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McChrystal Doesn’t Get It—Does Obama?

Posted on Oct 29, 2009
AP / David Guttenfelder

U.S. Marines walk through the sand inside Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

By Scott Ritter

(Page 2)

Thus the solution itself becomes the problem, thereby creating a never-ending circular conflict which has the United States expending more and more resources to resolve a situation that has nothing to do with the reality on the ground in Afghanistan, and everything to do with crafting a politically viable salve for what is in essence a massive self-inflicted wound. It is the proverbial dog chasing after its own tail, a frustrating experience made even more so by the fact that any massive commitment of troops brings with it the fatal attachment of national pride, individual hubris and, worst of all, the scourge of domestic American politics, so that by the time this dog bites its tail, it will be so blinded by artificialities that rather than recognize its mistake, it will instead proceed to consume itself. In the case of Afghanistan, our consumption will be measured in the lives of American servicemen and women, national treasure, national honor, and, of course the lives of countless Afghan dead and wounded.

The manner in which McChrystal has peddled his plan for Afghanistan to the American media, and to Congress, may be politically savvy. It is certainly insubordinate. The decision to employ American military power is the sole prerogative of the American president. A general may offer advice, but any effort to engage the machinery of politics to pressure a sitting president defies the basic constitutional tenet of civilian control over the military. President Obama, once a constitutional law professor, should know as much, and would do well to severely reprimand McChrystal for his actions. Or better yet, Obama should fire McChrystal and replace him with someone who respects the rule of law and the chain of command.

Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but if he allows himself to be bullied into supporting McChrystal’s foray into Afghanistan, he will reveal himself as the worst kind of warmonger. True, he didn’t invent the Afghan quagmire. That honor resides with George W. Bush, who also is to blame for the American fiasco in Iraq. But history will be surprisingly gentle toward America’s 43rd president. Bush will share the blame for his calamitous military decisions with the mistaken policies of previous administrations, a compliant Congress, headstrong advisers, servile intelligence agencies and, of course, the shock of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Bush will be seen more as a useful idiot than a ruthless ideologue. Obama, with his obvious intelligence, soaring rhetorical skills and Nobel credentials, does not readily fit such a characterization. If he decides to reinforce failure in Afghanistan by dispatching tens of thousands more American troops to that disaster, America’s 44th president will cement himself as a grand fraud, a hawk hiding in dove feathers. Given his potential for doing good, one clearly would not want such a scenario to play out.

The president’s lack of military experience screams out when he calls America’s involvement in Afghanistan a “good war.” He would have been better off trying to make the case for a justifiable war, or even a necessary war, but to label a process that brings about the death and injury of thousands as “good” makes me wonder about Obama’s fitness to be commander in chief. His seeming inexperience on national security affairs and foreign policy leave him vulnerable to domestic political pressures that emanate from these arenas. The president does possess the vision to see a world in which America stands side by side with other nations as an equal, operating with a shared notion of due process and respect for the rule of law, but that doesn’t square with any decision to deploy more troops to Afghanistan. Expanding the war in Afghanistan will lend credence to the central worry about Obama: that, at the end of the day, this man of vision might in fact be little more than an Illinois politician who is willing to barter away American life, treasure and good will for political gain on the domestic front. And, in doing so, it will undermine his noble vision of an America “resetting” its relationship with the world following eight years of unilateralist militarism.


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A true leader, one with substance and gravitas, would be able to stand up to the combined pressure of the military, the right-wing of Congress and the American media. He would draw the correct conclusions from the lessons of history, which prove again and again that Afghanistan is not a problem that can be solved by foreign military intervention. The fact that Obama might be compelled to alleviate the political pressure he is receiving from these sources by condemning America to another decade of death and destruction in Afghanistan and, most probably, Pakistan, reinforces any perception of his weakness as a national leader.

