raised on Dr. Dobson, and have just sent him a letter requesting his assistance to help me stop loosing faith in the Christian Church.  My Mom respects Dr. Dobson as much or more than any other Christian leader, and she is interested to see his response.  I only started learning the truth about the 9/11 attacks last fall.  It took me an entire year to convince my own parents to listen to me, and begin reviewing the evidence for themselves.  Now that they have thoroughly and objectively taken a fresh look into all the available evidence, they too are now aware of how badly we have been deceived.  They now fully support my mission to find out what really happened to 2,993 of our fellow countrymen that fateful September morning.  My mom is very interested to see if/how Dr. Dobson will respond.  Please read my open letter to Dr. Dobson and share your thoughts at…......

http://blandyland.com/?p=459

Does Christ’s Church really stand for TRUTH & JUSTICE?  That is the question!

Daniel Edd Bland III
http://www.BlandyLand.com

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By @CT, November 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

JDmydticDJ writes:
“If Obama escalates, it would seem to reinforce the contention of some that Obama has come under the influence of the elite power structure, who seek American hegemony and Empire, and not the interests of the people of this country, or the people of Central Asia, for that matter.”

Mr. Peace Prize yesterday, in Alaska:
” ... we’re increasing the defense budget, including spending on the Air Force and the Army. (Applause.) ... we’ve halted reductions in the Air Force, increased the size of the Army ahead of schedule and also approvedsure a temporary increase in the Army ... I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests. (Applause.) But I also make you this promise: I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America’s vital interest. (Applause.)

“And if it is necessary, the United States of America will have your back ... And that includes public support back home. That is a promise that I make to you. (Applause.)”

—> “A promise that I make to you” is “public support back home”?! When a big majority of the US “public” opposes the occupation of Afghanistan? Who the heck writes this crappola?

“Have your back?” Sheesh.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 13, 2009 at 2:06 pm Link to this comment

The Washington Post writes of this “wrenching period” of President Obama’s administration. Quote:” he is learning every day the challenges of a wartime presidency.”
May I offer this suggestion to POTUS: stop trying to be a god damn war president, those chicken hawk shit heads will never respect you, no matter how many times you kiss their deadly rings. Do you really want to preside over a country that deems it proper to arbitrarily assassinate anyone, 24/7, anywhere in the world?
It is time to be a real human man, Mr. Obama. Anyone can cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war, but it takes a real man or woman to stand up for peace. A man or woman not intimidated by senseless violence that is fueled by greed.
There.I will get off the stage now…

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By mandinka, November 13, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Well leefeller if Lincoln was alive today he would be tried for war crimes. The civil was was totally unnecessary, the bloodiest and was contrary to the founding of this country. It was fought over states rights and those that joined the union had every right to leave. so much for the “Lincoln” attribute.
The difference with W was he listen and learned and agreed with the tactics. The current clown occupying the WH is incapable of listening and learning. Most people learn that in school but as a quota admission he never had to contend with the rigors of a formal education

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By Leefeller, November 13, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Since I do not listen to the MSM, is the MSM white washing this as usual or does their seem to be some kindling burning under their arses?

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By JDmysticDJ, November 13, 2009 at 12:40 pm Link to this comment

I’m disappointed.

The rational comments here are so cogent that there is no one to argue with.

Its clear that the majority of the People in this country are opposed to escalation, and that the evidence of history, as well as military academic treatises regarding what’s necessary to suppress insurrections of this type support the contention that escalation would be fool hardy.

If Obama escalates, it would seem to reinforce the contention of some that Obama has come under the influence of the elite power structure, who seek American hegemony and Empire, and not the interests of the people of this country, or the people of Central Asia, for that matter.

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By FRTothus, November 13, 2009 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

