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What Obama Really Thinks About the Surge

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Posted on Dec 10, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

By Eugene Robinson

The traditional Nobel Peace Prize lecture, given every year at Oslo’s modernist City Hall, does not usually include such words as: “I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed.”

President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel for peacemaking by delivering an eloquent, often grim treatise on the nature and necessity of warfare. Anyone who doubts his commitment to the war in Afghanistan, which he has escalated with an “extended surge” of 30,000 new U.S. troops, should read a transcript of the Oslo speech. Hawks who suspected—and doves who hoped—that Obama was a secret pacifist will see that although he did not set out to be a “war president,” he has accepted his fate.

Obama’s major speeches often lay out not just what position he is taking or what decision he has made, but also the thinking process that led him there. Listening to his lecture Thursday, I had the sense that we were hearing arguments and counterarguments that might have been running through his mind during the long policy review leading to the Afghanistan surge.

A senior administration official, speaking not to be quoted by name, told me this week that the day Obama decided on the troop increase was the toughest so far for the president. The options, according to this official’s account, were all bad.

The president had concluded that beginning a withdrawal—which is what I believed he should do—was too risky, given evidence of “real and serious threats” to the United States still emanating from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region. Leaving troop levels unchanged would have just perpetuated the unacceptable status quo, the president decided, without even a theoretical path to a day when U.S. forces could safely withdraw.

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Obama decided on a double gamble. He gave Gen. Stanley McChrystal most of the troops he asked for—not just a contingent of trainers to try to whip the Afghan military into shape, but also combat forces to smash and “degrade” the Taliban insurgency. And he set a deadline of July 2011 to start bringing the troops home, hoping that would spur Afghan President Hamid Karzai to make desperately needed reforms.

Obama saw this course of action as most likely to create the conditions to bring the greatest number of U.S. troops home at the earliest possible date, the senior official said. But several administration officials have made clear in public statements that July 2011 is meant to mark the beginning of a withdrawal, not the end, and that Obama’s policy doesn’t anticipate a day when the last U.S. soldier turns out the light and closes the door behind him.

In his Oslo speech, the president gave a brief history of war—from the “dawn of history” through the terrible conflicts of the 20th century to the messy “wars within nations” of today, in which “many more civilians are killed than soldiers, the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, and children scarred.”

His basic conclusion is that war is always tragic but sometimes necessary: “Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms.” And while he reiterated his support of multilateralism, he vigorously defended the role the United States has played since the end of World War II as a military superpower, acting in “enlightened self-interest.”

So the question about the use of military force is not if, but how and when.

On how war should be waged, Obama pledged that the United States will faithfully abide by the standards of the Geneva Conventions, which the Bush administration seemed to regard as flexible and outdated. It remains incredible to me that a U.S. president has to explicitly renounce torture, but that’s an obligation Obama inherited.

On when to use force, Obama offered no comfort to those who might feel “a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause.” The president gave a list of potential causes that was actually quite comprehensive. He said that war can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as in the Balkans. He mentioned failed states, such as Somalia. He talked about the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.

Obama concluded with soaring words of hope, but drew a clear distinction between the world as we would like it to be and the world as it is. No, it wasn’t at all the kind of Nobel lecture we usually hear.

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By Cole..., December 19, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ll forego the temptation to enter into the converstation of Israel v. Palastinians because the thread is based on the Obama speach in Oslow.

Whatever else the speach did it ultimately quashed the main feature of the Obama candidacy “Hope and Change”. Robinson elevates taking the “PEACE”  to a new low worthy of a bush prize. In other words Obama has what looks like glowing praise of ‘just wars’ in that mankind has been at it since the dawn of history. In more ‘other words’ he stated that there is “NO HOPE”. We have always done it so the only thing preventing a war is finding just the difficult task of finding the right words to justify it and as we have seen a War Minded President can do that and get glowing rave reviews.

The only thing which has Changed is the lapel on which the flag is displayed.

I think we can do better, we have to stop electing the LBJ’s, Nixon’s, Bush’s and Obama’s.

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Robert's avatar

By Robert, December 18, 2009 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

Hart of the Matter #3: Professor Ilan Pappe (2)


“This evening we have the second part of my conversation with Professor Ilan Pappe, the truth-telling Israeli historian whose latest book is The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

In last week’s programme, the first part of our conversation ended with a question from me. And we’ll continue this evening with it.”

@@@@@@@@@@@

Click on link to watch this great interview by Allan Hart with Israeli historian/professor, Ilan Pappe:

http://www.alanhart.net/hart-of-the-matter-3-professor-ilan-pappe-2/

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By ardee, December 18, 2009 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, December 18 at 5:29 am

I do understand that you are entrenched in a position that allows you no clear vision of the extremism of the Israeli Govt in regards to its outcast neighbors, outcasts made such by that very same government.

I also note that you refuse to consider the numbers I cited plainly demonstrating the overreactions of the IDF to inefficient and obsolete Katyusha rockets that seldom come close to their intended targets. Further you seek to place blame on Hamas and Hezbollah for those casualties.

Neither of those groups made the decision to drop 500 Lb. bombs on an occupied apartment complex in order to kill one man. Neither of those groups ordered innocent civilians slaughtered even though they had their hands in the air, just as neither fired into a crowd of rock throwing children.

sepharad, it is ironic that your own position forces me to the extreme side of the argument against your refusal to take the civilized position here. While both of us wish to see Israel continue as a nation only one of us wishes that nation acting with integrity, decency and humanity, and that is a real pity.

I hope you understand that our debate does not extend to any ill will towards you as a person, only regret that cultural, religious and ancestral ties refuse to allow you to see with accuracy.

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By Sepharad, December 18, 2009 at 1:29 am Link to this comment

ardee, you rightly condemn what you see as my form of extremism because you think you’re right, and I wouldn’t respect you as I do if I thought you didn’t believe what you say. I can’t condemn your standards, but just note that factors you see as irrelevant and pushing the debate away from where you think it should be are, to me, not irrelevant but important context and complicated truth. Numbers can be manipulated to demonstrate just about anything, if the statistician chooses to do it. If the Israelis wanted to kill as many Palestinians as possible they would do it, and demographics would cease to be as overwhelming as they are. (What began as 750,000 refugees is more than three million and counting three generations later, despite being abandoned by the bordering and other Arab countries, which should have long since taken them in but obviously have no intention of doing so.) What the Israelis are trying to do is kill those who attack Israel and huddle among the Palestinians (at least during the battles!) in very crowded conditions. If Hamas or Hezbollah wants to protect the noncombatant Palestinians, they should fight apart and away from them, instead of deliberately drawing them in, and firing from positions next to schools and other iconic spots.

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By ardee, December 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

mandinka, December 17 at 3:43 pm

So, do they really allow you to walk the streets or do you post from some institution?

Ironic that you call me rude when every effort of yours is an affront to civilized people everywhere.

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By mandinka, December 17, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

arnee as usual rather than doing a modicum of research you instead revert to name calling how typical of the LWNJ that post here

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By ardee, December 17, 2009 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, December 17 at 2:10 am

You think to distract the debate with irrelevancies, sadly I must push the topic back to where it belongs.

Only the radicalized few demand the abolition of the State of Israel yet you repeatedly make this the basis for your defense. Now you bring into this clear cut issue of the vast differences between Israeli deaths and those of the Palestinian peoples another such distraction, that Arabs fight among themselves.

This , dear Sepharad, excuses the fact that Israel kills hundreds of times more Palestinians than the reverse? No, of course it does not.

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/stats/deaths.html

Israel is a recognized state, thus responsible for upholding international law, Palestinians are refugees without a state ( thanks mostly to Israel itself) and those who fire rockets into Israel are in the minority there.

One might defend such extremism by noting the great oppression of Israel against these refugees, the withholding of aid, medical supplies and foodstuffs included, but I do not seek to defend extremism, only condemn it.

With that goal in mind I condemn your own form of extremism, sorry to note.

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By ardee, December 17, 2009 at 4:20 am Link to this comment

mandinka, December 16 at 11:53 pm #

arnee and inherit as usual the lib deniers.. even with unassailable facts that muhammad was a pervert you still try and defend him, much like Bill lying under oath was excused.

No, moron, what I defend is truth and fairness. What you do is pervert those admirable qualities and prove, with every post what a slime trail leaving piece of garbage you really are.

Your entire political philosophy is built upon hatred and insane patriotism that harms the nation you profess to love.

You make me sick to my stomach.

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By Sepharad, December 16, 2009 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment

ardee, I don’t think you’ll change my mind on that one. I know there was violence on both sides in Palestine/Israel as there has been everywhere all over the world before and since. Conquest cycle, no innocent cultures, not Romans or Goths or Persians or Arabs or Europeans or Jews or Moslems or Christians or Hindus or atheists or Native Americans or Communists or monarchists or even the liberte-egalite-fraternite guys with their Terror. The Jews in Israel have a pretty small strip of land (that was once all theirs, that was never devoid of Jews even after the Romans’ attempted genocide) compared to the Arab world, a matchbook on a football field. When you look at the civilization and contributions of the small-in-number Jewish people relative to those of the hugely more populous Arab world, how can you not want that smaller people to survive? The blood that has been spilled in the so-called Holy Land by just about everyone did not start and will not end with the Jews, and overall the amount of mayhem they have added in all those centuries is paltry, certainly compared to what the Arabs and other Moslems do to each other every year, every day, every bombing, like clockwork. Arab independence was born under Lawrence of Arabia’s eyes and were bloodier than even he could bear to look at. If Israelis did a fraction of what Arabs have done to each other, then we might have a conveersation. I know you can’t see it this way, but I can’t see it any other way. I happen to like Semites, all of them, the whole family. And I wish we could cooperate because I think there is a potential Mediterranean commercial collaboration that would astonish the world, and after peace and enough prosperity to educate everyone’s children, that’s when enemies can relax enough to take halting steps toward friendship. I see individuals doing it now, and nearly all of it is happening in small economic and communal ventures. But I can also imagine this delicate growth dying on the vine—or dying literally— if extremists on either side get sufficient encouragement from the outside world and that is precisely what is happening. The left affects to see Hamas and Hezbollah as freedom fighters—a singularly stupid failure of perception. This makes it so very very easy for orthodoxically regressive Arab-hater among the Jews of Israel to tell one another “See? See how they hate us? What can we do but fight back?” Such people can ruin Israel and will, if the rest of the world continues in its dunderheaded Durban-style isolation and demonization of Israel—a very bad case of reverse-racism,

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By Inherit The Wind, December 16, 2009 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

There’s Mandinka’s true spirit of morality!
“Clinton did it (lied about nooky) so it’s OK that Bush did it too!”  Constant equating of lying about sex with lying to start a war!

