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Why Obama’s Strategy Won’t Succeed

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Posted on Dec 3, 2009
U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Stephen J. Otero

By Eugene Robinson

President Obama should have declared victory in Afghanistan and begun a withdrawal. His escalation of the war may achieve its goals, but at too great a cost—and without making our nation meaningfully safer from the threat of terrorist attacks.

I hope I’m wrong. But my fundamental question about Obama’s approach was illustrated Thursday by events far from the war zone: In Mogadishu, Somalia, a suicide bomber infiltrated a university graduation ceremony and killed at least 19 people, including three ministers of the Somali government.

I use the term Somali government ironically, because there hasn’t really been one since 1991. A long-running, multisided battle for control among heavily armed clans and warlords remains unresolved. The most important recent development in the civil war has been the emergence of a religious-based insurgency, al-Shabab, which now controls a large swath of the country—and which was immediately suspected in Thursday’s bombing.

Where have we seen this movie before?

No, Somalia isn’t a carbon copy of Afghanistan. But it shares the distinction of being a failed state where the ideology of violent, fundamentalist Islam has taken hold and the technique of suicide “martyrdom” attacks is proving effective.

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I doubt that Obama’s “extended surge” of 30,000 additional U.S. troops will be successful on its own terms, but let’s assume that it is. According to senior White House officials, this would mean that U.S. and allied forces are able to “degrade” the Taliban to the point where it poses no threat of taking power in Kabul and no longer controls substantial areas of the countryside.

These benchmarks have to be met, the White House says, so that it’s impossible for al-Qaida to return to Afghanistan, establish a base of operations and plan new attacks against the United States and other targets.

My belief is that if the Taliban begins losing ground, many of its fighters will just melt back into the population and bide their time until the president’s July 2011 deadline arrives. At that point, will the Afghan military really be able to stand alone against even a latent Taliban threat? If not, Obama’s deadline will be meaningless and U.S. forces will be stuck in Afghanistan, in large numbers, for the foreseeable future.

But even if the surge works, why wouldn’t al-Qaida—or some like-minded group—simply set up shop in Somalia? Or in Yemen, another failing state? Or in some other wretched corner of the world where central government authority is weak and resentment of the West’s dominant power is high?

Afghanistan happened to be Osama bin Laden’s choice for a headquarters, but he and his top aides were driven out of the country shortly after the U.S. invasion. Al-Qaida is believed to be based in Pakistan now, with the freedom of movement of its leadership severely restricted. The Pakistani government’s obvious reluctance to finish the job is problematic, but I think it’s likely that someday a missile from a Predator drone will find its mark.

The problem is that al-Qaida’s murderous philosophy, which is the real enemy, has no physical base. It can erupt anywhere—even, perhaps, on a heavily guarded U.S. Army post in the middle of Texas.

Look at what’s necessary for the surge in Afghanistan to succeed. President Hamid Karzai has to forswear corruption—which will require more than a stern lecture from Obama. The Afghan military not only has to be trained to fight, but also must expand from its current strength of 92,000 soldiers to as many as 260,000—a level that Karzai’s weak, cash-strapped government could scarcely afford. And a nation known as the “graveyard of empires” for its legendary resistance to foreign occupation would have to experience a sudden change of heart.

In the end—even if conditions in July 2011 are such that Obama can order a real withdrawal, not a token one—the larger threat of terrorism will remain. The “drain the swamp” approach to fighting terrorism doesn’t work if the virulence can simply infect the next swamp, and the next.

It never made sense to think of the fight against terrorism as a “war” because it’s not possible to defeat a technique or an idea by force of arms. George W. Bush chose a path toward a more or less permanent state of costly, deadly, low-level war. Barack Obama should have taken a different course.

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


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By liecatcher, December 9, 2009 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

To Muscleboy, December 9 at 8:31 pm

You made your case very well. Bush 3 did a bait &
switch once the election was over. He never was or will
be part of the solution because he is the problem. For
folks who still don’t get it, you must look at what he
has done & not what he says. Giving Bernanke carte
blanche to steal trillions of dollars with arrogance &
impunity & no accountability should convince anyone
that he is part of the criminal cabal.

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By Muscleboy, December 9, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

P0ltergeist—You’re wrong on every account.  Al Qaeda is and always has been a creation of and a friend of the US and UK intelligence services There is no such thing as some anti-US global conspiracy of Arabs.  That is completely fabricated by the Israeli/neocon lie machine.

Obama made no such promise to finish the war in Afghanistan certainly occupying the country and employing the most vicious colonization policies imaginable—even worse than Bush by a substantial measure. If Obama told anything close the the truth he WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ELECTED—anything close to what he has done since taking office.  He has done nothing but CONTINUE BUSH AND CHENEY practices INCLUDING TORTURE AND RENDITION and has INCREASED the use of DRONES which have been proven to kill OVER 98 percent non combatant civilians. He is a mass murderer and is destroying the US economy faster than Bush could have dreamed.

OBAMA LIED TO US!  He is a stooge of banking (Nomi Prins, as a journalist for Bloomberg, unveiled how, since Obama took office, the FED has stolen over 17.5 TRILLION and given it to banks completely unaccounted for.)  http://nomiprins.com

All Obama does is TALK ABOUT THINGS. He puts on a show while actually supporting and doing the opposite of what he says. He has continued all of the very worst practices of Bush.  He is a monster. He claims to support health care reform but his actions across the board have been to undermine health care reform.  We now could end up with legislation that actually does more to maintain the status quo than undo it.

I fought for Mr. Obama with everything I could and I was wrong to have done so.  I fought for him because he said he was against things like drone attacks and going over international borders with our military forces and using military to solve problems than could be solved best by other means.  He said military had always to be the last resort.  He explicitly said he wanted to use diplomacy even with the poor Pashtun peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan which he is now slaughtering and torturing at far worse levels than Bush. 

THERE ARE NO AL QAEDA!! YOU ARE BRAINWASHED!!!

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By P0ltergeist, December 9, 2009 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

Mestizo Warrior,
Yes, if anyone didn’t already know what went down in Tora Bora, they should know now after the recent report. I believe that report alone indicates a continued willingness by Obama and the congress to acknowledge past mistakes and move forward. I believe that lumping Afghanistan and Iraq together is specious and disingenuous regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are speaking from. Al Qaeda and Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, and the Taliban voluntarily harbored them. The world acknowledged this, which is why we had an actual coalition in Afghanistan. I believe a large percentage of Afghani people, especially those in the more populated areas, were glad to see the Taliban go. While Bush was in office and doing a half-assed job at best in Afghanistan, the people probably did develop a negative opinion. We made little or no attempts to use our soft power, and disregarded the needs and desires of the people. Obama’s plan is an enormous shift in policy, and I believe we can convince the Afghani people that we are acting in their interests. Hearts and minds, brother. Hearts and minds. If we are not the ones who should be modeling Democracy, who will take our place? And while I agree that the ‘War on Terror’ was a joke, we still need to address the very real danger. Or do you suggest that the first WTC bombing and the USS Cole bombing didn’t happen, or were staged? Or maybe you are suggesting that Pakistan as a whole is not a danger, and that strategic access through Afghanistan would not help us with overt or covert action? I can see why you and I, and by the end, most everybody did not trust the Bush administration. They gave us innumerable reasons. I still have yet to see one valid reason to question Obama or his motivations and resolve in this matter.

Sorry to all for my previous double post.

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By johncp, December 8, 2009 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

LIECATCHER
I with you there.  Huffington was in the front lines, carrying a blazing torch for Obama, helping him get elected, and she’s not going to stop carrying that torch.  It’s hard for me to believe she didn’t have some good inside info on Obama, and knew what he’d “turn into,” because she knew what he was.

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By liecatcher, December 8, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

@johncp, December 8 at 7:09 pm

Hey johncp:
That’s why I stopped writing @ HuffPo. Too many of my

anti Obama blogs were rejected, especially when I used

the term Obamageddon.