Afghanistan has, over the centuries, earned its reputation as the graveyard of empires. Just ask the Greeks, Mongols, British and Russians. If Barack Obama ultimately agrees to dispatch more American troops to Afghanistan, he will ensure not only that America will add its name to the list of those who have failed in their effort to conquer the unconquerable, but also that his name will join the ranks of those leaders throughout history who succumbed to the temptations of hubris when given the choice between war and peace. The Nobel committee will have failed in its gambit to motivate America’s 44th president to embrace the mantle of peacemaker, and the American people will be left to sort through the detritus of war brought on by yet another failed president.

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By ardee, November 1, 2009 at 3:28 am Link to this comment

By MarthaA, October 31 at 5:12 pm #

The biggest bigots are judges.

By ardee, October 31 at 6:27 pm #

Bigotry includes those who hate judges too…Look up the damn word Martha….

By MarthaA, November 1 at 3:09 am #

Night-Gaunt, October 31 at 9:11pm,

So, do you hate judges, like ardee?

This is a prime example of a typical Martha dialogue….She cannot even remember her own position , perhaps because it is liable to vary with her dosage of the moment.

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By johannes, November 1, 2009 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

To Sepharad,

        As a American citizen its very difficult to think your self living in an tribu, all famelie, all to gether, this is coming from long long before our time, this Indo-Europeên tribes as the Pashtu, are direct rèlated to the Parthen and also to the four horse riders from the Apocalyps, the whole of the land just deep in to what now is China wash inhabited by Indo- Europeên people, the Tocharen where living in wath is now China.

People who live in an pseudo society as the American society is, can not easy understand wath it is to live and grow up in side an big famelie withs surrounds you and protect you, and on the same moment exercise a social controle.

If you compair people and way of the tribu’s in this wild lands, with our ( living) and (people) we have lost some where our road to something bether, we mis out every where nothing has any value left, money and power thats has become the contents of our lives.

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By drbhelthi, November 1, 2009 at 2:21 am Link to this comment

Those, who due to dumbidity, bribery, or a combination, are unable to apply the wisdom of the original inhabitants of the North American continent, to current day behavior, will never gain insight into the truth, or factuality. 

“- what you do speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say.” 

Americans are a bit slow at some things, having fallen prey to TV propaganda in the 1960s. A psychiatrist of German descent, Eric Wertheimer, wrote a book back then, explaining that American children would be ruined by the violence and propaganda on TV.  Dr. Wertheimer was so correct.  Now, forty years later, some folk are beginning to gain insight into this fact.  However, the concept applies to all children of the western world, not only to American children.

Those American children of forty years ago are todays overweight middle-agers, who have permitted their health to be removed by TV propaganda and fast-foods, and their rights to have been removed by the fraudulent, GHWBush family, of NAZI family lineage, traceable to a dorf SE of Leipzig.

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By DaveZx3, November 1, 2009 at 2:03 am Link to this comment

I agree with about everything Ritter says.  Afghanistan really looks like another Vietnam to me.  It has most of the same puzzle pieces. 

Not sure of the validity of the oil connection, but would not doubt it. 

Trouble is, Obama is screwed.  He is not the decisive, unifying man that is needed right now.  As someone mentioned, if he goes dove, and there is another 9/11, he and everyone who supported him will be toast.  If he goes McChrystal, we are in for something I don’t even want to start considering. 

A subtle enemy is observing.  First sign of the dove, and I believe we get targeted for the big one.  They know it will cripple Obama and it will cripple the country as well.  So he goes with McChrystal, and we pay for the next 20 years.  6 of one, half dozen of the other. 

Our whole country is being played by forces we have absolutely no control over anymore.  Why are we allowing this thing to be played out in the media? 

Why did McChrystal publicize his 40,000 troop request/plan?  These are the things that real warriors discuss in private with their commander-in-chief.  Why allow an enemy to see all the agonizing you must do over war?  We have done this from the 1960’s.  All our agony and indecisiveness has to be played over the airwaves. 

If we must have enemies that are committed to our destruction, then we had better learn how to wage war like true warriors.  Otherwise, back off, close the borders, heal the internal wounds, establish a robust national economy and start cracking the gates open again after we get that all taken care of.