Yeah! Go for it, guy! You CAN twist that moral reality into a pretzel if you just have the tenacity!

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By mandinka, December 16, 2009 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

arnee and inherit as usual the lib deniers.. even with unassailable facts that muhammad was a pervert you still try and defend him, much like Bill lying under oath was excused. But when W’s folks fell to that same charge they are doing time.
Justice and truth only work when everyone is held to the same standard and unfortunately you both FAIL!!

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By Inherit The Wind, December 16, 2009 at 5:14 am Link to this comment

Mandinka:
a) I’m not defending a child-rapist—you just pulled that out of your @$$.
b) You are in NO position to lecture anyone on morality having said it’s OK to kill innocents and guilty alike “and let god or ally sort it out”.
c) Your insistence on retaining your ignorance in the face of simple unassailable facts in order to support your bigotry is downright scary.

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By ardee, December 16, 2009 at 3:59 am Link to this comment

Mandinka:

You are a bigoted ignoramus who knows NOTHING about Islam.

Thanks, ITW, I felt it bore repetition…..of course one might add….or about much of anything else either.

Sepharad

We seemingly agree on much and only diverge when it comes to the actions of the Israeli govt. towards the refugees it itself created.

I hope to lead you into the light on that subject one day…;-)

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By mandinka, December 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm Link to this comment

Shepard Mohammad had lots of wives last count there were 30. So being older than him means nothing

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By Sepharad, December 15, 2009 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

mandinka, Mohammed had a wife who was OLDER than him, not sure by how many years but maybe it was six and you overlooked “years older” ... What biography of Mohammed did you read? Maxime Rodinson’s is one of the best.

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By mandinka, December 15, 2009 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Windy, the fact that you are trying to defend a child rapist says a lot about your morality. The age of his wises is readily available in history books. Think they even have a little girl in the Koran for the ‘true” followers to salivate after. There was no ally until Muhammad made him up, Muhammad was a sick maniacal leader that felt that torture was great and something he relished. He and Dr Mengele would have been a great tag team together.
Reading the Crayon would make a rational person sick but I guess you don’t fall into that category

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By Inherit The Wind, December 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm Link to this comment

Mandinka:

You are a bigoted ignoramus who knows NOTHING about Islam.

Mohamed didn’t “invent” Allah.  “Allah” is simply Arabic for God.  Mohamed didn’t try to convert Christians and Jews because he believed they ALREADY worshiped the one, true God—he was going for the pagan Arabs.  In what you DON’T know, Jews and Christians are supposed to be considered BROTHERS of Moslems and are described as “People of the Scriptures”.  That’s right—Christians and Jews worship Allah same as Moslems—they just call him “God”, “Jehovah” or “Yahweh”.

As for the child bride nonsense, I don’t know where you dug that up, nor do I care.  A billion people don’t revere a child molester.  Did you get it from Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, or Ann Coulter-Geist?

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By ThomasG, December 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Rep. Alan Grayson Reads Petition from 100,000 People: End the War Now

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2009/12/15-2

Alan Grayson: Afghan War ‘Futile’

by Meredith Shiner

Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said Tuesday that the war in Afghanistan is “futile” and vowed to vote against the Pentagon’s appropriations bill to protest President Barack Obama’s decision to send more U.S. troops there.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/12/15-8

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By ThomasG, December 15, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Rep. Alan Grayson Reads Petition from 100,000 People: End the War Now

http://www.commondreams.org/video/2009/12/15-2


Congressman Alan Grayson: Afghan War ‘Futile’  by Meredith Shiner

Florida Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson said Tuesday that the war in Afghanistan is “futile” and vowed to vote against the Pentagon’s appropriations bill to protest President Barack Obama’s decision to send more U.S. troops there.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/12/15-8

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By Sepharad, December 15, 2009 at 3:49 pm Link to this comment

ardee, I should have worded the comment you focus on “..the Taliban’s ALLEGED war against the West.” I don’t think they would be fighting us if we were not in their country fighting them. Same principle in Iraq. However much we sympathize with the gender inequities, or (Saddam’s case) mistreatment of minorities such as the Kurds and Shiia, these things aren’t grounds to invade other countries.

We are, and I think Obama made it fairly clear, in Afghanistan and Pakistan trying to destroy safe havens for terrorist groups who did attack us as well as our allies, and in Pakistan the concern seems more for the destabilizing of a government in possession of nuclear technology. We’d be much much farther along in that regard if we’d never gone into Iraq. I was influenced, in the run-up to Iraq, by writings of the Kurd Kanan Makiya (because after the firest Gulf war we encouraged the Kurds and Shiiah to rise up against Saddam, they did, and we left them swinging in the wind) and, to a lesser extent, by Fouad Ajami, who thinks that dysfunctional Arab societies can only be changed for the better from the outside. Re the former, it’s an obligation I believe we did incur; re the latter, Ajami’s theory is one I no longer believe even though it is still emphasized in some of the Arab Social Reform whitepapers coming out under the UN’s offices the last five years. But these were not the reasons Bush and Cheney wanted to invade Iraq: I think they just wanted the oil and lucrative defense contracts associated with any war. Oh—as a “defender of Israel”, I think American policies in the Middle East have done far more harm than good to Israel but not nearly as much harm as we’ve done to our own country.

If we want to do anything of lasting value in Afghanistan, we should be emulating the “three cups of tea” and “stones and schools” man. Now THERE is a reason not to get out completely, but only if we do things differently. E.g., given the lucrative nature of poppy cultivation here and elsewhere in the world, we should buy the opiates and use them in the legitimate medical pain palliative industry so the farmers in Afghanistan and Pakistan can earn enough money to educate their children. Of course the Taliban initially would not like it but the greatest objections would come from pharmaceutical companies as legal opiates would greatly reduce the cost of their drugs.

If we only pursue such terrorists as are in our na tional interests and otherwise focus on improving lives while we are there, we might get better results. Gotta stop being a hammer that can only imagine nailing things.

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By mandinka, December 15, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Inherit guess facts are something your not comfortable with. There was no Ally until Mohammad made him up and there is no question that he was a pervert and child molester. Maybe a 4 or 5 year old is your idea of a wife but its not mine.
remember that Muslims believe if they don’t have sex for 4 days they are free to rape their wives. Chopping off arms and stoning as well as beheadings are all standard practice in their belief’s. No rational person would ever call it a religion

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By ThomasG, December 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Bucky5, December 15 at 3:23 pm,

Here are some organizations involved in Left-Wing Protest Movements:

Americans For Financial Reform http://www.ourfinancialsecurity.org Heather Booth can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

National Peoples Action http://www.showdowninamerica.org  George Goehl can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Midwestern Academy is a training place for protest organizers whose president is also Heather Booth.

Bill Moyers on PBS Bill Moyers Journal interviewed both at the following link:

http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12112009/watch.html

With regard to your comment about a third political party, the American Populace needs to agitate for a Multi-Party Political system in the United States, so that ALL political factions in the United States can be represented by coalition governance.

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By Cole..., December 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The short, almost answer to your quetion is:
There is nothing wrong with bringing the troops home now. And as you suggest the money wastefully spent would go where into more productive directions.
Of course, the Cheney’s who profit would cringe and sputter. Out of one side of their colective mouths.

The utterings that terrorism has to be confrunted ‘over there’ is nonsense. There is no need for the terrorist-want-to-be to rush into that area to do us damage or die trying is a bushstupid idea. Why in the world would they not go somewhere else where they could do damage and more damage and get away alive. Huh?

The only passage to the US homeland has to be booked from the landlocked land of Afgan? If an attack on the US is to be plotted it has to come from a cave in Afgan? Is that the international law of terrorism?
It’s the same bullcrap excuse for invasion as the ‘domino theory’ promoted by the same feeble minds that got us mired in that endless usless war in Nahm.

We have to ‘succeed’, we have to have ‘victory’ we have to ‘win’—-all bullcrap of old replayed. But in defence of those slogans they do put food on the table of the munitions makers and a few yachts in the pool. True, a few have to die but that’s why we have ‘right to lifers’.

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By Bucky5, December 15, 2009 at 11:23 am Link to this comment

Re: ROBINHOODSTFRANCIS

You mention Justice Brandeis and Greider’s contention that great concentration of wealth and democracy cannot co-exist. Indeed and amen!! The first person to shine light on this flaw in our nation’s structure was Alexis deTocquville. His 1835 tome, Democracy in America, is a great read and most instructive. But I digress.

What I really want to do is ask all posters here to answer a few questions. (Believe me, I don’t know the answers.) To wit:

What is wrong with bringing our troops home now? Obviously, ramifications for the local peoples may be gruesome; but will they be any less so if we continue doing what we’re doing? Can an outside force change the region’s future or must that change come from those living there and affected by a theocracy?

If we brought all troops home now, military expenditures should drop dramatically. Couldn’t we use some of that money to monitor—and contain or eliminate—any serious threats to the US from anti-American organizations worldwide? Monitoring and containment should require only a fraction of the resources now devoted to war. No doubt we also could use some of that money to address minor domestic issues ranging from healthcare to energy.