Report this

By johncp, December 8, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

It’s right there in front of you, 8 out of 10 pieces coming from Truthdig and Salon writers, are pro-Obama, as if nothing the posters to these two chatlists were saying, should give anyone a different impression.  That’s the reality of the news media, perceived as over or under ground.  If 80 out of 100 of the people that post on these lists, have come to understand that someone they had love for, has come to reveal himself as a scoundrel, it will have little or no effect on the editorials run by the owners of those chatlists.  They allow us to rant on as we wish, but if they have instructions to treat Obama with kid gloves, or as if he’s truly the Messiah, that’s what we’ll get.

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By Mestizo Warrior, December 8, 2009 at 7:48 am Link to this comment

Poltergeist;
The war “against terror” is as phoney as Bush’s “weapons of mass destruction.” Neither the war in Iraq or Afghanistan has gained us any leverage with Al Qaeda and/or other Muslim extremists!

It has been documented that Afghan mercenaries were within 25 miles of Osama Bin Laden, but were told by our esteemed governmental leaders to BACK OFF! You can disbelieve the conspiracy theories all that you wish, however the fact is that Bush and Bin Laden were and continue to be partners in crime!

The other fact is we will not win the conflicts in either Afghanistan or Iraq! We have no business in these countries, the people do not want us there and our government certainly is not one to be modeling democracy!

Obama has failed to come across in healthcare reform, Employee Free Choice Act, bringing Bush, et al to justice, bringing closure to both wars. He has continued the Bush legacy in bailing out non-deserving corporations at our expense! So much for change!

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By P0ltergeist, December 8, 2009 at 12:12 am Link to this comment

First off, let me state unequivocally that I was against the war in Iraq, to the point of sending multiple letters to all my elected representatives and several newspapers. I have seen many of my former ideological allies go off the deep end concerning Afghanistan… almost as many as went insane during the primaries.
    First, let me address the many misconceptions. No, Obama did not promise to end war in Afghanistan, he promised to finish it. Regardless of whatever conspiracy theories you may or may not believe, Al Qeada are enemies of America, they were made stronger by the war in Iraq and our loss of credibility, and need to be dealt with using both hard and soft power. The Taliban are allies of Al Qaeda, and if they come back into power, they WILL allow Al Qaeda to operate in their territories, which WILL result in greater danger for America and the rest of the world.
    It seems like no-one truly heard Obama’s speech or bothered to consider the implication of his words regarding his plans for Afghanistan. The plan, as I understand it, is to pull back from trying to defend pointless pieces of rocks in the mountains, to the population centers where we can make an honest attempt to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Afghani people by helping them learn to help themselves on a local level. This means building/rebuilding roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and a decentralized security force. This increased presence, and hopefully greater support by the Afghani people will help us to take power away from Karzi while putting both ourselves and the Afghani people in a position to ensure the next election better reflects the Afghani people’s wishes. Once the population centers are stabilized, and with the world and the Afghani people behind us, we can much more effectively deal with what’s left of the Taliban, as well as Al Qaeda and Pakistan. If we don’t do this, then we leave Afghanistan in an even worse situation than we left them after we propped the Mujahideen up to fight the Russians and then just left their country in a shambles. This is doing the hard work now. Is it guaranteed to work? No. But it is the best option available to us. It is all to easy to just complain about an existing administration regardless of who’s in power. Comparing Obama to Bush is just ridiculous to me. If people on both sides of the political spectrum took a hard, thorough, objective look at the situation, I believe they’d see that Obama is doing all the right things for all the right reasons, and I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt here. If your position is that we shouldn’t ever apply any power around the world, regardless of the situation, we will not likely find common ground.

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By P0ltergeist, December 8, 2009 at 12:10 am Link to this comment

First off, let me state unequivocally that I was against the war in Iraq, to the point of sending multiple letters to all my elected representatives and several newspapers. I have seen many of my former ideological allies go off the deep end concerning Afghanistan… almost as many as went insane during the primaries.
    First, let me address the many misconceptions. No, Obama did not promise to end war in Afghanistan, he promised to finish it. Regardless of whatever conspiracy theories you may or may not believe, Al Qeada are enemies of America, they were made stronger by the war in Iraq and our loss of credibility, and need to be dealt with using both hard and soft power. The Taliban are allies of Al Qaeda, and if they come back into power, they WILL allow Al Qaeda to operate in their territories, which WILL result in greater danger for America and the rest of the world.
    It seems like no-one truly heard Obama’s speech or bothered to consider the implication of his words regarding his plans for Afghanistan. The plan, as I understand it, is to pull back from trying to defend pointless pieces of rocks in the mountains, to the population centers where we can make an honest attempt to win the hearts and minds of the majority of Afghani people by helping them learn to help themselves on a local level. This means building/rebuilding roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, and a decentralized security force. This increased presence, and hopefully greater support by the Afghani people will help us to take power away from Karzi while putting both ourselves and the Afghani people in a position to ensure the next election better reflects the Afghani people’s wishes. Once the population centers are stabilized, and with the world and the Afghani people behind us, we can much more effectively deal with what’s left of the Taliban, as well as Al Qaeda and Pakistan. If we don’t do this, then we leave Afghanistan in an even worse situation than we left them after we propped the Mujahideen up to fight the Russians and then just left their country in a shambles. This is doing the hard work now. Is it guaranteed to work? No. But it is the best option available to us. It is all too easy to just complain about an existing administration regardless of who’s in power. Comparing Obama to Bush is just ridiculous to me. If people on both sides of the political spectrum took a hard, thorough, objective look at the situation,(like Obama did) I believe they’d see that Obama is doing all the right things for all the right reasons, and I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt here. If your position is that we shouldn’t ever apply any power around the world, regardless of the situation, we will not likely find common ground.

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By anaman51, December 7, 2009 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment

Doesn’t anyone else find the timing of the proposed return of the troops from Afghanistan to be suspect? It happens to coincide with the next Presidential election. Obama will be able to announce that he’s bringing the troops home at a time when it will provide the most credible political fodder for the press. He will appear to be the great man who brought our military home from war, just in time for the votes to be cast.

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By montanawildhack, December 7, 2009 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

It’s not Oil, It’s Israel….

The fact is we get a small fraction of our oil out of the mid east….

And why do we send the oil from Alaska to Japan????

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By SamSnedegar, December 7, 2009 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Oh, fiddlesticks . . the reason we went to and stay in Afghanistan is to guard our oil pipeline from the Caspian production area . . .

That’s oil, folks.

To be sure, we don’t want terrorists or anyone else messing with our Afghan oil, but no one wants to own up to all the deaths over OIL.

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By montanawildhack, December 7, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

john crandell,,,

Thank you!!!  I had to vent my spleen after watching the Sunday morning “news” shows…

These dual loyalists “debating” our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan is enough to make you upchuck your oatmeal..

For example….. David Gregory of Meet the Press asking Bob Woodword and Tom Friedman about Iraq and Afghanistan….  Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s like the Fox* asking his fellow Foxes about the missing hens in the Chicken Coop…..

*all foxes in above analogy just happen to be Jewish

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By liecatcher, December 7, 2009 at 3:26 am Link to this comment

@Muscleboy, December 7 at 4:43 am
Hey Muscleboy:
No need to call me sir, I’m just a common person
doing the best I can in an evil world.
Dealing with the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL CONSPIRACY will
take some time. However, dealing with the MEDICAL
INSURANCE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIAL CONSPIRACY,MIPIC,
won’t take as long.First Google “Medical system is
leading cause of death and injury in US” to see how
these criminals are killing over one million of “us”,
we the people, every year. It will take only a few
minutes & will be the most important time you’ve ever
spent. http://nomiprins.com  is an excellent site,
thanks.
In addition to the Jim Hightower book nomiprins
mentioned, two others that I’ve read are:

Robbing Us Blind: The Return of the Bush Gang and the
Mugging of America (Paperback)
~ Steve Brouwer (Author), Matt Wuerker (Illustrator)
2004

Thieves in High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country
and It’s Time to Take It Back by Jim Hightower
(Paperback - Jun 29, 2004)

I’ll get back to you with some specific things “we”
can do to fight back against the predators-“them”.
GBY
liecatcher

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By Muscleboy, December 7, 2009 at 12:43 am Link to this comment

Hi Sir Liecatcher,

Well I think the odds are quite different than you seem to think. 