Obama.  Take note.  I did not vote for you, but I think you are capable of being a good president if you would focus on one thing at a time.  It is better to do one thing excellent than a dozen things half-assed.  Find out what the people want to get done most, and do it.  If it is kick the shit out of the Taliban then do it.  Do it fast and hard and get it done.  Otherwise, get the hell out.  No one is interested in a 10 year war. 

My gut feeling is that the people would like to get out of debt, personally and nationally.  I hate being in debt to China.

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By truedigger3, November 1, 2009 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

It seems that someone in truthdig instead of moving the site clock backward, S/he had moved it forward.

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By truedigger3, November 1, 2009 at 1:20 am Link to this comment

Sepharad wrote:
“Here, for the moment, oil is not the topic: the topic is eliminating the recruiting and action power of Al Quaeda and others determined to attack us and our friends.”

NO Sepharad NO, oil and routes for its pipelines and bases to protect them is the topic and will always be the topic in this part of the world.
Iraq hated Al Quaeda and supported no terrorists operating against the United States. Remember!!
Oil can be bougth, but NO, some individuals insist on getting it almost for free and they want to control all the oil of the world which will mean perpetual wars for a long time to come unless this policy is changed.
I am baffled why such smart and highly educated individuals like you, shynonemous and ITW keep spouting illogical nonsense that contradicts the simplest commonsense. Is it because of your zionist blinders and biases or because you have careers that MIGHT be jeopardized if you spoke your mind or because of both??!!

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By drbhelthi, November 1, 2009 at 1:58 am Link to this comment

The most thoroughly-researched presentation on the
current Bush-Rumsfeld-Obama fraudulent “swine-flu”
attempt at small-scale genocide, is found at:

Dr. Gary Null is the most thorough researcher that I have encountered in the last twenty years of my
involvement in the health industry. Herewith, I add him to my two other very fine, American researchers of Jewish lineage, Mae Brussell and Sherman Skolnick. It was Mae B. who in 1981 uncovered the sinister role of the CIA in the future of the world, and Sherman B. who cleaned the jurisprudence system in Illinois approx. thirty years ago.

In his current presentation, Dr. Null also reveals
that the only parties who have been “helped” via the plunge into wholesale vaccination while millions have been harmed and killed, are pharma
industry, and sinister individuals such as Mr.
Donald Rumsfeld. Mister Rumsfeld is the father of
aspartame, found in 6,000 foods and beverages
around the world, under five different names, thought to be a major cause of fibromyalga. Fibromyalgia afflicts millions around the world.  Mister Donald Rum is the “father” of tamiflu, estimated to have profitted him in the vicinity of 40 million dollars, up til now. Of course, the fraudulent tamiflu will be misused in the fraudulent “swine-flu scam,” shoveling additional $$ into Rumsfeld´s accounts in swiss banks and elsewhere. He is also the father of torture that has been used on the illegal prisoners in Guantanamo, and secret “other” locations, generating numerous fraudulent “confessions”. 

Dr. Null also reveals how many thousands of American soldiers were misused as guinea pigs for various “vaccines,” which I know to have been not vaccines, but rather US bioweapon lab creations.

Love those thorough, Jewish-American researcher types ! And all others of them who are patriotic Americans !

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By Folktruther, November 1, 2009 at 1:41 am Link to this comment

You are looking on the same bright side, de profundus, as Chalmrs Johnson in his trilogy, the lat book of which is NEMISIS.  He predicts bankruptsy stopping US imperialism.  We are over halfway there, and Obama’s last budget is the largest percentage of GDP since 1993.

It’s astonishing the damage one presidental regime can do, the Bushites getting the US in two quagmire wars, enormoust debt, monstrous inequality, and a culture of corruption, irrationality and oppression.

And Obama is continuing his policies.  At a time when the US needs decisive and strong leadership to turn back Bushism, we are given a public relations lightweight whose task is to spout inspiring bullshit.  Two bad leaders in a row.  He may well finish what Bush started.