Why, specifically, are we mucking about “over there”? (Note: no need to provide the obvious answers about war profiteering and distracting the American public from focusing on real issues.) If we can’t define why we’re there, how do we know when we’ve accomplished our mission and when to come home?

Finally, when and how are those of us who collectively spend vast amounts of time in academic arguments going to get organized and take responsibility for some of this mess ourselves? This country was founded by a few hundred men and women who could be defined only as extreme radicals; so radical they were willing to be imprisoned, tortured, fight and die for a mere chance to express their ideas. In contrast, we sit here pecking away at computers and perhaps attending the odd protest or two—in a “Free Speech Zone” surrounded by chain link fencing. When are we going to organize, start a viable third party and stop trying to work within a system that is openly hostile to the majority of Americans? I don’t have the answers but I’d sure love to hear some ideas.

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By ardee, December 15, 2009 at 4:13 am Link to this comment

Sepharad notes:
In Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the Taliban has done things (outside of the realm of their war against the West) to deliberately terrorize people into their narrow definition of what constitutes a good Islamic life—throwing acid into childrens’ faces on their way to school, for example. This is not the reason we are there and is not the reason Obama gave for more troops, but is worth noting. (Not sure that “more” troops will work unless they are as highly trained as special ops and culturally adept).

I wonder if you would note specific instances of the Taliban’s “war against the west” of which you assume almost in passing, yet base a case
(however subliminal) for our presence there upon such.

Yes indeed, when in power in Afghanistan, the Taliban committed atrocities against their own people in some fanatical interpretation of the Koran. But that would be an internal matter for Afghanis to deal with and not a reason to occupy that nation.

Yes indeed, while in power, the Taliban harbored AlQaeda, allowed training camps as well, yet stated that they acted only as host in accord with their religious views. Further, and despite the refusal of many here to accept it, they did indeed offer up bin Laden for trial, an action now condemned as insincere yet, as it was not accepted, we will never really know.

The fact remains that the Taliban has never showed anything but local interests, has never perpetrated any attacks on other than their own regional interests, thus making your rather casual statement seem slanted, biased and needlessly on the side of invasion.

As the most passionate defender of Israel here I wonder if you see American military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq in the light of what is best for Israel rather than what is just, legal or even necessary.

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By robinhoodstfrancis, December 14, 2009 at 11:01 pm Link to this comment

I wanted to comment on FilmDog’s post below.  I agree that Obama would need cojones, to reach into his guts and all the honey of his erudite words to the truths of MLK, Jr and other activists for peace. 
    Many conspiracy theorists concoct elaborate schemes of Bush and Republican control which have rich foundations in truth, but then are lost by exaggeration and denying the truth of Islamic militant extremists.
    Still, vigilant self-defense does not need to end by reigning in military adventurism and de facto genocide.  By having the courage to bring the troops home soon, Obama and the military could maintain the same levels of vigilance at home, and perhaps as necessary abroad.
    More fundamentally, he would need to build economic democracy here, on the topic alluded to in one or more posts below.  Major intensity for military extremism is economic inequality and concentration of power and de facto authority.  Like Justice Brandeis said, Democracy and great concentrated wealth can’t coexist.  William Greider’s book, The Soul of Capitalism, illuminates that topic in grand fashion, with some fine compass points towards the solution.
    Eisenhower referred to the military-industrial complex, and Obama rushed in where angel’s fear to tread.  Roosevelt was called a “traitor to his class.”  That’s the kind of spirit that’s necessary, and I think Dennis Kucinich is one who has that level of commitment.  Ultimately, the corporations need to be reined in to let integrity hold sway, and that means consumer purchasing power and social entrepreneurship.  Political votes are clearly just brush strokes on a canvas of stone.  We need a real canvas of economic democracy with green businesses like at Green America and the Rev Billy.

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By Nozomi, December 14, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What is the imminent threat that Afghanistan posed ever in the past or could ever pose in the future? No one has ever articulated what it is that how could anyone there ever threaten us. So Obama is simply continuing a lie, nothing different than Bush! Defense of Obama is based on complete brainwashing. This is no different than Vietnam.

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By Sepharad, December 14, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Re Robert’s (that is RobertinWestbury’s) post Dec. 12, 7:25pm—I agree with most of what you say, though “collateral damage” should always be a more major concern than it seems to be, i.e. military strategists should try as hard to avoid it as they try to achieve their objective. Of course “avoiding” is much harder when the other side sees martyrdom as a good thing and human shields as a good military/public relations option—but I don’t think that this is generally the case in Afghanistan. Another minor point: the objective of “terrorism” is to terrorize, frighten or cow a population—distinct from military attacks against military arsenals, weaponry systems, combat soldiers or paramilitaries or militants or fighters exclusively. Anyone deliberately putting their own civilians at risk by proximity or any other way, virtually make collateral damage inevitable, so whether they’re on the offense or defense it becomes “terrorism”.

In Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the Taliban has done things (outside of the realm of their war against the West) to deliberately terrorize people into their narrow definition of what constitutes a good Islamic life—throwing acid into childrens’ faces on their way to school, for example. This is not the reason we are there and is not the reason Obama gave for more troops, but is worth noting. (Not sure that “more” troops will work unless they are as highly trained as special ops and culturally adept).

Drones and airstrikes are only as efective as the intelligence that calls them in, and are more likely to kill bystanders, relatives and innocents in the vicinity of the bad guys. But even soldiers on the ground sometimes shoot the wrong people in the chaos of war. And asymmetric war also involves collateral damage on the asymmetrics’ side—i.e.d.s, suicide attacks in crowded bazaars and squares, etc.—in addition to executing civilians whom they believe have helped the other side.

Posters on this thread are truly all over the place, from someone suggesting that civilian lives lost are not a consideration to many who condemn Obama for his decision, which he made after doing everything possible to inform himself of the realities. So I might as well throw in an idea offered today by an Iranian-American woman I know. She says she’s disgusted with her acquaintances, also Iranian, being just as critical of Obama as they were of Bush, and not understanding America’s place in the big picture, which to her goes back as far as the Marshall Plan and which she believes is the real America being more constructive than destructive and far from colonial as other Euro powers were. She’s not a fool, is a left-liberal and politically active, knows how we’ve screwed up in Vietnam, in Chile, etc. but believes that on balance we’ve been better for the world as a whole than all the past and present big powers put together. (She may be right, though “big power” usually leads to abused power, and as there’s only one U.S. we may indeed have been less damaging than the combination of the former and present imperialsts.) Anyway hers is not a view embraced by other leftists so I thought it worth including for its uniqueness and possibly encourage a discussion rather than argument.

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By bluesky, December 14, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

Drivel written by a shill replete with the tell-tale unnamed sources and unspecified “real and serious threats”.  Why does truthdig publish this?  An 8th grader should get a D- for it.

Obama spoke of “just” wars, but his Afghanistan-Pakistan war isn’t even just by the standards he mentioned in his own Nobel speech.  Isn’t that worthy of noting, Mr. Robinson?

If a war is not just it is murder.  Murdering and justifying murder while quoting Martin Luther King is not only absurd but scandalous.  Doesn’t Mr. Robinson see anything wrong with a President who has quoted King numerous times, now declaring him useful only as a North Star guide, but not good enough to consider when making “real” decisions.  In other words, rendering Martin Luther King’s message utterly meaningless?

Obama has often quoted King’s “the fierce urgency of now”, but chooses to forget the context within which King spoke it “We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation…. history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate….’Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil…’. We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now.”

Obama hasn’t “accepted” his fate, he’s created it with “the surge”.

For my further opinion,  just re-read Thebeermaker, Cole, Hank from Nebraska, earthwirehead, Samson, john from ojai,  jazzcreature,  lichen, Ivan Hentschel– thanks guys!

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By Inherit The Wind, December 14, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

mandinka, December 14 at 11:14 pm #

Inherit ally isn’t a god, Mohammad was a child molester and would have been put in jail if he was around today. Having a “wife” that is 6 years old is just SICK.
As for the commandment, the folks living working and eating with terriers get what happens to them. They have a choice to make and unfortunately for them when you lie dwon with dogs you get fleas.
As for Iraq and afghanistan being 2 different countries SO??? What difference does that make? They both have similar mentalities and harbor terrorists and are suffering the same fate

**********************************************

You are an ignorant bigot who has NO understanding of other peoples or cultures.

It’s not “ally”, but it’s Allah, and it IS God—the same god phony “Christians” like you, honest Christians, and Jews alike all pray to.  Moslems pray to the same God and even worship Jesus and Mary, as well as Abraham. 

Your phony stories about Mohammed, which you clearly got off other bigoted web sites are BS, but in your ignorant confusion, you can’t seem to keep Allah, who is God, straight from Mohammed, who is His last and greatest prophet according to Muslims (I’m not Muslim, BTW).  According to Muslims, His second greatest and next-to-last prophet is…your Jesus Christ.

Saying Afghanistan and Iraq are the same is like saying Canada and Mexico are the same—and just as ridiculous.  Would you say a tortilla with jalapenos and a Canadian flap-jack with maple syrup are the same, or that English and Spanish are the same, or that Catholics and Protestants are all the same?

But why do I bother? Your the morally bankrupt who says “kill ‘em all and let God sort it out”.

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By mandinka, December 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm Link to this comment

Inherit ally isn’t a god, Mohammad was a child molester and would have been put in jail if he was around today. Having a “wife” that is 6 years old is just SICK.
As for the commandment, the folks living working and eating with terriers get what happens to them. They have a choice to make and unfortunately for them when you lie dwon with dogs you get fleas.
As for Iraq and afghanistan being 2 different countries SO??? What difference does that make? They both have similar mentalities and harbor terrorists and are suffering the same fate

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By Sepharad, December 14, 2009 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

RobertinWestbury,

Thanks for explaining. On another thread, a coherent, reasoned opinion from “Robert” shocked me so much that I began my post “I can’t believe that you and I actually agree on anything!” Even more surprising was that “Robert” would write anything originally his. Welcome to TD—your input is definitely needed.