The odds are overwhelmingly against the status quo.

We must know the truth and stop repeating the lies. We are good people, we are what makes this country great.  They are savages, criminals of the very worst sort, made wealthy and powerful by the worst kinds of misdeeds.

They are the real threat. The real men and women behind the curtain. They are the terrorists.

They’ve tricked us into going along with the lies even to the point of pinning flags to our cars, and turning our fine brothers and sisters over for slaughter, for some time. 

Many people were blind to the truth.  Some still are.  The first thing we must do is discuss and halt all lies, stop thinking it’s ok to repeat the lies of 9/11.  The lies of 9/11 are the only ground upon which treasonous traitors like Bush and Obama stand.  We must know the truth and soak ourselves in it.  We must be proud of what our country really is and will yet be despite the hijacking of a very few low life criminals.  Not elites but scum.  It is an act of treason to support them.

I don’t advocate violence but we should know that they are killing us.  They are at war with us.  They are stealing vast sums of money from us and leaving us with nothing.  We could have had a brand new house with entire lifetimes of payments for property taxes and utilities for every family in the USA for what Obama has spent through the Federal Reserve, completely unaccounted for.  We would have had enough left over to rebuild the USA and covert wholly over to alternative energy and a well funded single payer medical system.  http://nomiprins.com  for one good site.

There is well founded scientific evidence that mere human thought can and does change physical reality even of common events.  Random coin tosses have been proven to be impacted substantially by human thought with a very high degree of certainty.

Beyond that, engagement and dialogue is the foundation of real physical events.  We must connect.

If you say we shouldn’t talk about these things which you conclude are unstoppable, unalterable, etc, than you are also colluding with these things which are clearly very fragile and ultimately self destructive. And of course I know you don’t support them in any sense.  I just see it all too often. 

My point is, if you don’t do everything you can you are indirectly aiding those who are doing the wrong.  If all you can do or even if only one of the things you can do is communicate with others, you are serving the cause of saving our nation and the world from otherwise certain destruction.  Even if you aren’t a young man in Afghanistan, forced there by the crooks hijacking our country, pretend you are. Close your eyes and pretend you are. Or pretend you are a man that has lost his family due to a drone attack.  Drone attacks have killed over 98 percent completely non-combative civilians.  This is a matter of proven fact.

Remote controlled airplanes that are sent over international borders, remotely controlled from bases inside the USA, sent over international borders to slaughtered masses of people wholesale. That is the very definition of nightmarish terror.

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By liecatcher, December 6, 2009 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Why Obama’s Strategy Won’t Succeed Posted on Dec 3,
2009 By Eugene Robinson

@Muscleboy, December 6 at 7:32 pm

Hey Muscleboy:
When you said:

  “The fact is quit clear, Osama Bin Laden had
nothing to do with 9/11.
9/11 was an orchestrated event designed to impact
the people like a “new Pearl Harbor”.
They murder our own people.  There is ample evidence
that JFK junior also was murdered
to prevent him from competing against the pre-
determined Bush-neocon administration.”

You are 100% correct.

However, when you said: “The only answer is to end
the two party hoodlum organization
that pretends to offer real choice and open our
system up to a parliamentary multiparty system.”

That’s like saying the way to get rid of crime is to
do away with the Mafia, or we can stop lung
cancer by outlawing tobacco sales, alcoholism with
prohibition.

All we can do is pray while they prey.

We can’t just call the exterminator to get rid of
these parasites.

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By Muscleboy, December 6, 2009 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

The USA has a wealth of super-genius.  We have far more people with IQ’s over 150 than any other country in the world.  This wealth can translate into unending supplies of super-clean and all natural replacements for oil and natural gas(although we have a huge supply of our own natural gas also- a very clean energy).

We don’t need imported oil.  Our need for imported oil is generated by a crooked core of politicians that continue to uphold the interests of big oil.  Even Al Gore himself betrayed his projected image by saying emphatically that there was no way we could be off of imported oil in the next 10 or even 20 years.  He is a softer version of Bush on this issue.  He would bring us more clean and natural energy but no where near enough to end big oil’s grip on our resources.

Big oil costs us much more of our wealth that it is worth.  just by manufacturing battery powered cars or better still hydrogen fuel cell or even hydrogen burning cars we could be off of all imported oil within 2 years flat.  It would take much less of a spending effort than what we waste mass murdering people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By taking away the prohibition of hemp, at least industrial hemp, we could end up with a clean burning oil like substance that can make plastics and lubricants.  Hemp can actually produce 5 crop rotations a year.  It is massively productive and each rotation, unlike other crops, it actually enriches the soil.

The lie is that we are seeking resources to help feed the hungry American appetite for oil.  The truth is a little harder to understand.  We are there to seek resources to justify the theft of trillions for the defense industrial complex and provide the means for the continued criminal monopoly of big oil over our energy supplies.

The only answer is to end the two party hoodlum organization that pretends to offer real choice and open our system up to a parliamentary multiparty system.  And, vitally, make it a act of high treason to accept or even give money or any favor(including future employment) to any politician or government official for any reason, campaigning or otherwise.

Government service shouldn’t be about making one wealthy it should be all about the honor and joy of serving the country.  There are plenty of people that wouldn’t even need to read a teleprompter with a prepared speech, that would make fantastic presidents and congresspersons.

Also we need to do research as to what really is going on and stop repeating the deceptions of the dark side.  The fact is quit clear, Osama Bin Laden had nothing to do with 9/11.  9/11 was an orchestrated event designed to impact the people like a “new Pearl Harbor”.  They murder our own people.  There is ample evidence that JFK junior also was murdered to prevent him from competing against the pre-determined Bush-neocon administration. 

These are major acts of treason.  Repeating the lies of 9/11 as if they are true because it is to horrifying to accept otherwise only fuels the evil forces that are destroying our country.

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By Quinty, December 6, 2009 at 1:43 pm Link to this comment

How weird.

I somehow copied the url for a film clip from Syriana - a wonderful film - instead
of the url for the Rich opinion piece.

Let’s try again…..

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/opinion/06rich.html

Sorry about that…......

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By Quinty, December 6, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

HANDYCAPT -

Your scenario at least makes sense. Which is more than Obama’s “eloquent”
speech did.

Frank Rich wrote a wonderful piece today, a cry from the heart. It may not quite fit
into the world of real politik your scenario, Handycapt, presents, but it is certainly
well worth considering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apM0d3M-sps

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By handycapt, December 6, 2009 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Afg = Afghanistan   Pak = Pakistan

- Afg; primarily a place to stage troops for incursions into southern Pakistan (near term)
- Afg; there will be limited fighting, and only token ‘drug war’ activity.  (open Goggle earth, you can see the poppy fields all along the Helmand   river in Helmand province)  If we were truly concerned about heroine production we could have carpet bombed the poppy fields long ago. 

Assumption: drug $$$ funds terrorism,
Assertion: destroy poppy fields = defunding terrorism.  If we DON’T destroy the poppy fields we need to ask why.

- Pak; The US with or without the explicit permission of Pak will invade Balochistan.
- Pak;  The US wants the port of Gwadar under it’s ‘influence’. It is a Chinese ‘interest’ now.


Assumptions:
- Governments (Govs) act in their self interest.
- Govs will withhold information under guise of National Security.  (i.e.  US wont announce plans to invade Balochistan in 6 months to manage element of surprise).

Assertion:

* Most modern wars are about commerce & resources.
  food, water, oil, gas (research the competing gasline projects that involve the Turmens, Afg, Pak Iran, India, & China and then research the proposed flow of $$$ and who controls it.  Within that topic look at who within Afg will control the gas pipeline $$$)

* Wars about resources don’t sell well so they are cloaked in Patriotism, Religious rhetoric, fear mongering.  These sound familiar?  ‘Spread Democracy’, ‘Destroy the Infidels’, 9/11,  ‘Honor the fallen’, ‘vital to our National interest’, ‘They are determined to attack so we have to hit them first’  These are the tools you use to sell a war.  The truth wont sell a war.