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By drbhelthi, November 1, 2009 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

Right-on, Rontruth!
However, the NAZI machine, with two accomplice
organizations, that has overtaken the US since
“Operation Paper-Clip,” controls the public media,
and the fraudulent “Federal Reserve.” They also
control both houses of the US Congress, the US
military, Homeland Security, and several state
governments. They are trying to overtake state and
sheriff police systems, and running into increasing
resistance- which is strengthening. Getting the
desire and intent of patriotic Americans to the
attention of “our” congressional representatives
requires millions more written letters to them. WE
MUST DO THIS, folks !!!

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By de profundis clamavi, November 1, 2009 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

Look on the bright side. If Obama is too weak willed to resist the militarists, the continuation of the Afghan war looks more and more likely to produce the same result for the American empire as it achieved for the Soviet Union - collapse and dissolution.

While our government and media make every effort to channel our thinking so that we identify what they refer to as “American interests” as somehow being good for us, the 99% of Americans who are not members of the wealthy and powerful elite, the simple truth is that the American empire, and the $650 billion annual military budget, 700 plus foreign military bases, permanent war economy and endless foreign wars of choice, are one side of the equation that has, on the other side, the insolvency of the government, the impoverishment of the working class, the bleeding of the middle class, and the refusal of the governing class to provide essentials of health, education, welfare, job security, social justice and environmental responsibility.

The collapse of the American government through bankruptcy would, in the short term, cause great suffering, but it would at least hold a possibility for a political realignment of the American public against the financial/corporate/militarist elite.

It looks like Obama’s objecive is to save American capitalism from itself by ameliorating just enough of the system’s grotesque injustices to keep it from collapsing. That’s not a very inspiring vision of Change and I do not believe in it. If that’s the best Obama can do, it might be better just to the whole edifice come crashing down.

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By MarthaA, November 1, 2009 at 12:09 am Link to this comment

Night-Gaunt, October 31 at 9:11pm,

So, do you hate judges, like ardee?

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By jimch, October 31, 2009 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment

Scott is exactly right. Before Bush’s gang decided on invading this country, it was my contention that this should not be undertaken, for it would be an exercise in futility, and as costly to us as it was for the Soviets, with the same end result. There were other methods for dealing with the situation other than putting boots on the ground.
Even now that we have put the troops there, the tactics are misguided and outright horse dung. In my opinion, the leadership stinks. The assignments given the troops and the tactics for prosecuting them are misguided and foolish. And I don’t think Patreus deserves General status either.
You know, if, after 5 or 6 years of our being in the country, the people haven’t built a military to combat the Taliban, the message there is they just don’t give a shit. And it isn’t up to us to convince them that they should. We’re long overdue for getting our troops out of there.
Maybe, if we’re lucky, some of our congressmen will read and heed Scott’s missive.

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By Rontruth, October 31, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Quixotic. I could not agree with you more. The CIA, which is the violent, obedient footstool/handmaiden Agency that uses lying tradecraft (counter-intelligence, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism) to force the will of American corporate interests (who use the power of “donations” to tell Congress what to do) on third world nations, was threatened by really only one president: John F. Kennedy.

This is why I bring up the subject as often as I do. That students of government should study every document from his administration to see how he might have made his moves in a better way as to encompass the outlaw CIA, and it’s Hooverized servant, the FBI, with enough authority as to place it under a president’s orders rather than the other way around as it is now. He was so angry at the CIA for lying to him such that it cost the lives of American CIA assets and Cubans as well, that he threatened to simply destroy it and create some other kind of foreign intelligence organization.

Instead, the oil corporations whose extractions taxes he planned to have Congress raise, got with Johnson and his CIA/mafia buddies and hired him killed after setting up Oswald to take the blame.

Kennedy was a stubborn, if outgoing and friendly man.
He decided that he had the power to make peace with enemy nations. The CIA was told by the vested corporate interests in such intermational organizations as Permindex, Inc. that Kennedy had to go. Mousad, the Rockefellers, the interatioal drug trade that funneled money through such luminary money-launderers as Ramone Rodriguez who worked for the man whose last name is also the title of the CIA’s headquarters at Langely, Virginia, were all involved. The CIA/mafia shooters were the low men on the totem pole.