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By jean Gerard, December 14, 2009 at 4:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The mindless notion to “let God or Allah sort it out” represents the hopes?
beliefs? frustrations? of many, many people here in this country.  What it really
means is one of several retreats:  “I don’t know enough to understand the
problems.”  Or, “I don’t want to know enough because then I would have to
adopt a viewpoint, take a stand pro or con or in between, and—most difficult
—I might have to do something about it.

Essentially, that is what religions seem to be aiming at—to disempower, to
demobilize, to discourage as many people as possible from taking intelligent
political action.  To leave it all up to some God somewhere, though there is no
proof that any God anywhere is even halfway interested in what goes on here.’

So if you want to NOT do anything to help shape American society, if you want
to avoid being responsible, to avoid finding out as much as you can, and then
doing something, if you are afraid to risk being wrong or getting your name
written down in a little black book—

Then let the Guys Upstairs “sort it all out” and just “think good thoughts” while
you are waiting to see the results.

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By jean Gerard, December 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Contrasting the “world as we would like it to be” with the “world as it is” is a
very weak rationale for war if you think war makes the world closer to “the way
we would like it to be.”  War produces worlds that are farther from what we
would “like” than before they started.  No world was every improved by war.  WE
just want to think so because to face the fact is too uncomfortable and requires
a huge change in thinking.

Every war leaves the locality where it is fought much, much worse off—and
usually complete recovery and repair never occurs, no matter how much
“Marshall Plan” goes into the rebuilding.  And more often than not there is no
Marshall Plan.

In contrast,, war leaves the country with the most, biggest, nastiest military
establishment with more power if they win—partly because that country had
more resources to start with, and also often because that country conquers
valuable resources and takes them over for its benefit.  To have more military
power or resources is not necessarily to “win.” Power can be a great burden,
especially if it is stolen.

The winner comes out of every war with a guilty sense of having caused many
unnecessary deaths and having “punished” people no more “guilty” than
himself.  I myself have never known a veteran who was either proud of what he
did or glad he fought.  Many are marked for life by guilt and regret. Many
question whether they should have got involved in such a dirty business.

Besides, there is always that nagging question left in the end:  What would
have happened if we had not gone to war?  Perhaps there was a better way>? 
Or at least a less destructive way?  Or . . . . ‘?

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By Inherit The Wind, December 14, 2009 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

mandinka, December 14 at 1:05 am #

I agree there is no international law and what happens in afghanistan and Iraq is justified. Losing just 1 GI and saving thousands of the muslims in that country is ludicrous. Let god or allay sort it out in heaven as to who was a terrorist and who wasn’t
************************************************

The creed of the ignorant and morally bankrupt! It’s easy to say “Kill ‘em all and let God sort it out.”

I guess you missed that religious commandment “You shall not murder.”  Because when you blithely kill regardless of guilt or innocence, that’s what you are doing.

And, if your God exists, do you REALLY believe He’s going to give you a “pass” for having done that?  Maybe your God will sort YOU out after your time here is over!

Other points:
Iraq and Afghanistan are not one country—they are two, separate, with different ethnic groups, language and climate.

It’s not “god or allay”, but “God or Allah”—who are the same deity—“Allah” is simply the Arabic phrase for “God” (I believe it actually translates as “The One” or “The Lord”).

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By Inherit The Wind, December 14, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment

RobertinWestbury, December 14 at 4:18 am #

“The other posts mainly articles and op-ed pieces written by other people—and posts them in full—and detests the very air I breathe.”

Apparently so.  On my home computer I am RobertinWestbury.  At work I am Robert.  I only signed up at work a week ago.  I don’t copy op-ed pieces from other people.  And I don’t detest the air anyone breathes…
****************************************************

I can’t decide if I’m relieved or disappointed! (LOL!)

I couldn’t imagine how “Robert” got so logical and rational…I guess he didn’t—it’s RobertinWestbury who is.

Pleased to meet you!

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By RobertinWestbury, December 14, 2009 at 12:18 am Link to this comment

“The other posts mainly articles and op-ed pieces written by other people—and posts them in full—and detests the very air I breathe.”

Apparently so.  On my home computer I am RobertinWestbury.  At work I am Robert.  I only signed up at work a week ago.  I don’t copy op-ed pieces from other people.  And I don’t detest the air anyone breathes…

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By Thrashertm, December 13, 2009 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

Don’t blame me. I voted for Ron Paul.

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By thebeerdoctor, December 13, 2009 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

I still recall how Rep. Ron Paul was vilified, when he asked, if someone is attacking you, wouldn’t you want to know why?

President Obama’s assertion that blowing up Afghanistan is a war of a necessity is a ridiculous lie that only the most die-hard supporters can apply their pretzel logic to justify. It is similar to France being shocked (absolutely shocked!) that Algerian militants are wanting to make Paris something less than the city of lights.

In the propaganda narrative of pro-war rhetoric, history does not actually exist. President Obama with all of his media marketing skills still has some people clicking on his latest e-mails believing he is actually talking to them. A brilliant Internet tool that served him well during his campaign, complete with that personal touch of using the first names of his contributors, which became a money sucking engine disguised to be a populist movement.

Fake populism is being trotted out in full force these days. The military machine needs war boots on the ground and President Obama is going to deliver the goods, which explains much of the jive given out in Oslo. The audacity of Obama to even mention Martin Luther King Jr. as he escalates the hellfire disaster of the AfPak war is beyond obscene. But perhaps the President feels, like Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, that he is engaged in “God’s work”.

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By mandinka, December 13, 2009 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

I agree there is no international law and what happens in afghanistan and Iraq is justified. Losing just 1 GI and saving thousands of the muslims in that country is ludicrous. Let god or allay sort it out in heaven as to who was a terrorist and who wasn’t

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By FilmDog, December 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm Link to this comment

Yes, Obama is a terrible disappointment. What the President failed to mention in his speech, and what Gene Robinson didn’t bring up, is that given the present circumstances, a leader would need cast iron cojones to discontinue the war.

Clearly, Mr. Obama is not equipped in this fashion. “Why?”, you ask. That is, why would it take extraordinary courage to discontinue the war? Because ANY serious terrorist attack on the U.S. following the cessation of military involvement that is perceived to be aimed at reducing terrorist activity would be attributed by a large part of the public to that cessation.

In other words, the whole decision-making matrix really boils down to one factor, and that factor is Psychological, not Military or Economic.  While I’m sure that the other issues raised in this set of comments have some validity, they don’t weigh as heavily on a bureaucrat’s mind as the simple need to avoid BLAME. Just put yourself in Obama’s shoes for a moment and consider the possibility that some pack of maniacs who might be connected with Middle-eastern terrorists pull off a significant and shocking attack on American soil. Whether the attack had anything to do with reductions in military force would matter not at all in the average voter’s mind.

We all know the joke about the fellow who kept a sign in his New York City apartment that said “May this house be safe from tigers”, and when asked why he had such a sign he of course replied that the absence of tigers in his apartment was proof of the sign’s effectiveness.

In the case of the facts with which Mr.Obama is dealing, the likelihood of a significant terrorist strike may be much greater than the risk of a tiger attack on Park Avenue. I say MAY be greater because I just don’t know. But I FEEL that terrorism is more real and more in need of warding-off than are tigers in a U.S. metro area.

This country is doing many things that are aimed at defending us from a certain type of destructive zealot. Such activity in itself makes me more aware (and afraid) of what may be a very remote possibility. Given the level of fear that many citizens feel, given that we’ve been primed to feel that a terrorist attack is the absolute worst thing that could happen to this country, worse even than natural catastrophes such as hurricanes that can wipe out whole cities, can any leader suggest backing away from ANY defensive effort, no matter how useless it might actually be.

You can expect the President to pull troops out of “the war on terror” when airport security officials start saying “Oh no, don’t take off your shoes; the one guy who tried to set his shoe on fire while on board an airplane, which started this whole routine, didn’t succeed, and furthermore…he was an idiot!”

Sorry, Gene, but I don’t think our very bright and clever young President is doing any better than the most ordinary corporate exec, most of whom accomplish nothing brilliant but spend most of their energy protecting their asses.

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By Cole..., December 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think that you cannot deny Obama is intellegent, he has the acedemic achievements to prove it—-bush on the other hand was deep into booze and coc in his college days and most likely earned ‘c’ grades by the aid of standins and 50 bucks in the blue book. every time bush opened his mouth the stupid rolled out.

You can wonder, I know I do, how someone who is intellegent can follow in the footsteps of
leader-stupid. You can wonder, as I do, how Obama the intellegent could spend so much time considering war options and still come up with a travesty of the choice he came to. War is ok because man has been making war on man since the dawn of time? What happened to the voiced realization that we have to be doing something different? Was that not an integral part of ‘hope and change’?

Obama took a long time to make this announcement and I cannot help but feel he took all that time to formulate the feeble muck of an explanation—to find just the right works to sell sh****t. And it is the same sh****t that bush the stupider blurted out without having to think.

Yes Obama is intellegent but what the hell good is that?

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By Inherit The Wind, December 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment

Well, are there two posters called “Robert”?

One posts here and seems reasonable, even if I don’t agree with him.

The other posts mainly articles and op-ed pieces written by other people—and posts them in full—and detests the very air I breathe.

Are these two separate people using the same handle?

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By starfish, December 13, 2009 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

I disagree that Obama is so intelligent; I think he’s about average for an American president.

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By Quinty, December 13, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

One thing no American president will admit to is the folly of past American
foreign policy. That would take too much craw to swallow. And no president
will ever question basic US good intents. When we consider South America
today, to cite one area, we forget our long sordid history, which history explains
much about current events and relations.