Conclusions (IMHO)

LYING?: Obama had to present the case for war but couldn’t tell the whole story.  That doesn’t make him a liar.  Deception is part and parcel of warfare.
Personally I want to know the real reasons for the conflict(s).  And is is NOT extremist fundamentalism.

RESOURCES:  We (US & Nato allies) don’t want Taliban & China controlling the gas line projects, ports and Nuclear Weapons (Pak).

DEMOCRACY: We might think ‘Democracy’ would make the region easier to control, but I believe it’s way down on the list of priorities.

INTERESTS:  We are their to protect our interests.  Period.  This brings me to the crux of it.

***  What are our true interests?
interests: I dont believe anyone has truthfully explained this

Our:  When we define ‘our’  what does that mean?  Me?(58, married, 4 children, laid off, struggling to survive kind of guy?) I dont think so.  The people of wealth and power that play on the world stage?  More likely.

Bottom line.  It’s about $$$ and power.  How has it?  Who wants it?  How badly do we want to keep it out of China’s hands or in ‘our’ hands.

~handycapt

“99% of the World’s problems can be attributed to Money. The remaining 1% can be attributed to Money”

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By john crandell, December 6, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack,  you assuredly have nailed the coonskin to the wall!

“Greater Israel.” Yes, perfect nomenclature.

Consider these Americans who have died or been injured for, on behalf of, voicing support for the state of Israel and as a direct result of American support of Israeli apartheid against Palestinians:

All of our American naval personnel of the USS Liberty, attacked in June 1967 by direct order of Moshe Dayan. (Every veteran of the U.S. Navy knows of this).

U.S. Marine casualties in their barracks in Lebanon.

New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

9/11.

Lockerbie.

Embassy bombings.

USS Cole attacked.

Airline highjackings (Joe Kennedy III can tell us something about that).

The young, idealistic American peacemaker run over in Gaza by an Israeli tank.

Now Voyagers aboard the Achille Lauro.

Leon Klinghoffer!

America’s invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is so far and away past time for the U.S. government to declare it’s relations with the Israeli government null and void.

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By montanawildhack, December 6, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Have all you folks seen the Sunday talk shows???

Now the truth comes out from all the major players that Obama is a lying sack of crap… We’re going to be in Afghanistan Forever!!!!

Afghanistan and Iraq are wars for Greater Israel and we are never leaving….. Period….

Obama is a Tool of the Zionists… Period….

The media is a tool of the Zionists…

America is a colony of Israel…..

It’s all over but the shouting….

All these pundits on truthdig writing away about Afghanistan and Iraq are wasting their time….

Israel is going to suck this country dry…. But when that happens what other country’s back are they going to leap on????

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By talullah, December 6, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

johncp, December 6 at 7:53 am #288228


“Hillary was a special receipient of media abuse and hatred, largely though not entirely due to her husband”

That’s Hillary’s problem.  You’d be testifying as to the way in which you came to vote for a person who would send you to die in an unjust war.  But that’s exactly the testimony I’m trying to give, on your behalf, because you are dead. 


“These are politicians, not ethical philosophers.”

If that’s a problem, it’s not mine.  According to our system of justice, all I have to do is witness an unlawful act and then act in a way that will cause those I accuse to appear before a court of law.


“I merely argue, that Hillary was to be preferred to Obama”

Clinton and Obama appear to me to be two versions of the same person.  Hillary as president would be more easily impeached.  This indicates the promise of the con pulled by both political parties on the public, and which con had as its purpose taking advantage of the color of Obama’s skin and using it as a distraction from the fact that so many members of Congress had made themselves into (what I say are) war criminals.

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By Talullah, December 6, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

johncp, December 6 at 7:53 am #288228


“Hillary was a special receipient of media abuse and hatred, largely though not entirely due to her husband”

That’s Hillary’s problem.  You’d be testifying as to the way in which you came to vote for a person who would send you to die in an unjust war.  But that’s exactly what I’m trying to do, on your behalf, because you are dead. 


“These are politicians, not ethical philosophers.”

If that’s a problem, it’s not mine.  According to our system of justice, all I have to do is see an unlawful act and then act in a way that will cause those I accuse to appear before a court of law.


“I merely argue, that Hillary was to be preferred to Obama”

The two of them, Clinton and Obama, appear to me to be two versions of the same person.  Hillary as president would be more easily impeached.  This indicates the success of the con pulled by both political parties on the public, and which con had as its purpose taking advantage of the color of Obama’s skin and using it as a distraction from the fact that so many members of Congress had made themselves into (what I say are) war criminals.

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By johncp, December 6, 2009 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

Tallulah
Let me make one last effort here, to make a bit clearer the basis of my vote for Hillary over Obama.  I agree with everthing you’ve said.  But I simply reiterate my concern, that Hillary was a special receipient of media abuse and hatred, largely though not entirely due to her husband.  That’s one of the reasons I voted for her.  But, beyond that, Hillary was looking out for herself, as do all the others in the Senate.  These are politicians, not ethical philosophers.  Though, she could easily have voted Aye with Bush’s, at the time, murky intentions, and still disliked the outcome, or felt no affection for Bush.  But she voted, as did nearly all the other Dems in the Senate, for a very popular president, who would get his way in any case.  What matters to me, an outlook fortified by Obama’s, I think, nearly obscene hawkishness, especially after a presidential campaign making himself appear as dovish as possible, is what these campaigners offer us, “after” we’ve already taken into account, their political ambition, their general dishonesty, their capitulation to Wall Street, etc.  I merely argue, that Hillary was to be preferred to Obama (and all the other candidates that we were forced to accept), in virtually all other political respects, experience, insight, a cooler and more decisive head, a lesser likelyhood that she’d “need” to resort to deceit to achieve her political ends, etc., and not, necessarily, that she’s Obama’s moral superior, though I personally feel she is.

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By talullah, December 6, 2009 at 3:07 am Link to this comment

johncp, December 5 at 4:57 pm #288140

“Hillary’s Yea vote was accompanied by stringent demands and reservations [].”

There’s still no evidence in favor of war against Iraq.  Hillary Clinton is an attorney whose pro-war vote says of her that she favors carrying out the death penalty against innocents. 

If Clinton had cited evidence in favor of the suspect’s (Iraq’s) guilt, she’d have been off the hook *with me*.  Unfortunately for her, I do require such evidence.  And no amount of Clinton’s professions of love for either Iraqis or justice is an acceptable substitute.

Because evidence played no part in what members of Congress were doing the day they engaged in what looked like a vote on a war,  members of Congress (or at least those who would vote “Aye”) must have been participating with Bush in some private ritual, which private ritual would secure for certain members of Congress entrance into a fraternity or brotherhood with Bush.

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By liecatcher, December 5, 2009 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment

Why Obama’s Strategy Won’t Succeed  
Posted on Dec 3, 2009 By Eugene Robinson


The title of my response to the above article is:
BUSH 3’s STRATEGY IN AFGHANISTAN IS SUCCEEDING JUST
AS BUSH 2’s STRATEGY IN IRAQ SUCCEEDED JUST AS BUSH
1’s STRATEGY OF REAGONOMICS TO LAY THE GROUND WORK
FOR THE NEW WORLD ORDER:ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT
SUCCEEDED.

Fortunately the absolutely brilliant posts:
By FRTothus, December 5 at 8:03 pm
By FRTothus, December 5 at 7:59 pm

make it unnecessary for me to say anything else,
except that for this article Eugene Robison deserves
a fecal vomiting award.

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By Bill Owen, December 5, 2009 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

And other than some audio tapes, which some experts at least, say are fake, what evidence do you have that bin Laden is even alive?

Wouldn’t the Emmanuel Goldstein of the Muslim world be able to come with, you know a video tape?

Maybe he doesn’t want us to know that he shaved his beard off and went back to Langley.