Mr Pfaff exhibits a fundamental misunderstanding of Vietnam.  To say that the US lost the war there ignores the facts.  To say that Vietnam won is ludicrous.  To call popular movements which seek national independence “communist” is par for the course, but does not represent reality.  Vietnam was devastated by the US aggression and bombing, the chemical warfare that made a wasteland for what once was one of the most fertile areas in the world, the Mekong Delta.  They still pay the price as the US refuses to remove millions of land mines that kill and maim to this day. Insurrection is defined as opposition to legitimate authority, but there is no such thing in Afghanistan, just as there wasn’t in Vietnam.  The US has installed its own dictator, and the opposition to his role as the US puppet, and to the US occupation, is entirely legitimate.  Their “terrorists” must content themselves with car bombs and other small-time, retail acts of murder, while our terrorists engage in wholesale slaughter. As William Blum put it, “A terrorist is someone who has a bomb but doesn’t have an air force.”
I agree wholeheartedly with General David Sharp, former US Marine Commandant, who said “I believe that if we had and would keep our dirty, bloody, dollar-soaked fingers out of the business of these [Third World] nations so full of depressed, exploited people, they will arrive at a solution of their own…. And if unfortunately their revolution must be of the violent type because the “haves” refuse to share with the “have-nots” by any peaceful method, at least what they get will be their own, and not the American style, which they don’t want and above all don’t want crammed down their throats by Americans.”  Replace the word “communist” with “terrorist”, and this quote by Senator Frank Church describes exactly the fundamental misunderstanding exhibited by Mr Pfaff and so many others: “America’s inability to come to terms with revolutionary change in the Third World…has created our biggest international problems in the postwar era. But the root of the problem is not, as many Americans persist in believing, the relentless spread of communism. Rather, it is our own difficulty in understanding that Third World revolutions are primarily nationalist, not communist. Nationalism, not capitalism or communism, is the dominant political force in the modern world. You might think that revolutionary nationalism and the desire for self-determination would be relatively easy for Americans - the first successful revolutionaries to win their independence - to understand. But instead we have been dumbfounded when other peoples have tried to pursue the goals of our own revolution two centuries ago.”  In the United States there is no such thing as principled opposition to war, and no objective reality.  The “truth” is what people can be conditioned to believe.  The widespread acceptance of lies does not them them true. “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” “The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Joseph Goebbels
What is the US today if not a modern Roman empire?  “There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome’s allies; and if Rome had no allies, the allies would be invented…. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors.”

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By vonbargen, November 13, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Maybe “Mandinka” is correct about letting the military take over, but he probably thinks that these are all ‘military’ problems.  He has also left out some other “morons” who disagreed with their generals: Lincoln, Truman, bush 43 (who at first resisted the surge) and most other war presidents at one time or another. I am constantly amazed at those who keep insisting that the generals have all the answers.  Maybe they’d be more comfortable living in countries with “Generals” in charge, like Pinochet, Strassner, Franco et al.

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By Leefeller, November 13, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

mandinka,

Stay out of something one does know nothing about? 57000 American troops, many more wounded, how many Vietnamese killed, what is their to know?  Guess we should just let history repeat itself and wait for the the mortality count to get much higher, then the Us can pull out?

I know, some believe the USA can win this thing, like the USA could have won in Vietnam, let the generals run the political wars, something they are trained to do, so the morons, the politicians who start the wars let the generals go on for as McCrystal says, Afghanistan may last up to 50 years, (can you say British empire)!

Seems a total waste of lives first and foremost, then a waste of resources and money second! Pull the troops out now!

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By Mary Ann McNeely, November 13, 2009 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

There is no one currently in power in the United States government who has the simple intelligence to get us out of Afghanistan.  Deceit, stupidity, greed and incompetence rule.  Obama is a carnival barker, a snake oil salesman, a whiskey drummer.  He is that and nothing more.

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By mandinka, November 13, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment

The only way to fight these wars after the decision is made to go in is allow the military to run the war.
LBJ, Carter were perfect examples of morons thinking that they knew more than the generals. And we can now add barak to the list. Earth to politicians stay out of something you know absolutely nothing about!!!

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By drbhelthi, November 13, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

Increasingly, folk gain insight into what is being manipulated - and very privately - in the USofA, as people gain insight into the “American Indian” saying,  “- what you do speaks so loud, I can not hear what you say- -”

Kill, maim and disable youth that would comprise a fighting force; teach anti-patriotism in public education; disarm the citizenry; collapse the financial system; disable the wisdom of the elderly. All goals of the NAZI, false-zionists who have overtaken the USofA.

It has taken about fifteen years to develop B.H. (perhaps BS) Obama for his current position, and has cost the Rockefeller empire millions.  Millions of world folk identify with this representative of the deprived classes, permitting him to distract the world with his bla-bla, while H. Clinton commits the US to treaties that defeat the US Constitution, and contribute to all the above-listed NAZI goals.