The US has bungled time and time again throughout the last century and began
this century with perhaps the biggest bungle of all. Bush 43’s Iraq war.

The US was isolationist during the rise of fascism in Europe.

The US believed the Soviet Union was behind all international Communist
movements, including Vietnam. And when John Foster Dulles became Secretary
of State the US became increasingly hawkish. This was a time of red scares and
McCarthyism, let’s not forget.

Then, skipping over our mistakes in Yugoslavia, the Gulf Wars came along. Was
there anything related to idealism in that first war? Perhaps the second war was
actually more idealistic, since a conviction of American moral superiority appears to
have influenced top decision making. A belief in proper American hegemony.

But is that something to be proud of?

I don’t think Obama’s speech was as thoughtful and as good as many claim. He
dealt with some basic issues of war and peace in the abstract, saying nothing
new or insightful. Collectively as a nation we are, I think, in a state of deep
hangover following 8 years of Bush. The Bush years being a time of giddiness
which the far Christian right is desperately fighting to maintain. Obama is
intelligent, level headed, charismatically brilliant. Something we are not
accustomed to at this time.

Of course, if Obama fails, we may go back to the far Christian right. Obama is
a deliberative man, who takes his time. Let’s hope he has chosen wisely.

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By jean Gerard, December 13, 2009 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People who defend the US going to war against Afghanistan, and then against
Iraq, on the grounds that we had to do it because we were attacked, and that
makes it a “just” war are leaning on a thin stick.  If I remember correctly,
millions of people all over the world were in the streets of a number of
countries, saying NO WAR!  NO WAR!  etc. but Bush/Cheney paid absolutely no
attention to it.

Millions of people everywhere knew that to attack Afghanistan with the high-
powered weaponry of the modern US war establishment (read Pentagon-
weapons producers-hawks-right wingers-anti-UNers-Fox-Armageddonists et
al) was a mistake,and that warlords, insurgents, suicide bombers and fanatics
can’t be dissuaded by tanks, bunkerbusters, helicopters, drones, bombers,
shock-and-awe etc. etc. ad nauseum. Who are we fooling?  They will hide out
in caves, disappear into villages, ride off into the sunset, take it easy in a tent
somewhere and wait it out.  Probably even the Pentagon knows this too (though
I hate to think so) but they have to test their new stuff, train their recruits,
collect their salaries etc. etc.

It appears at this late date that war is as much about jobs at home as it is
about domination of resources or land abroad.  If their are no jobs for young
people in the US and people in Afghanistan, (and there aren’t) then what else is
there to do but set them to fighting each other to keep them busy, make them
feel like they are doing something worthwhile —and get rid of some of them
in the process.

“Just war” my eye!  It’s a business.  The proof?  Why does it serve to stimulate
the economy from time to time?  Why is there so very little effort made to avoid
it or prevent it?  Why are there labs inventing new stuff all the time, bigger,
better, more dangerous, more unforgiving?  Why is there all this hype about
how heroic, how patriotic it is when everybody knows it is a murderous non-
solution that, once it’s started, takes on a life of its own and goes on and on
and on, killing old men, women and children who happen to be “in the wrong
place.”  ???

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By lichen, December 13, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

Yes, bombing poor muslim civilian villages and houses, killing the humans of Afganistan who have a right to life and national sovereignty is murder, and ordering others to do so and/or doing it yourself qualifies as both murder and war crimes. There is international law, and it needs to be enforced; the ignorant, arrogant neocon delusion that they are somehow allowed to kill a single Afgani needs to be crushed.

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By Bucky5, December 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

With apologies for going slightly off topic…  Earlier in this thread are several posts chastising us for displays of intellectual prowess, but not turning our energies into meaningful action. That—specific actions we might all take—could be the subject of a rather long post. Indeed, perhaps it should be. In the interim, let’s remember there ARE people out there putting their money and bodies where their mouths are. Whether you agree with her or not, one of the most irksome persons fully committed to peace (thus now ignored by the MSM) penned some interesting words recently about Obama’s speech in Oslo; words very different than Mr. Robinson’s pabalum. Worth two minutes to read if only for another perspective.

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com/2009/12/i-am-charity.html

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By starfish, December 13, 2009 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment

It would be nice if I could believe Obama’s surge in Afghanistan is about (1) our national security, or (2) world peace ... but I can’t.

This is ALL about Obama’s re-election in 2012 and his “legacy.”

Nothing else.

Whatever Obama does, it is in his own self-interest.

Yes, American soldiers will die for Obama’s ego needs.

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By NABNYC, December 13, 2009 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

We cannot argue that anyone who pursues war in modern times is doing so out of a moral conviction that war is the best way to serve humanity, or that the world will be better from the prosecution of war against some group of people.  There is simply too much evidence available for any of us to believe that there is any legitimate reason to start a war against another country. 

To defend ones own country against war started by another country is a different question altogether.  We all believe in the right to defend ourselves when a war is started against us. 

It does not help our analysis of wars conducted by our country to confuse (1) the need to defend against war with (2) the intentional decision to unilaterally start a war against another country.  The middle east are wars of aggression started by the U.S. 

We have gangs of drug-runners from Mexico who are killing people inside the U.S., but our government does not use those incidents as an excuse to bomb the villages in Mexico, to blow up their children, to send in tanks and overthrow their government, occupy their lands, steal their resources.  But that is exactly what the U.S. is doing in the middle east.

Let’s not forget that Cheney met the major oil corporation leaders in secret in March of 2001, and they went over the maps of Iraq’s oil fields in that meeting.  The purpose of the meeting (Cheney fought to keep the notes secret) may reasonably be inferred from the attendees and the materials reviewed.  They were liagreeing in advance how they would divvy up the oil among themselves after Bush and Cheney started a war against Iraq based upon manufactured claims. The U.S. is militarily occupying Iraq for the sole purpose of supporting the western oil corporations in stealing Iraq’s oil.

Should we believe there is some different, higher, purer, God-directed motive for the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan?  There was no war declared against the U.S. on 9/11, no troops marched in, no tanks crossed our borders.  There were 4 hijackings by men mostly from Saudi Arabia, a terrible crime, but more like the Mexican gang violence and criminal enterprise than like Pearl Harbor.  The U.S. had no legitimate reason to invade Afghanistan.  But assuming we did, and the purpose was to drive out al Queda, that has now been accomplished.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the U.S. is planning to stay in Afghanistan to support the oil corporations in building and operating the piplines they have wanted to run across that nation for decades.

Obama’s secret thoughts or historical viewpoint are irrelevant.  He is following the same course set by Bush and Cheney, escalating their wars.  We should oppose him in doing so.  The fact that he seems like a nice guy is irrelevant to the continued murder and war crimes being committed in Afghanistan by this country.  I see no reason to assume Obama’s motives are pure.  He’s not so stupid that he does not understand this is all about oil.  It always has been.

I also don’t even believe Obama is really in charge.  The leadership of the Democratic party are the people who control the bribes paid to the Democratic politicians, the people with the connections to the big donors.  Bill and Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Rahm Emanuel.  They run the party.  I don’t think Obama does anything without getting their approval. 

Maybe we should just refer to President Rahm, and be done with it. Every single done by Obama is consistent with Emanuel’s love of Wall Street, love of middle east wars, and desire to become president in 7 years.  Why do you think they called him Wall Street’s favorite politician?  He represents Wall Street , the big money boys, and was well compensated for his services. 

Emanuel was a Clinton insider and did not even support Obama, so how did he get his job?  How about Hillary?  Somebody else selected these people.  Obama is just another pretty face. And these wars are international war crimes.

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By Siloam48, December 13, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

What soldier wants to die for a July/2011 deadline & not victory?  It’s insane to ask our soldiers to risk their lives knowing that everyone is going to be pulled out.  No one wants to die for a deadline.

I agree, pull the troops out now.  I served in “Enduring Freedom” & I say to all that no country has ever conquered Afghanistan.  The war is destroying our economy & no Afghanistan has ever attacked America.  We need a congress that will not send out soldiers into war without a declaration of war. 

Now, we have Americans joining the Taliban & we all know that, what goes around comes around.  These ‘freedom fighters’ will return to America with their revolutionary ideas & we’ll end up having American soldiers fighting within our country.

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By JimBob, December 13, 2009 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

The surge will buy Obama time to let the economy grow stronger before he slows down the military factories and brings home a couple hundred thousand soldiers looking for jobs.  It’s about the economy, not about security.

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By Cole..., December 13, 2009 at 10:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no ‘international law’.
Not if no one,i.e. no ‘leader’, is held accountable for what sure seems like he voided it. And is followed by another who won’t look back and looks foreward to a continued voiding of the consept of ‘international law’.

The Iraq invasion was based on lies and is illegal and immoral—how do you win that!? How do you count
‘success’ without changing the meaning of illegal and immoral—and lies?

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By Virginia777, December 13, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

lichen: oh yeah, Obama is a “murderer and a war criminal” - oh and while we are at it, let me add a comment I found on Fox Nation this morning describing Obama:

THE BLACK MUSLIM IS A SOCIALIST AGENT, CODE NAME FOREIGNER

but you know what, lichen? your assessment would find great audience there also

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By Robert, December 13, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Robert actually posts a DEFENSE of Obama’s speech and presents it using his own words, not someone else’s…..I’m not sure if I agree with him or not—but I’m really happy to see him actually post something all his own and really, really thoughtful.”

You must have me confused with someone else.  A point I almost made on another thread where you stated you couldn’t believe you were agreeing with me on something. 

All of my opinions that I post are comprised of my own thoughts.

I’ve posted opinons on three articles only.  One you were shocked you agreed with. And on this one you are happy my thoughts are my own.  ???? 

Robert is a pretty common name.