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By FRTothus, December 5, 2009 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

(…continued) The author’s next paragraph repeats the usual Western accusations and buzzwords reflecting a profoundly trivial understanding of “tribal feuds”, “warlords”, and “failed states” with proper reflexive bigotry. Safely avoiding any speculation regarding the motives of empire for keeping states “failed” for historically well-known imperial reasons, the neo-imperialism imposes IMF loans, and the devastating (for them, profitable for US bankers) Structural Adjustment Programs as their missionaries.
We are to therefore take it on faith, as the author so readily does, that some form of violence (other than our own) has “taken hold” (seemingly without US interference or in a vacuum), and that the motive is limited to a fundamental belief in the power of force. The author is, on the one hand, apparently surprised that violence is “proving effective”, and on the other blind to the officially documented violence Somalia (and scores of others) have sustained at our own hands, our CIA black ops, our IMF loans to cripple, our crop dumping and price fixing, the impoverishing effect of a US presence where the dollar rules and wealth flows to the industrial North.
Further along we find the usual US National Socialist doctrine of supporting the troops and counter-insurgency, training their colonels in the “right way” to enforce the privatization of the expatriation profits and socializing of the privatized costs to the public as workers rights are undone, avenues to dissent blocked, government by an oligarchy, just as in the US.

What deplorable trash.


“You can always hear the people who are willing to sacrifice somebody else’s life. They’re plenty loud and they talk all the time. You can find them in churches and schools and newspapers and legislatures and congress. That’s their business. They sound wonderful. Death before dishonor. This ground sanctified by blood. These men who died so gloriously. They shall not have died in vain. Our noble dead.”
(Dalton Trumbo, Johnny Got His Gun)

“They have pillaged the world. When the land has nothing left for men who ravage everything, they scour the sea. If an enemy is rich, they are greedy; if he is poor, they crave glory. Neither East nor West can sate their appetite. They are the only people on earth to covet wealth and poverty with equal craving. They plunder, they butcher, they ravish, and call it by the lying name of “empire.” They make a desert and call it “peace”.”
(Roman historian Tacitus)

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By FRTothus, December 5, 2009 at 3:59 pm Link to this comment

This article conforms completely to the Propaganda Model. By raising no principled opposition to the war it defines the Leftward boundaries of acceptable thought, reducing arguments to “mishandling” and “costs to us”. The larger topic of the policy thus escapes attention, as do any questionable interpretations due to such a skewed perspective.  What is willfully ‘misunderstood’ here is the intent, which leads one to plausibly, though not rationally, to the mistaken presumption of doubt concerning any official pronouncement…especially those parroted in the Main Stream.

The inference in the first paragraph is that the war itself has goals, one of which is “making our nation meaningfully safer from the threat of terrorist attacks” a dubious proposition at best, and yet another in a long string of whatever justification will work to continue pursuit of a policy which is continually shifting. A careful examination of the truthfulness of such a supposition is demanded, but not forthcoming. There is also the use of the buzz-word “terrorist” with the implication that there are (deluded brown-skinned) people who do not want most of all just to live in peace and raise their families (as we like to think we do), but are inexplicably (!) intent upon causing harm to “innocent” (by definition, apparently) Americans – unlike our highest officials who use other people’s sons to carry out effectively the same murders of guilty (by definition) foreigners, especially if they are poor. What we end up with is the poor from one country being sent by the rich of that country to kill the poor of another country, so the wealth and the monopoly of power by the rich will be protected and possibly expanded
In the second para, apart from the absurdity of being wrong about a question, fundamental or otherwise, never explicitly posed, regards, apparently, the circumstances surrounding “Obama’s approach, also largely (and conveniently) malleable, subject to prevailing political expediency. The phrase “far from the war zone” assumes a great deal that ought to be further examined, perhaps from a North/South perspective in the light of internal US foreign policy directives and supporting documentation. The (northern) Pentagon has been at war with the (southern) Third World for a very long time now.
I would suggest that the possibility of the target of the hit was in fact, the “three ministers” of a Somali government the author begins his next paragraph disdaining, in line with official doctrine. And it is hardly a surprise that a media that can only ever bring itself to “allege” (if they report it at all!) responsibility for far more deadly and sustained US attacks and sabotage, can be so certain as to the identity (and as we’ll see later, motive) in America’s Global War of Terror.” (continued…)

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By johncp, December 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm Link to this comment

Tallulah
We put our support for, or opposition to, these various candidates where we will, for an infinite variety of reasons.  But, my defense of Hillary stems as much from what I see as a constant drumbeat of media sponsored slander and attack directed at her, and mostly at her husband, which has come to lead nearly all of us to unconsciously demean her.  To feel a strange dread whenever the Clinton name is mentioned (because media almost invariably mentiion it with a hateful motive).  In this instance, where she voted to allow Bush to use military force in his stupid and senseless attack on Iraq, where, I say, we are unconsicously primed to oppose her, and single her out for special scolding, even before we consider the issue at hand,  it’s necessary to point out that nearly all democratic Senators voted to support Bush’s actions, and Hillary’s Yea vote was accompanied by stringent demands and reservations, which, had Bush seriously considered them, would have made it almost impossible for him to take military action.

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By john crandell, December 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

OUTRAGED:

http://www.cfr.org/bios/15575/kim_barker.html

Josh Marshall’s website: Talking Points Memo

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By felicity, December 5, 2009 at 11:13 am Link to this comment

It might be important to note that the Soviet invasion and war with Afghanistan, begun during the Carter administration, was followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union nine years later. 

Wars are very expensive.  The Soviet Union was already in bad shape economically.  The question is did financing the War put it over the edge.  And our question should be will our so-called war with Afghanistan finally put us over the edge.

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By Quinty, December 5, 2009 at 10:48 am Link to this comment

JOHNCP

Regarding your comment on my comment: you may very well be right.

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By melpol, December 5, 2009 at 9:32 am Link to this comment

The pacification of Afghanistan by soldiers seen as Infidels and Kafirs is possible.
The bad guys who make up 10% of the population have to be disarmed. This will
leave the good guys with all the guns. It is strange that the good guys cannot
defend themselves even if they outnumber the bad guys by 9 to 1.

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By ardee, December 5, 2009 at 8:29 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus, December 5 at 10:42 am #

Ultimately we can’t “know” if O’s strategy will work or
not; what we’re left with is; it’s going to happen.

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

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Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, December 5, 2009 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

Ultimately we can’t “know” if O’s strategy will work or
not; what we’re left with is; it’s going to happen.
What we can hope is; we’ll have the balls to get out in
a timely manner if it doesn’t.
IMO, we’re just too stupid to do much of anything
right.

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By Go Right Young Man, December 5, 2009 at 5:01 am Link to this comment

Mr. Robinson writes:  :Afghanistan happened to be Osama bin Laden’s choice for a headquarters, but he and his top aides were driven out of the country shortly after the U.S. invasion. Al-Qaida is believed to be based in Pakistan now, with the freedom of movement of its leadership severely restricted.”


This is interesting.  First: Mr. Robinson argued for seven years how the battle needing to be fought was in Afghanistan.  Today, however, he’s arguing something entirely different?  Suddenly there’s no need to fight a battle in Afghanistan? Odd.

Second: According to his statement above Al Qaeda leadership was quickly uprooted from its chosen training and command/control base during the Bush administration and, today, leaderships control of fighting forces severely restricted. - A winning stratagem in any war or battle. Where was this enlightened and bold admission 2, 6, and 8 years ago?

Agree or not with the battle in Iraq or Afghanistan it seems Mr. Robinson’s mind and agenda is somewhere other than winning or loosing a war. 

Is this an example of hypocrisy or intellectual dishonesty?  I can’t tell.

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By talullah, December 5, 2009 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

Obama’s “strategy” is up shit creek.

Obama has nothing except to hope that nobody will request evidence in favor of his war. 

Obama—like the members of both parties of Congress who created him and who bet that his color would cover their sorry asses—can’t tell the difference between evidence in favor of war and a hole in the ground.