Positioning North Com to be used against the American citizenry, while the NAZIS and false zionists via the Federal Reserve deplete the economy, and CIA, MOSSAD, Ex (Blackwater) and pimps of AIPAC continue their evil destruction and scapegoating of persons with insight, s o m e o n e thinks that there is a possibility of withdrawal from Afghanistan and the oil-acquisition battles in the Near East???

Wake up and get real, folks !

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By godistwaddle, November 13, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

Dear Mr. President:

They used to die for Bush’s lies;
Now they die for yours.
You lie; another sucker dies.
It is the way of war.

Every U.S. fatality from Iraq and Afghanistan should have on his/her memorial stone:  “Here lies one who died for lies—for NOTHING.”

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By NYCartist, November 13, 2009 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

Virginia777,
  See http://www.blackagendareport.com for articles on attack on public education.  See archives list of pages on bottom of page l and go back one page and also other articles.

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By Virginia777, November 13, 2009 at 9:17 am Link to this comment

how interested to read 100 articles on Truthdig on the war in Afghanistan (not)

I sure am not hearing much about the war(s) in our inner-cities.

I sure am not hearing much about the war on public education.

I guess wars in America are just not as interesting as the war in Afghanistan (not)

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By Dave Schwab, November 13, 2009 at 8:50 am Link to this comment

President Obama is now deciding whether to send as many as 60,000 additional U.S. soldiers to the war in Afghanistan.

Let’s urge Obama to live up to his 2009 Nobel Peace Prize. Tell him to withdraw troops from Afghanistan—not send more.

http://bit.ly/noafghansurge

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By NYCartist, November 13, 2009 at 8:48 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, you can get Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker article online.  (I have it and haven’t yet read it.)
I don’t listen to NPR (called National Pentagon Radio by some) except during overnight when BBC Worldwide Service is sometimes on the radio.  (They’re not so great on war/s the US and England are in, and not so great on the recession - rather middle to right.)

But, we don’t need to “get out with grace” - grace is for ballet.  Just OUT NOW!

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By Leefeller, November 13, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

The ugliness of war, has no eyes! 

Get out now!

Screw political posturing, no longer should we be hearing the war hawks barking, ever constant, with the sadistic glee of mad men, always waving the flag and saying over and over the words greatness, patriot and heroes, most empty words to the dead and wounded, this folly being lead by the mad must stop.

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By Ouroborus, November 13, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack, November 13 at 9:55 am #

Well, for once, I agree with everything you said,
especially;
Ya know where he needs to take a walk…..?????? 
Through the bowels of Walter Reed that’s
where!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He needs to see the
soldiers who will Never Ever be functioning members
of society EVER!!!  Guys with their faces burned off…
Guys with their genitals shot off…. I’m sure there’s
a few in there with no arms, no legs, no ears, and no
eyes…  You know,, just like the guy in Johnny Got His
Gun….
============================================
Couldn’ta said it better myself, cheers!

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By montanawildhack, November 13, 2009 at 5:55 am Link to this comment

So Obama was seen walking through Arlington looking pensive???? So what!!! Ya know where he needs to take a walk…..??????  Through the bowels of Walter Reed that’s where!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  He needs to see the soldiers who will Never Ever be functioning members of society EVER!!!  Guys with their faces burned off… Guys with their genitals shot off…. I’m sure there’s a few in there with no arms, no legs, no ears, and no eyes…  You know,, just like the guy in Johnny Got His Gun….  The neo cons (zionists) got us in these 2 illegal and immoral wars and it’s gonna be the same zionists who have to approve of our leaving…. And quess what boys and girls….???? That ain’t happenen’!!!!  This is all a big dog and pony show to make us believe we really have a choice about leaving Iraq and Afghanistan….

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By ardee, November 13, 2009 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, November 13 at 2:44 am

I,too, heard this NPR report. I almost crashed the damn tractor applauding! If President Obama actually carries through on this I will be forced to retract much of my criticisms of his character.

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By Leefeller, November 13, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

If some as I and others here are fretting about getting the troops out, one can only imagine what the war hawks are doing? Not circling the wagons I am sure, for that would be a defensive position.

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By Ouroborus, November 13, 2009 at 3:25 am Link to this comment

Addendum; C.Curtis.Dillon, November 13 at 6:48 am #

But, there is still the problem of using Afghanistan as
our personal shooting gallery (the drones). So,
leaving, even 100%, isn’t really the end of the
problem, but it’s a damn good beginning!