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By lichen, December 12, 2009 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

No, murdering civilians is illegal under international law; it is a war crime, Obama is a murderer and a war criminal, and should be prosecuted; and moreso the former, because there is no “war” only an equally illegal invasion and occupation that destroys the lives of the Afgan people, who collectively own their country, united.

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By mandinka, December 12, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

lichen “murder is murder” that’s right but collateral damage is the cost of war and while its tragic its a fact of life. The afganies have an opportunity to take up arms and rid themselves of their muslim oppressors. But they prefer to live and support this scum so if they lose their lives that was their choice

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By starfish, December 12, 2009 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Actually, at the Democratic debate on Jan. 15, 2008, Obama said he had a plan to get the troops out of Iraq by the end of 2009. (He said this to win votes on Super Tuesday, which was just days away. It worked for him. Soon, though, after winning Super Tuesday primaries, Obama backed off and said he’d get the troops out in 16 months. The phony “plan” had worked for him.)

Here’s the link:  http://tinyurl.com/67nhtg

And here’s the quote:

OBAMA:  “I have put forward a plan that will get our troops out [of Iraq] BY THE END OF 2009.”

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By lichen, December 12, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

I wonder what Charles Manson “really thought” about the Tate family?  Murder is murder, and when you kill the human civilian peaseants of Afganistan and Pakistan, you are committing murder and should be brought to the Hague (Obama and Clinton, Mcchrystal…) to be tried for murder and war crimes. You are scum. 

The rich and powerfull, the leaders of the most rich and powerfull nations on the planet are responsible for their actions, especailly when they live in right wing calvinist nations polluted by the privitized prison industry that does not give a damn why regular people do what they do.

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By Inherit The Wind, December 12, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

What a crazy thread!
Robert actually posts a DEFENSE of Obama’s speech and presents it using his own words, not someone else’s.

I’m not sure if I agree with him or not—but I’m really happy to see him actually post something all his own and really, really thoughtful.

I’m not happy with Obama’s choice, but I at least respect him for making that choice after trying to get all the facts and nunances.

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By mandinka, December 12, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

we’ll see if barak can keep a single commitment he is running out of time in Iraq, he said ALL troops were to leave in 16 months.he’s down to 5 months and counting time is running out and so far no withdrawals

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By Go Right Young Man, December 12, 2009 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

I have yet to see anyone point out how the president speaks today in ways never before in his documented lifetime.

Not in his described college years.  Not in his books.  Not in the State Legislature or the U.S. Senate.  Not even in his two years running for president.  In both deeds and words Mr. Obama has in many ways, some quiet dramatic, changed since taking office.  We can each take from that what we will.

I would say the man has been briefed on how the world works. 

The president alone decides his course after weighing his options. Mr. Robinson is correct in one thing.  Presidents and Kings are often left with all bad choices.  Few on earth can fully appreciate being in the position of having, literally, no choice but to make decisions in which you know well someone will die.  Or when twenty will die to save three or ten-thousand.

-

The Patriot Act, domestic surveillance, military tribunals, “enhanced (torturous) interrogations, indefinite detention, rendition, attacks inside sovereign nations (never directly attacking the United States), and unilateral military action.  Each of these tools have been endorsed by the new president.

Interesting in this context.  On this particular Web site.  Where all of the above was once proof positive of a “Neo-Con” Cabal in the White House.

Now the term Neo (New) conservative can be used in it’s true definition.  The irony in this is glaring, yes?

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By Virginia777, December 12, 2009 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

Exactly, jean gerard, Where is the Institute for the Study of War as a Social Disease?

where is it??

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By Norbie7, December 12, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Anaman: what Nixon would have done was to have gone to West Point and made cynical use of the cadets.

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By Juanito, December 12, 2009 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Each weekday I ride in a vanpool which travels 90 miles roundtrip to an air force base.

Certain members of the vanpool are involved in managing and interpreting data relayed from the war zone by satellite. Real-time data sourced by the automated vultures floating above the Mideast.

I hear of fatigue, of image specialists falling victim to images which they’re assigned to interpret.

Everyone riding these weekdays express disdain for what went before, for messeurs Cheney and his puppet, infamously nicknamed ‘Shrub’ by Ms. Ivins.

Otherwise, they prattle about what they sit and observe every night on television. It’s all a soap opera, folks. In this case, said interpreters do not wish to talk of blood and gore. Style and appearances are all of what is appropriate for discussion. Any moral dimension is out of question (hint: they loved Hillary last year). To talk of blood invites rebuke, snide admonitions to ‘get real.’

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By Robert, December 12, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“....and Afghanistan casualties exceed by vast numbers those of us who died on that fateful day.”

Whether or not the war should be continued or abandoned is not, and should not, be determined on which side has lost the most people.  Rather that determination must be made on whether or not a threat still exists from those based there.  The ones who plotted and planned the 9/11 tragedy. 

Obama has made the right decision as far as I’m concerned. 

“You may seek to obfuscate this issue, succumb to a testosterone driven urge to slaughter folks to no good conclusion, but others here choose reason and logic.”

A rather juevenile argument, if you could even call it an argument.  Hormones have nothing to do with looking at the situation rationally and determining whether or not a threat still exists.  There are plenty of female leaders and readers who can fully support the President’s agenda in Afghanistan without much testosterone. 

And finally I’ll respond to one last statement made by you:

“You may seek to ....slaughter folks to no good conclusion, but others here choose reason and logic.”

Reason and logic?  How about emotion?  You want to abandon the effort due to innocents being killed.  And in another 5 or 7 years when they blow up the White House or the Lincoln tunnel you’ll whine about how we didn’t finish the job when we needed to.  So would most everyone else.  THAT is the basis for reason and logic. 

It’s unfortunate that in war innocent people get killed.  But it’s a fact of life.  Nobody has said it better than President Obama did in Norway, so there’s no need for me to try and convince you of the logic.  If you don’t see it, you never will.

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By starfish, December 12, 2009 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

There is nothing “humanitarian” about our invasion and eight-year long and ongoing occupation of Afghanistan.

When we leave—and we surely WILL leave, someday—the Taliban will just roll back in and punish anyone who cooperated with the Americans, copied the values of the Americans, did business with the Americans, or tried to do anything (during the American occupation) that the Taliban does not approve of.

So, why are we there?

The AlQaeda guys will just stay over the border in Pakistan until we leave. The Taliban guys will just chill out until we leave.

And then, everything in Afghanistan will be as it was before we ever got there.

We are there for a reason but it has zero to do with helping the people of Afghanistan and everything to do with our own national self-interest.

So, I just wish Eugene and his idol (Obama) would stop trying to sugar-coat the escalation and occupation.

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By john crandell, December 12, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

The Taliban are citizens of Afghanistan, Mr. Obama.

What if a president McCain or Ronald Reagan had decided to invade Russia to wipe out it’s communist citizenry? Essentially, that is what LBJ did in Vietnam in 1965, sent American combat personnel into a foreign country to subdue an idea, an ideology. Now, we persist in an eight year invasion which essentially combats a religion, a religious sect.

The Taliban did not attack America. Extremist elements of al Queda, Saudi citizens all, staged the events of 9/11. Blow-back, pure and simple.

Neo-Con thinking, which first emerged in Chicago, persists in Washington, in the Oval Office specifically.

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By anaman51, December 12, 2009 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

Okay, let’s see if I’ve got this straight; Obama will bring the troops home…by sending more troops. Sounds like something Nixon would have done.

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By ardee, December 12, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Ouroborus, December 12 at 11:46 am

If we are screwed its got nothing to do with any god. I will never, ever lose my faith in our Constitution, our Democracy and our ability to right a sinking ship.

Maybe a few bodies hanging from lampposts will be necessary, but I fervently hope not.

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By Howie Bledsoe, December 12, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THis is interesting. On the one hand, the media cannot get enough of reminding us that Afganistan is “the graveyard of nations” and on the other hand seems hell-bend on destroying our nation. Are they trying to tell us something?
Also, Eugene, you are truly losing it. Your recent stories are unclear, random stumblings that dance around issues and leave me wondering what you are getting paid for. Hey, I need a job, let me write for you, and I´ll give you half the money.

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By Ouroborus, December 12, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

ardee, December 12 at 11:40 am #
Ouroborus, December 12 at 11:39 am

Perhaps because there is nothing of substance to
report. Of course this, in and of itself, is
newsworthy.
=======================================
Precisely; that is exactly what is newsworthy.
God, we be screwed!!!

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By ardee, December 12, 2009 at 7:40 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus, December 12 at 11:39 am

Perhaps because there is nothing of substance to report. Of course this, in and of itself, is newsworthy.

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By Ouroborus, December 12, 2009 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Sorry;
but where the goddamn fucking hell is Copenhagen and
the climate change shit? There is no thread about this!
Why not????
This is major shit regarding our very existence!
Why is there no thread about this?
TD, what’s the deal?????

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By Outraged, December 12, 2009 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

Re: Samson

Your comment: “Outraged said “we all hate war”.  That’s not exactly true.”

Cherry pickin’ are ya’?  Here’s what I ACTUALLY SAID, ” We all hate war (at least all cognizant people do) but to claim erroneously that everyone who is killed in war is killed by soldiers is myth.”

Are you from Door County…?  A part of “some” fraternal order….?

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By ardee, December 12, 2009 at 3:32 am Link to this comment

And how would Afghan territory benefit us?  Could it possible be that from this territory was planned an attach that murdered over 2000 innocent men, women and children on 9/11?  Could it be that from this territory and next door Pakistan lives the same people who will plan another 9/11 on us if we fail? 

Well, Robert, it was actually 2819 folks that died on 9/11, an event that was planned in Spain and Germany, and the training for which took place chiefly in Florida, and Afghanistan casualties exceed by vast numbers those of us who died on that fateful day.

You may seek to obfuscate this issue, succumb to a testosterone driven urge to slaughter folks to no good conclusion, but others here choose reason and logic. That process shows plainly that what we do by intervening militarily is to drive people towards extremism rather than away from it.