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By talullah, December 5, 2009 at 3:52 am Link to this comment

To johncp, December 4 at 8:01 pm

I’m saying two things:

First, there never existed any evidence in favor of our prosecuting a war against Iraqis.  The attempt by Cheney to make yellowcake into evidence against someone remains pathetic and would be a source of embarrassment to me—except for the fact that Congress saw no reason to attribute the pathetic attempt to (what would’ve been a desperate-for-evidence) Cheney. That “failure” leaves yellowcake, or things like it, to be used again, by Cheney or by Congress. 

Second, the non-existent evidence that Clinton would’ve used to justify her pro-war vote (had such been demanded of her) is the same non-existent evidence that impeaches her (as a witness. A secretary of state, I presume, no less than a member of Congress, needs very much to be considered a reliable witness.).
***


If I may add something.  Members of Congress might consider making it law that the soldiers who’ll do the fighting and dying in a planned war be shown the confidential/top secret evidence which the voluntarily ignorant members of Congress are planning to use to justify their pro-war votes. Otherwise, those same members of Congress can expect to find themselves standing at the grave of every newly fallen soldier, and to saying of that soldier, “He wasn’t trustworthy.”

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By Outraged, December 5, 2009 at 1:37 am Link to this comment

Re: john crandall

Your comment: “Good ‘ol Barak, he really thinks that he can build his foundation upon a quagmire. Gawd, if only Halberstam were still with us.”

Please, would you provide the link to the article you’ve quoted and the “blog” you consider inappropriate?

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By G.Anderson, December 4, 2009 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment

It’s seems pretty clear at this point, that Afghanistan, and Iraq, and the gutting of this country are all tied together in a great big bow.

Those same corporations, whose incompetence, stupidity and greed have destroyed this country both politically and economically, are in a death struggle with radical Islam. Because radical Islam is the only thing standing in the way of those corporations doing the same thing to the Arab world.

That innocent Americans have died from the collateral damage seems not to be terribly important to those in charge. Nor does the carnage they have wrought here at home.

Obama will not succeed, simply because America is no longer a world power, but instead a petty corporate dictatorship, that cannot continue to paper over this countries problems.

Our internal problems are so great, that the entire future of this country is in jeopardy, the War in Afghanistan will only hasten our collapse.

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By joey, December 4, 2009 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There are two people in this country that believe
in this war. They both have the same last name..
Chaney.  This war is neither win-able or whim-able.

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By Muscleboy, December 4, 2009 at 8:41 pm Link to this comment

A neocon in sheep’s clothing he is.

Fanatical Islam?  Al qaeda is a fraud perpetrated by the defense industrial complex of which mr robinson is an active functionary.  It is their to justify the explosion of super costly weaponry and therefore the theft of our treasury.

The crooks that have hijacked our country have mass murdered well in excess of 1.3 million innocent people in Iraq alone and have stolen trillions of dollars from the US treasury. 

They orchestrated 9/11 for the express purpose of stealing vast sums of money from the US treasury and secondarily the oil of Iraq.

We now sit back and realize, with the help of legitimate journalists like Nomi Prins, that these crooks have now taken to stealing over 17.5 trillion dollars additional, completely unaccountably through the US Federal Reserve which must be an entity of the US government by virtue of the fact that only the US government can print money as proclaimed by the US constitution which is the law of the USA. Therefore why does it go unaudited? But I digress.

Robinson, the defense industrial man-whore, with pretty window dressing which makes him seem to be a liberal(watch what he says; read carefully his deceptive dribble) calls these poor people that we are killing for nothing(I interject—we can be off of oil in a heartbeat with a massive effort to convert over to all natural alternative energy, certainly off of imported oil we don’t need to kill people for oil). 

The reason they want to kill people for oil is to maintain an energy monopoly over the increasingly poor people of the USA.

The poor people this fake journalist calls fanatical Islam are no threat to the USA whatsoever.  There is no such thing as Al Qaeda unless one is referring to a group of people the CIA set up some decades ago but there is no such group today, it is a lie to say otherwise.  The people of Afghanistan and Pakistan; the Poshtuns, simply want to stop the brutal occupation and mass murdering of their people, the massive and blatant colonialization of Afghanistan.

The crooks that have hijacked our great country, the USA, Bushama et al, are not doing it to protect us but to have a justification for bilking our treasury ever more. Alas, they have no regard for us in any sense.  Bushama gave 17.5 trillion in unaccounted for cash to banksters and other crooks while millions of Americans lost their homes due largely to crooked mortgages written by those same banksters and their agents.  This is a terrible act of terrorism against both the decent and largely innocent people of the USA, UK and Afghanistan and Pakistan by our own politicians.

And it is all literally promoted by people of Robinson’s ilk by twisted logic, misnomers and other outright falsehoods.  I could be wrong, Robinson could be grossly mislead or confused but I sincerely doubt it.  And I no longer want to accept the Robinsons of the world because they are a hair less sinister and evil than some other more blatantly crooked fake journalists.  We all deserve better.  A strong and absolutely unfettered press is essential to our democracy, we have nothing without it.

MSNBC cannot be allowed to perpetrate this fraud against us.  Anyone that falls for these fascist faux liberals is not doing their homework.

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By johncp, December 4, 2009 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

QUINTY
Will “...he bring sanity back to his country?”  It’s conceiveable, but not until he has first attended to the task for which he was hired.  Not meddling with bringing increased wealth to the those economic elites that purchased the presidency for him.

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By john crandell, December 4, 2009 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment

First off I gotta say that it’s quite remarkable that on Marshall’s TPM website, if one wants information or discussion regards Afghanistan, it either isn’t there or else one has to go and dig for it. It certainly has been absent from the main page and that to me means only one thing: Josh desires to remain a player with major sources in Washington. That and nothing more. For evidence, simply look again at his main page. You’d think that we’re still in the center of campaign ‘08. I’ve followed Marshall for years and with each week, my admiration and respect declines.

Regards Afghanistan, here is what Kim Barker, the Edward R. Murrow Fellow of the Council of Foreign Relations presently reports, from Kabul - of all places:

Corruption in the country has reached such a scale that Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank executive and presidential candidate, says that a senior Karzai adviser told him that one government minister made $25 million in a single year, and a northern governor, $75 million. Two of Karzai’s brothers—Mahmoud Karzai and Ahmed Wali Karzai—and relatives of at least one governor, Gul Agha Shirzai, and the country’s defense minister, Abdul Rahim Wardak, have either earned money with questionable tactics or been awarded lucrative Western contracts with little fair competition. They have been helped by their relatives’ political clout and suspicious bidding practices.

<i>Some of the shifting public support toward the Taliban is due to the fact that the Taliban, unlike the central government, seem to take such widespread corruption seriously. In 33 of the country’s 34 provinces, the Taliban has set up its own anticorruption committees, which allow local Afghans to complain about any injustice, including those inflicted by the Taliban. One Afghan official told me that such committees would be “a good idea” for the government. The Taliban also runs its own courts, which are known for quick justice without the need to pay bribes.

<i>But for now, paying money remains the only way to efficiently accomplish anything with the Afghan government. Daniel Grey, the local head of a large U.S. contracting company that works on roads and power, said that his company refuses to pay bribes. As a result, its work is made more onerous and ultimately more expensive. In one case, the customs department held 13 vehicles for a year before releasing them. Another time, in Kandahar, when Grey’s company was trying to load supplies onto a helicopter that costs $16,000 an hour to operate, an Afghan official came over to say that the helicopter would have to be loaded somewhere else. That cost the company an hour of time, or $16,000. But the official just wanted a $100 kickback. “The cost of avoiding a bribe was much more than we ever would have paid for a bribe,” Grey said.


Good ‘ol Barak, he really thinks that he can build his foundation upon a quagmire. Gawd, if only Halberstam were still with us.

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By Quinty, December 4, 2009 at 5:25 pm Link to this comment

As a strategy against al Qaeda the war is surely absurd.

Has our self interest become so tied to appearances and high hopes that the
only proofs of success are “peace on earth good will toward men?” A happy
Afghanistan where justice and the Western Enlightenment reign?