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By Ouroborus, November 13, 2009 at 3:19 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon, November 13 at 6:48 am #

Obama needs to earn that Peace Prize right now!  Tell
the crazy Karzai we are leaving and he can figure out
how to deal with the Taliban by himself.
===========================================

YES!!!!

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, November 13, 2009 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

Grace?  There is no grace in this issue.  Being afraid to withdraw because it will make us look stupid and then continuing the stupidity makes no sense.  We were right for about the first year of the occupation and then Cheney/Bush decided they needed another distraction and pushed us into Iraq.  Afghanistan wasn’t important enough as a news story to be cleaned up and now, 7 years later we are faced with a pending disaster which has spread to Pakistan.  Bush was an idiot and Obama appears to be too concerned about being seen as weak.  Well, he should learn from LBJ and how weak he became by continuing the war.  Screw the hawks in Washington ... they are all cowards who would never commit themselves to any of the wars they so vocally support.  True cowards who send others to do what they are afraid to do themselves.

Obama needs to earn that Peace Prize right now!  Tell the crazy Karzai we are leaving and he can figure out how to deal with the Taliban by himself.

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By thebeerdoctor, November 13, 2009 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

What is all this reliance upon hearsay in order to determine what kind of meat grinder (or not) that President Obama is going to choose? Whatever became of that transparency this administration was suppose to usher in? Now we exist in the hopeful shadows of rumors and claim that this is progress…

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By KDelphi, November 12, 2009 at 11:54 pm Link to this comment

Sephard—heard the same thing..I am afraid that I think that it is wishful thinking. I also heard that he has already increased troops by 13,000 in the past month, but i just cannot verify where I read it.

The first mistake was appointing McChrystal of war crimes fame

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By Ouroborus, November 12, 2009 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

Re; my previous comment regarding the abomination of
our targeted killing of Afghanis even after we have
exited their country; Tom Engelhardt has this very
relevant article in the Asia Times.
Predators, Reapers,and the Gorgon Stare are just a few
of the Orwellian realities unfolding 25 years late. 

Here’s a link;

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KK12Df01.html

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By Jolimont, November 12, 2009 at 11:06 pm Link to this comment

Get out with grace or without grace, it doesn’t matter,
just get out. There is nothing we can do for
Afghanistan, it’s culturally so backwards they are
stuck in their own mud. Bombing/shooting them certainly
won’t help and I don’t believe our military can be sent
there and told to hold their fire. The Afghans will
certainly shoot at them, and then what? Pack up and
leave.

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By Sepharad, November 12, 2009 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

If Seymour Hersch’s interview on NPR this afternoon is to be believed (am waiting for more details in the a.m. papers), Obama has told the generals he is NOT going to send more soldiers to Afghanistan. (Husband said he heard some commenter note that Obama was seen walking through Arlington Cemetery, alone, looking at all the soldiers’ gravestones—something no one has observed a commander-in-chief doing before.) If this truly happens, I’m going to beg Cyrena to come back and tell her I have to eat all my words critical of Obama for not getting us out of the wars as promised. Sodium said yesterday or the day before on another thread that we were too hasty, that he himself would not fault Obama for his performance in easing us out of rather than deeper into wars until after his second year in office. As he usually is, Sodium appears to be prescient—or just more meticulous and better informed.

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By SteveL, November 12, 2009 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

How about “ we just checked the history books and Afghanistan is no place to be”

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By Sarah Ferguson, November 12, 2009 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Exxon Group Wins Iraq Oil Contract” 11/6/2009

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704328104574516901231406
262.html

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By Ouroborus, November 12, 2009 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment

Remember the horror stories of what would happen
if/when we left Viet Nam? What could possibly be worse
for Afghanistan than what we’re doing there now?
Of course, even after “we” leave, Afghanistan will
still be our private shooting gallery. All that will be
different is, we won’t lose anymore of our troops. What
price will we pay for that abomination?

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By PatrickHenry, November 12, 2009 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

In the beginning I believe the U.S. was welcomed as liberators, few in number and violence aimed at the perpetrators who were bullying the populace.

Now after several years of collateral damage incidents which involve weddings and funerals where many innocent women and children were killed, the Afghans only see us as Russians with money.

We’ve wore out our welcome without any real strategic objective or accomplishment worth a damn and wasted a fortune doing so.

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