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By MarthaA, December 12, 2009 at 1:46 am Link to this comment

President Obama needs to make certain the Afghan Government has a Code of Military Justice and abides by that code, otherwise our endeavors in Afghanistan to raise up an army for Afghanistan’s defense is an impossible task, as the following video clip expresses:

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/748.html

If there is no Code of Military Justice in Afghanistan by their government for the Afghan Military for punishment for the above type of actions, then it is a waste of time trying to train Afghan soldiers, and the USA should leave. If peace is the goal, peace can not be obtained without the Afghan Government’s help so that American troops will never be subjected to having to raise an army out of only the worthless of the Afghan nation.

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By john from ojai, December 12, 2009 at 12:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’ve not heard one “boots on the ground” journalist say that Afghanistan can be won. Corruption and an ineffective Afghan military can not compete against a Taliban that are motivated to throw out occupiers and receive a daily pay check. Instead of sending military we should pay people to not join the Taliban. Paying Sunis not to fight the U.S. in Iraq was probably the most effective thing we did there. John Perkins said that he never met a person inclined to terrorism that wasn’t motivated by economic desperation. We’d get more peace for less cost by initiating a global Marshall Plan on poverty.
    Obama has lied about following the Geneva conventions. He is giving U.S. military and monetary aid to Israel to illegally blockade the people of Gaza. Collective punishment of civilians is a war crime according to the 4th Geneva Convention.

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By LostHills, December 11, 2009 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who believes that there is any threat to the United States from Afghanistan
is flat out looneytoon bonkers.  Obama is not sending more troops there to
protect us. It’s all a global chess game over who is going to control the last
dwindling supplies of oil. Obama, like Bush before him, believes that is worth the
lives of your children. The same money he’s spending on the war could be used to
develop renewable energy and no one would die. But the corporate profiteers
want oil and they want war. That’s who Obama works for. You won’t see him
negotiating in Copenhagen. War is money….

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By jazzcreature, December 11, 2009 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Drone bombing to get rid of terrorists - great concept. Maybe Italy could bomb itself to get rid of the Mafia. England could bomb the infrastructure of Ireland to get rid of the I.R.A.The U.S. could bomb the South to get rid of the Ku Klux Klan. Everyone likes to call Afghanistan the ‘just war’ when it would have made a lot more sense to use black ops and intelligence work to get a few terrorists.( Why can no one ever say it was political knee jerk revenge executed poorly with devastating results for all concerned except for the original ‘targets’ ?) If Timothy McVeigh had escaped to Canada would we have bombed that country if they were unable to ‘produce’ him on demand. Read a copy of Howard Zinn`s A PEOPLE`S HISTORY of the UNITED STATES and find the ‘just’ wars , if you can. We think our propaganda is fact. Read this book if you dare to face what isn`t in our school history courses.

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By jean Gerard, December 11, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The only reason war can be “justified on humanitarian grounds” is because the
early stages of disagreement and/or injustice were not acknowledge and
treated BEFORE they became so untreatable that war had become “justifiable.” 
That is, we did nothing to prevent it, and so now we have to fight it.

As in:  “The reason the fire burned the house down was that nobody stopped
the fire before it broke out (prevention”) or poured water on it when it was
small (timely discovery and appropriate intercession).  The analogy has flaws,
but overall, it works to point up the value of early intercession and avoidance. 
It’s also a principle that most of us have experienced in our everyday lives, so
not as out of reach as it appears.  It’s just weak from lack of exercise.

Exercising it requires first of all that we stop thinking of wars as “justifiable” or
“just,” and start treating problems and injustices early while they are still
“treatable.”  Just like diseases. In fact, where is the PhD in the “epidemiology of
war”?  Where is the Institute for the Study of War as a Social Disease?

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By Sepharad, December 11, 2009 at 5:28 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, hi yourself! & how are you doing these days?
I’m sort of OK—have not gotten over my daughter’s death but getting more used to it. Have many conversations with her in my head, if that doesn’t sound too crazy (even it does that’s what I do, when I’m reading something she’d have an opinion on, see something she’d appreciate, like that). Wonder what she would think of Obama about now—hard to say, though usually we’d argue about things like crazy until we realized that at bottom we were agreeing with each other.

Left Friday before Thanksgiving and returned Sunday after, annual vacation—husband never can take one unless things are really slow (i.e. Thanksgiving week and between Christmas and New Years), and he still checks email and makes calls when gone, but this year we went to Eastern Europe looking for good riding possibilies (pure fantasy; will never be able to do it but he just wanted to see if there was something real at basis of fantasy). In Hungary, definitely yes. Lots of open land and the people are as strange as we are. Nowhere else—Warsaw is like Chicago, a city on a roll, and Poland is as full of suburbs as Illinois. Got into Ukraine by mistake and spent overnight in car at the border as it’s harder to get out than in. Husband insisted we go to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where my grandma’s family went to the gas, and it was a life-changer. Scary to see and touch remnants of all that concentrated evil, but made me more ardent supporter of Israel on one hand but more determined to fight its current rightwing government and the religious crazies trying to get more leverage. Israel is a small country of less significance than the US, but what is happening there still has to be reversed, so will spend more time working with peace party Meretz. Also think Obama needs to be tougher with Netanyahu: Tzipi Livni is tough and fighting hard, but a few conditions on American support would go a long way to making Bibi more careful of Palestinian lives and rights.     

I was proud of O’s Nobel speech. First thing that makes me not regret voting for him.

Haven’t heard or read of McCrystal being responsible for war crimes, but would like to know what you’ve read about him. I know special ops guys are tough, but have thought that smaller and more competent is better than a whole semi-trained battalion—as you said, if you have a hammer everything looks like a nail.

Temperature has been hovering in the ‘20s this week; horses like it though, even if they have to kick through the ice on the trough.

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By rylly, December 11, 2009 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Robinson has become increasingly unintelligible since he won his Pulitzer.  Or was that the reason he got it in the first place?  Obfuscate?  Win here!  He dances around the issue like he can’t find his two left feet anymore.
This article fudged and fidgeted around and said basically nothing…again.
Frankly, I wish he would go to an allergist and get his perpetual post-nasal problem taken care of if he is going to speak in public, it’s beyond annoying.

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By KDelphi, December 11, 2009 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad—How are you?

My point entirely—we have enough of our own problems…and we’d best take care of them..the GOP will take back majority in 2010, so the Dems “historical victory” is just about done for.

Alot of people believed that Obama was an “anti-war’ candidate, despite his obvious pronouncements that Afghanistan was a “good” war…until people realize that neo-liberals are the real hawks, we wil have a back and forth of the duopoly and nothing will get done for US citizens.

True, many neo-cons say that they dont like war for financial reaons..but the result is what matters (or mattered) to the dead…people are dying in the streets here…we just have no business doing this.

Hasnt nation building proven a disaster for the uS? Western Europe likes these policies so much, they shoudl follow them…domestic policies too…

McChrystal was one of many mistakes…he is a war criminal in many peoples’ opinions.

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By Sepharad, December 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

What’s the matter with everyone? What is it about “no good option” that you don’t understand?

Robinson isn’t making excuses for Obama; in fact none need making.

For a long time I’ve wondered whether I hadn’t really blown my vote, casting it for Obama—the bailouts and bonuses in a deep and nasty recession, the non-universal non-mandatory in fact not-really-happening health reform—but when I read his Nobel speech I realized that I’d voted for someone who was able to not just “look at” but to study up on, to research, all the possibilities, and try to set what is the best possible course on any given issue for this country to take.

I hate war, not just declared official war fought by soldiers but fighting, bashing, killing, sniping, torturing, humiliating, raping, starving, terrorizing, brainwashing ... of anyone, by anyone, for anyone. And sometimes soldiers have to be deployed to stop all of this horrendous BS that happens every day in non-declared unofficial asymmetric upside-down and sideways wars. Especially sectarian/religious-based warfare. I don’t know if McCrystal’s “protect the people” while going after the true bad guys is going to work or not, especially in Afghanistan, where every invader or would-be conqueror since Alexander the Great has foundered, but I do understand that the ethnically Pashto Taliban consider both sides of the Afghani-Pakistan border as home territory and if it is true that there are individuals and groups in that Pashto-Urdu area planning terrorist attacks or destablizing already unstable Pakistan with its nuclear tech, something needs to be done, though I don’t see why the U.S. alone has to do it. That we got into this position in the first place because we are still addicted to oil is maddening, infuriating, but really beside the point. It is what it is.

Would anyone here be happier if Obama had spoken all nice, comfortable, peace-aspirational platitudes then come home and begin deploying 30,000 more American soldiers to prevent anymore 9/11s or London bus-bombings or Spanish train-bombings, to serve as target practice for those maniacs who throw acid in kids’ faces for going to school, whose parents expose them because they see a need for education? I would be happier if our soldiers didn’t need to go, especially my son-in-law. He knows we aren’t going there to try to change the way Afghan people live their lives; in the long run, the Afghan people themselves are going to have to decide if they want Taliban know-nothings hate-everything-especially-women to define their society, or whether they are willing to forever tolerate corrupt warlords (such as Hamid Karzai). We’re mostly there to stop future attacks on Americans and our allies, to keep nuclear technology and weaponry from becoming the property of non-state-actors. Doing these things are part of Obama’s job description, and even I, skeptical of every politician just because he/she is a politician, know that he hates this part of the job.

I suspect some Euros—especially the head of Norway’s populist people’s party who sniped at Obama for not having sufficient respect for the KING, for gosh sakes—would feel better if we would do what they did, fight, stay, and stay, and stay. But we never did really colonize anywhere we’ve ever been, and besides the U.S. has more than enough problems in our own 49 states. Not up for empirehood at this late date.