For it is hard not to think our real motive in all this is merely to save face. To
leave the mess we created behind in a manner which makes us proud. A
wonderful, democratic, high minded Afghani government. One on our side, of
course, looking out for all its diverse citizens in a loving manner. Triumphant
over our, America’s, enemies.

That is the kernel in our thoughts regarding foreign policy in the third world.
We want these countries to reflect well on us. We want their success to be our
success. We want to be able to pat ourselves on the back. Even when economic self interest originally motivated our meddling.

Polls show Americans are becoming increasingly isolationistic. With so many
military fiascos under our collective belt, over so many years since World War
Two, is it any wonder there is growing skepticism? Why, a majority of
Americans may even finally admit we have an empire abroad, out there. And
they may not particularly like the idea.

Obama was elected to bring sanity back to our country. He has yet to prove
that he will do it. I still hope he does. But will he?

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By awahl, December 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

My son in law is working in Riyaud, Saudi Arabia, and on a recent home visit told us of the news that the Saudis hear:  Al Quaida attacked (or at least tried to attack) in Riyaud (I believe it was the capital) but were ejected and forced back into Yemen.  Now this passing on of information may have some details wrong but the main one is correct:  Our newsmedia has never reported that Saudi Arabia itself has been attacked by Al Quaida.  Their newsmedia evidently was full of its excitement.

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By johncp, December 4, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Tallulah

Can you tell me what one earth you mean by:
“The woman who is now Secretary of State, conjured from the contents of an empty box, the evidence that would allow her to cast a pro-war vote.”
I’d like you to elaborate a bit on this point.

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By mstar57, December 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm Link to this comment

Maybe they could “set up shop” in the USA….after all that seems to fit the definition of a “failed state”

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By gerard, December 4, 2009 at 3:40 pm Link to this comment

Walter Kelly:  Yes, I think it is quite possible. And let’s hope that while we are there we don’t shoot up the place, so that we can do something constructive to heal the breach between India and Pakistan. That would help a lot! Oh, for a Ghandi, a Jinnah and a Nehru in the early-post-Crown-jewel days.”  Where are the negotiators when we need them?

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By David, December 4, 2009 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The mission in Afganistan has two objectives:  Profit for the multi-national corporations and the reelection of Barak Obama.  These missions will succeed.  Too bad about all the corpses it will leave behind.

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By scotttpot, December 4, 2009 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

“Al-Qaeda’ is a philosophy not a group with any real capacity to attack us .         
It has been Eight Years since any Americans have been killed in America by an
‘AL_Qaeda’ member. American students with guns in American schools will kill
more people this year than any “Al-Qaeda’ member. Close all schools and keep
the children safe, Mr.President .

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By talullah, December 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

SFHawkguy says: “But the author misses the best argument against this war: A U.S. war against Afghanistan is deeply immoral.”


I’m always suspicious of the motives of folks who can jump right over the deaths of their own (in this case, their own soldiers), in order to cry outrage at the deaths of others.

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By taikan, December 4, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Most Muslims, like the majority of law abiding people of other faiths, hold criminals in disdain.  However, just as most moderate Christians do not condemn the acts of more radical Christians, most moderate Muslims find it difficult to oppose strongly the actions of radical Muslims who call themselves “soldiers” defending the faith. 

History would have been far different if Bush had treated the members of Al Qaeda and other terrorists like the criminals they are.  However, for political reasons Bush and Rove concluded that it would be better to declare a “war on terror,” which has only resulted in giving Al Qaeda the legitimacy it craves but does not deserve. 

The US needs to make it clear that we are not currently “at war” with anyone, but instead are seeking to enforce the law and bring murderers to justice.  Eric Holder’s announcement that KSM and others involved in the 9/11 murder conspiracy will be tried in a federal court, and not by a military tribunal, is the first step in making that a reality.  Obama already has told the world that we are not at war with Islam.  Perhaps after KSM is tried and convicted he will develop sufficient courage to tell the American people the same thing.

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By johncp, December 4, 2009 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

This article It says that our incursion will “...achieve its goals, but at too great a cost.”  But isn’t it possible that this “...too great a cost,” is the goal, is a blessing, for a few? Many “pay” the cost, and a few are the recepients of gain.  Shouldn’t we consider the possibility that the cost of this and nearly all wars, is the objective. I’ve grown accustomed to assuming that, except in rare cases, war = profit for a few: for most, “cost” and loss, and for some, the ultimate costs and losses.

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By SFHawkguy, December 4, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Felicity,

Thanks. You’ve clarified what I found troubling with this opinion piece.

It comes to the right conclusion; the U.S. cannot win a war against Afghanistan or if it can win such a war, the cost is too high.

But the author misses the best argument against this war: A U.S. war against Afghanistan is deeply immoral.  The Afghanistan people do not pose a threat to you or to me.  What right does the U.S. have to wage war against the Taliban in 2010 and beyond? 

Harboring terrorists was itself a novel causis belli for war when Bush and the U.S. invoked it after 9/11.  Now, 8 years later, after the members of the specific “murderous philosophy” that caused 9/11 have been expelled from Afghanistan, what right does the U.S. have to wage war against the Taliban and occupy the country?  The U.S. claims the right to continue the fight because the Taliban has a similar “murderous philosophy” as the perpetrators of 9/11 (and never mind that the U.S. supported this and similar murderous philosophies in the past when it suited them)?

Yet the opinion piece barely considers the average human being in Afghanistan. How prevalent is this “murderous philosophy” and what threat is the average Afghani to the U.S? 

The closest thing we get to the perspective of the natives is a discussion of how a cancerous philosophy can jump from one swamp to the next in that region.  The only thing we need to know about Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, etc., is that they are swamps wherein murderous philosophy spreads.

These are not people. They are cancerous swamp dwellers susceptible to murderous philosophy that the U.S. is right to smash up. 

Never mind that the average Taliban has absolutely no intention of establishing his dominion over Whichita, Kansas, for instance, or even harming a single U.S. citizen (other than the ones that came to his country trying to kill him). 

No, forget the morality of going to a country and demanding that some of its people kill those among them that are believers in a murderous philosophy and if they don’t the U.S. will kill them for them (or will kill in concert with the right Afghanis).  No, that’s not wrong.  It’s just that killing the particularly virulent vermin in that particular swamp is extremely difficult.  It’s like Obabma’s post hac argument against the Iraq war; he’s not against war against murderous philosophy, he’s against bad wars against murderous philosophy. 

The author above is making a similar argument; the war against Afghanistan is bad because it’s not a very effective way of killing believers of a murderous philosophy.  And quiet revealingly (and ironically), he does not quibble with the premise of justly smiting those that believe in a murderous philosophy, preemptively, in their homeland and in their very homes, with extreme indifference to innocent life.

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By Jeffersonian-Socialist, December 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This article is so biased and so mainstream.  The writter said:

“The problem is that al-Qaida’s murderous philosophy, which is the real enemy, has no physical base. It can erupt anywhere—even, perhaps, on a heavily guarded U.S. Army post in the middle of Texas.”


First of all, there is no Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda is a fictional organization created by the US Zionist government as a pretext for imperialist-wars.  And second, the Fort Hood killer didn’t have any thing to do with terrorism.  Terrorism itself doesn’t exist, and only exists in the mainstream media.

Suicide-bombers are not terrorists, they are anti-imperialism insurgents.

.

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Blackspeare's avatar

By Blackspeare, December 4, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Some people just don’t get it!  A war can never be won against an insurgency——just ask the Hebrews.  The strategy is to achieve a stabilization of sorts where the insurgents are contained, a puppet government is secured, and sporadic violence tolerated.  If this sounds like the strategy of Soviet incursion into Afghanistan——well I’ll be!  However this time there is no well established backing of the insurgents with either funds or arms as there was against the Russians.  Obama’a plan is going to work just as the Soviet’s would have if the USA, the Saudis, and Pakistan hadn’t interceded.  Afghanistan, though a backwater, is in a vital part of the world these days and it is in the USA’s best interests to maintain and secure a foothold in this country.  Remember a substantial expeditionary force is to remain in both Iraq and Afghanistan when overt military operations diminish both to bolster the prevailing regime and to repel excessive insurgent operations.

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By Mestizo Warrior, December 4, 2009 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

When Bush decided to invade and occupy Afghanistan it was to bring Bin Laden to Justice. Eight years and thousands of deaths later very little has been accomplished. Not unlike Iraq the situation in Afghanistan is unjustified and unwinnable. However the defense contractors have certainly made large profits! (And really isn’t this all that matters?)

The tragedy aside from the deaths and injuries is that Obama could have been more than the first African American president, he could have been the best president since FDR to bring our nation peace and prosperity. It was his choice to make and now it’s done. So sad.

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By Roger Lafontaine, December 4, 2009 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, Obama won the election by running the best PR campaign, proving that politics is now show business, and he is trying to govern the country like a PR campaign, proving that politics is not show business after all.

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By felicity, December 4, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

Like old George Washington said way-back-when - the British will win the battles but we’ll win the war - our super-power-superior-weapons will win the battles in Afghanistan, but we won’t the war, an inaccurate use of the definition in the first place.

Lest we forget, we are not at war with Afghanistan so where do we get off saying that we’re going to win the war with Afghanistan.  Nothing like basing an entire strategy on an imaginary premise.

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By bozhidar balkas, vancouver, December 4, 2009 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Perforce, we can only assume what US telos in afgh’n and iraq is.
My guess is US wants land. To obtain land, US uses ancient tactics: invasions-occupations,de facto or de jure dismemberments,and puppetization.

So, if we don’t know what the end goals for US warlords and modern feudal lords are, we cannot then know what failing or succeeding is,either.

Robinson also assumes that US war planners [whoever they be]did not at least assume more ‘terrorrism’ wld result and not less from invasions, occupations, and other divisive tactics.

I assume the worst:US wants to retain control and possess parts of afgh’n, iraq, somalia for at least a century. The end goal? Well, the planet.

That’s why i see that there is no longer americans, americanism, nationalism, nor imperialism. There is now only planetarianism!
The telos is, as it always had been since urnanshe of sumer, to rule the four corners of the known world and to establish perm plutocratic rule and utterly destroy most basic panhuman rights.
And indeed world plutos appear united like never before in quest for the planet. tnx

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By Walter J. Kelly IV, December 4, 2009 at 9:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it possible that Gates and Obama are most worried about
Pakistan?  That they have a free pass this way, and a disguise
with which to sit down next door for awhile?

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Samson's avatar

By Samson, December 4, 2009 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

How do you define success?

Its interesting, because at no point has Obama shown any real interest in what actually happens in Afghanistan.

This is Obama’s war because it polled well a year and a half ago.  He was running in an election where 70% of the voters opposed the Iraq war.  Obama had no choice other than to pretend to oppose that war.

But, Obama didn’t want to look ‘weak’.  So, when his polling numbers showed more support for the Afghan war, probably because most people still believed the post-9-11 propaganda that got us there, Obama suddenly became a big supporter of the Afghan war as ‘the right war’.

So, define success.  This strategy succeeded in getting Obama elected once.  It probably also succeeded both before and since the last election in bringing defense contractor campaign contributions to Obama and the Democrats, since this policy is continuing to make fortunes for them.

Its success for the Pentagon, who manage to continue the fantasy that the poorest country on earth is a tremendous security threat to one of the wealthiest countries on earth.

There’s lots of ‘successes’ in this policy. That is if you look at it from Obama’s elite point of view. Of course, the people who won’t have any success at all from this policy is the people of Afghanistan who suffer from this.  And the American who don’t have any choice but between starvation and joining the army, and thus become the ones who go over there and die or get maimed so that Obama, the Democrats, the Generals and all their rich supporters can continue having these successes.

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By talullah, December 4, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

The woman who is now Secretary of State conjured from the contents of an empty evidence box what she believed would meet the requirements of a pro-war vote. 

The woman who is now Speaker of the House, a person who voted in opposition to Clinton’s investment in the war, found herself unable to satisfy her constituents’ demands for impeachment and forced to take impeachment “off the table.” The reason:  Too many of those whose job it would be to help her impeach had already voted to impeach themselves.

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By thecrow, December 4, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment

30,000 more pawns are nothing to the sociopaths who consider themselves “chess masters”.

http://michaelfury.wordpress.com/2008/10/30/the-ones-who-attacked-us/

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By LostHills, December 4, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

Obama’s strategy? To paraphrase Captain Willard i Apocalypse ow, “Frankly Sir, I
don’t see any strategy at all.”

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By Talullah, December 4, 2009 at 8:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It’s funny what influential people won’t admit to knowing.

Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi leave Eugene Robinson and Barack Obama (and Bush and Cheney) in the dust.  It looks as though Democratic women have authored the best chapter, so far, in the Left Behind series.

The woman who is now Secretary of State conjured from the contents of an empty box the evidence that would allow her to cast a pro-war vote. 

The woman who is now Speaker of the House, a person who voted against Clinton’s war, was unable to satisfy her constituents’ demands that she impeach Bush, the presumed author of that war (and of the non-existent evidence). 

Pelosi’s reasoning? Impeachment proceedings, right off the bat, would’ve identified all those pro-war voters, like Hillary Clinton, who’d already voted to impeach themselves.

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By coco, December 4, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Iraq is the same way, as soon as we’re gone it goes back to the same.
I can understand Obama’s idea to lay it on the line. Give McCrystal the troops and lets see what happens. Most everyone would agree that the war is already lost, and can’t be won. Train their troops and pull out, if their troops take the training and leave the Afghanistan military without their help they will lose their own war. We can’t fight it for them. they need a dead line to put up their own interest. They are being given fare warning that we are pulling out.

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peterjkraus's avatar

By peterjkraus, December 4, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

Leaving Afghanistan is the only good way to end a bogged-down occupation. Waiting a year and a half to begin leaving Afghanistan is a ridiculous waste of human life, treasure and time better used at home.

When will we learn that militarism is negative, not positive? How long will it take until we realize that the power behind our leaders will again emanate from the voters, not the corporations, not the oligarchs and not the churches and cults?

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By Kanamachi, December 4, 2009 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

President Obama has missed an opportunity and has set himself up for failure. Despite the fact that al-Qaida can pretty much move anywhere at will and are
not even in Afghanistan in significant numbers, the US has got itself involved in a Taliban insurgency where 30,000 plus troops, let alone 100 years, will make no
difference in any outcome.

As I heard recently, the Taliban know we have the clocks, but they also know that
they have the time. Too bad that far too many more Afghans and Americans will
have their blood spilled in this meaningless war.

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By johannes, December 4, 2009 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

No body can win a war in this kind of countrys, its to big, and we don’t want to say it but they have friends all over the place, and we have only enemys.

If why place an other etnic in their middel, maby we can change things for an small time.

Or we must start thinking like the Great Mongol, cleaning all the humans out and replace them with friends.

But this is not going over winning a war, but over keep going the war money machine, and even our enemys do not understand this that they are used to make money, over their back and religion.

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

What kind of crap is this, when this is nothing, I mean nothing but a military
industrial congressional presidential financial complex ghost war for moving
money around to the the good ole white corporate boys living high and ‘mighty’
on the msm vegetable garden all the while laughing their collective asses off at
those vegetables?

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By ardee, December 4, 2009 at 3:41 am Link to this comment

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

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By jack, December 4, 2009 at 2:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: “But even if the surge works, why wouldn’t al-Qaida—or some like-minded
group—simply set up shop in Somalia?”

Mr. Eugene Robinson, this is such an obvious limited hangout - it’s widely
understood by now that al-Qaida is the CIA Arab Legion and patsy pool - The
Global War Of Terror is the biggest shell game of all time

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By ChaoticGood, December 3, 2009 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

We know they will move on when it gets too hot for them.  Then we will attack them again.  We get to set up military bases and “help” the hapless citizens to reap the “rewards” of Democracy at the point of a gun.
This is called Empire Building 101.
America must have stable markets all over the world and that is the prime directive.
Nothing else matters…

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