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By KDelphi, December 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Smudge-“Are both the Conservative and Liberal press factions equally blinded by their dogma? Or is it simply a case of, “I know he’s a bastard, but at least he’s My Bastard!”

-yes, in a word. They are neo-liberal apoliogists vs neo-conservative apologists…the results are the same, in almost every case.

But they feel your pain, while pouring money into wars and Wall St and “feel really bad” about civilians..

A narrated hisotry of war is neither necessary nor helpful and is merely intellectualizing away others’ deaths. It makes it worse, in fact..

Samson is right—“we” hate war?? We sure as hell propagate alot of it for a “peaceful” people…but all we have left is a military..and when you hace only a hammer everything looks like a nail…scary to think what the middle class will do when all these poor and working class guys come home to no house, no jobs, nothing..hey, maybe thats what theyre avoiding….they can always get5 out of cleaning up their own mess…their maids did it for them in kindergarten, while the working classes had to learn to clean up after them…sadly, the only way to get poor and working class people to do this shit is to keep them that way…..presto.

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By Robert, December 11, 2009 at 2:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My god you people are all blinded by illogical ideology. 

Obama’s speech was brilliant and the arguments he made are sound. 

Paul asked, amazingly…
“Precisely what kind of “just war” is the American State fighting in Afghanistan? It’s a war for empire—an unjust war, clad in the rags of a “just” war.”

Empire eh?  And how would Afghan territory benefit us?  Could it possible be that from this territory was planned an attach that murdered over 2000 innocent men, women and children on 9/11?  Could it be that from this territory and next door Pakistan lives the same people who will plan another 9/11 on us if we fail? 

Nobody likes war.  But the president is right that it is necessary sometimes.  Iraq was never necessary, but Afghanistan is.

He made the right decision. 

Reading all the nonsense you people are spouting is truly disheartening.  He is just evil incarnate to you.  And it is obvious to anyone without an agenda that he is just trying to make the best decisions. 

If he ended the war and another 9/11 occurred, most of you would jump on the bandwagon of how irresponsible he was to let the threat fester. 

Like the looloos on the right, the looloos on the left are irrational.  My family thinks I’m a leftist because I am quite socialistic in my thinking.  But I’m not so caught up in ideology that I can’t accept sound reasoning. 

Someone here said he refused to read or listen to Obama’s speech. 

It shows..

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By Smudge Martens, December 11, 2009 at 1:30 pm Link to this comment

Obviously almost all of the comments to this piece attack both Obama and Gene Robinson. We know that Obama is and always has been beholding to the Establishment and the Military Industrial Complex. And most of us are not surprised that the “Change You Can Believe In” is nothing more than “Stay the Course.”

My puzzlement is why are Gene Robinson, Keith Olbermann,Rachel Maddow, et al Obama apologists in an identical manner that Fox News is for Bush.

Are both the Conservative and Liberal press factions equally blinded by their dogma? Or is it simply a case of, “I know he’s a bastard, but at least he’s My Bastard!”

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By jean Gerard, December 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One problem is that we see ourselves in Obama and we know that he has caved to
money and power just as we ourselves have been caving to money and power for a
very long time.  It took us 10 years of caving over Vietnam to get that war
stopped which, if we had used our power to organize in the beginning, we might
have prevented. 

What sucks us in every time is thesame old basic mistaken idea:  That war is
“just” as a “last resort.”  But the fact that we accept it as “justifiable” prevents us
from trying all the other “resorts” and we jump to that “last resort” every time
because it’s easy, people make a lot of money off of it, and it’s the line of least
resistance.  Stupid us!  Lazy us!  Expedient us!  Destructive us!  Fundamentally it’s
about us, not Obama.

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By starfish, December 11, 2009 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Why is what Obama said any different from what George W. Bush said?

Bush said we invaded and occupied Afghanistan to make the world more secure.

Obama said basically the same thing.

I’ll bet that when the very young Eugene Robinson saw a pile of horse manure, he looked around to see where his gift pony was.

Here’s a clue, Eugene, there is no pony ... there’s only the horse manure.

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By 7up, December 11, 2009 at 12:53 pm Link to this comment

Another fluff piece for Obama.  Why is TD publishing it?

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By tropicgirl, December 11, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hopeychange is nothing but a clown. A balloon hoaxer, a party crasher. A
complete and total embarrassment, from his ignorant wife to his C student
children.

He’s a child-killer, a woman-raper, a legless soldier-maker, a torturer and a
torturer-protector, a goony spy, and a liar.

He’s a Wall Street worshipper and a Tiger-type personality. Its all about him, 
his “date nights”, his image, his utter fake-ness.

But I have news for him. When Washington and Wall Street get done with him,
and they will, believe me, they will wipe the floor clean with him and his
repulsive gang will slither away to the next victim.

I pray for the day to come sooner rather than later. No one deserves it more, in
my opinion.

Because of cheap people like Hopey the Clown and Gene Robinson, no one
respects the Pulitzer OR the Nobel. We see them for what they are. Just like
Bush’s medals of honor…. worthless.

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By Cole..., December 11, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“We all hate war”, he said—he forgot to say “But we all love the profit war brings us”—not that we all share in those profits, but the munitions makers do. And if they love war so sould we-that’s called patriotism.

It would have been more honest of Obama to have ‘looked back’ at how we got in this mess, and to have laid the cold hard facts out for all to see, and know who and how. He could have said, “This is the root and these are the planters, and we have to now make a choice of tending their thorny plants or leave them” and he could have added that “He could not accept the Nobel at this time, hold it and when actual Peace comes he would like to revisit this award”.

Nope, Obama chose to adopt the bushmob model of making ‘War in the Name of Peace’ and simplifing it into ‘War is Peace’ and walking away with his prize in the ill=fitting bushshoes as crampy as they may be.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, December 11, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

The traditional Nobel Peace Prize lecture, given every year at Oslo’s modernist City Hall, does not usually include such words as: “I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed.”

But not you, Obama.  You won’t die.  You will get your three squares a day, shoot hoops, squirrel away your secret profits in offshore banks, stand in front of the mirror with your chin up practicing yet another phony and supposedly uplifting speech, squirrel away your secret profits in offshore banks, go to state dinners, drink fine wine and generally act like the murdering, thieving, lying yuppie that you are. Have a nice day.  We all know that you will.

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By Samson, December 11, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

Outraged said “we all hate war”.  That’s not exactly true.

The Senate Dems voted to authorize the war in Afghanistan by unanimous vote. The House voted with only Barbara Lee saying no.

On Iraq, large majorities of the Democrats voted in favor of war.

The Democrats have voted yes on every supplemental war funding bill.

The Democrats have voted yes for every bloated Pentagon budget with little or no attempt to even reduce the waste.

The Democrats did this both while in the minority and in the majority.  Since taking the majority of the Congress, the Democrats have made sure that the war funding is never challenged.

And now that we’ve got a Democratic President, we’ve see two escalations in a year of the war in Afghanistan, an expansion of that war into Pakistan.  The continuation of the Iraq war without any change.  And the constant continuation of the threats to start a war with Iran.

Outraged says ‘we all hate war’. But, clearly, the Democrats disagree.  The Democrats clearly love war and support anything that gives us more and more war.

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By Samson, December 11, 2009 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Lets boil this down to one sentence.

What Obama really thinks about the ‘surge’ is that he ordered it to occur.

Democratic propagandists can try to dance around that and try to spin it any which way they can, but that’s the real truth. Obama wants this to happen. Obama gave the order.

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By Samson, December 11, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

earthwirehead said about Robinson

“no more objective than the loons at Fox News, just from a different perspective.”

Sorry, but its from the same perspective.  They are both on the same side of telling us that we need to escalate these wars.  Maybe they wrap it up in different lies and deceptions, but both are clearly on the same side and pursuing the same objectives.

The different perspective, the one that wants peace, is equally banned from Faux News, CNN, the WaPo and Obama’s White House.

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By Samson, December 11, 2009 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

The Democrats propagandists want to try to perpetuate this myth of the kind progressive Obama.

But its getting harder and harder to do so.At some point, you have to judge the man on his actions.  Obama says lots of nice words, but then his actions betray them.

In this case though, its gotten even worse. Obama now has the gall to go to the Nobel Peace Prize committee and give a speech justifying war.  Now, even Obama’s words have gotten obnoxious.  He’s promoting more war, death, destruction, detention and torture to the people who hand out peace prizes.  Obama is taking Bush’s awful policy, and now he’s doubled-down on it not once but twice in his first year in office.

So, the Democratic propagandists drop back to the next line of bs.  Now we are told that there’s this private Obama who didn’t want to do this.

What nonsense. Obama’s the most powerful person on earth. He can do pretty much whatever he wants to do.  If Obama is escalating the Afghan-Pakistan wars, its because he wants to do so.

The only good sign is that fewer and fewer people are believing this nonsense.  The real key will be to see whether they start organizing independent anti-war candidates in the 2010 elections.

If people want ‘Change’, that’s how to do it. Because its surely clear by now that Obama won’t deliver ‘Change’.  Or that the ‘Change’ he delivers is for the worse, like with all the dead bodies Obama is going to create by escalating these wars.  Now, that’s Obama’s change that you can really believe in.

Start organizing locally. Organize independent anti-war campaigns in the 2010 elections.  Especially target the closest races where you can best make the Democrats feel the pain of an angry left.

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By MarthaA, December 11, 2009 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Did President Obama consider this?

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/748.html

Or, could it be because 30 is the Pentagon’s “Magic Number” for killed Afghans in their drone attacks and Afghan’s consider democracy at the point of an occupation force gun is a farce:

http://airamerica.com/news/12-10-2009/us-fudging-casualty-numbers-afghanistan/

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By cann4ing, December 11, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment

Obama as agent for the military industrial complex.  See “Beyond Afghanistan:  Applying the Lessons of ‘Beyond Vietnam.’

http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7476

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