If, by any strange twist of morally fibrous luck, the American people were to rise up, demand that Congress set up a national plebiscite election to answer one question: Do you or do you not want James E. Files, Arlen Specter (the only living, albeit lower level member of the infamous Warren (C)Ommmission left, and the man whose name is also that of the CIA’s headquarters, be investigated by a Texas Grand Jury for their involvement in the Kennedy killing, and tried if sufficient evidence is found, and if found guilty duly punished, you would then find a completely changed presidency.

That would lead to a Congress that would llikely pass laws outlawing all political donations to anyone or any party or cause. The taxpayers would foot the bill. That would lead to no more smoke-filled backrooms where decisions are made today.

The real first step is yours and mine. Congress: 202-224-3121, plus your elected Representative’s name and district or state. Tell them your next vote on elections coming up depends on what they do.

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By Steve, October 31, 2009 at 9:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Look - we don’t have to do ANYTHING in Afghanistan or Pakistan!

All we have to do is pull our troops and equipment out and bring them home before this debacle turns into another Vietnam, which many might have forgotten, and the younger ones don’t even know, is a WAR WE LOST at INCREDIBLE COST in lives and money.

They don’t want us there and we have no right whatsoever to be interfering in their affairs.

This crap about stopping Al Quaida from taking root there is nothing more than a weak excuse to try to justify our presence because we’re supposed to believe that Al Quaida is still a threat and we wouldn’t look very good if we admitted we are really there to secure an oil pipeline so we can continue to drive gas guzzlers, and to give money to the military industrial sector which simply wouldn’t exist without wars.

We have NOT won the war in Iraq and we will NOT win a war in Afghanistan, because we’re not fighting those wars for a valiant reason. We will not even be afforded an opportunity to PRETEND that we have won.

It’s real good that Obama was shown saluting our fallen because it’s time that MASSIVE attention was given to those men and women that are being brought home in boxes for the sake of politics and corporate profits.

I just hope he thinks long and hard before sending another 40,000 to risk their lives for our “freedom”.

Freedom from what? Future attacks against us? Come on - how big is Al Quaida as an organization? Do you want to tell me that we can zoom in on houses from spy sattellites in space, but the full might of the American Military, backed by the CIA and the Secret Service cannot pinpoint a small terrorist group and wipe them out - in EIGHT YEARS???

We are more than capable of defending our country and our citizens RIGHT HERE on American soil. We do not have to be over there, pissing Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis off, to do so.

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By Leefeller, October 31, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

Sephard, from what I understand, attempting worth while negotiations with the Taliban has been portrayed as next to impossible, for they have been described to be a snake having many different heads or many leaders or elusive people in charge, (if I was a Taliban, I would be evasive as hell) this may just be another propaganda media illusion, could someone clear this up?

Promoted fear from the media has become very tiring, it seems they do not know their arises from a hole in the ground, it seems the special interests prefer it to be that way!
Fear used to discount just about everything from immigration, Heath coverage to war, fear seems to be most profitable, we should have a fear week sort of like bosses week, how about promoting fear of fear, maybe fear mongers can double their money!

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By Thrashertm, October 31, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment

Great article! Obama has American blood on his hands with each and every additional death of a US solider. They are fighting and dying for corporate interests (oil pipeline), not the interests of the American people. We must bring our troops home from the 700 bases spread through 130 countries and defend this country.

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By Carol DW, October 31, 2009 at 6:41 pm Link to this comment

Well done Scott! Great article.
Perceptions of weakness? Obama has done nothing but cave to every special interest; Wall Street and the banksters, the war criminals from the last administration, the drug manufacturers,health insurers, the CIA and the Pentagon. McChystal is one of a long line of agressive bullies.
Even if Obama reversed direction on everything he’s done wrong tomorrow, it would take the rest of his presidency to convince the vested interests that he isn’t a pushover.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 31, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Actually you will find MarthaA that reality is far more flexible and complex than your simplistic notions. Judges are loved or hated depending upon their rulings. I for one don’t hate so automatically anyway and hate is a very strong word to use so easily and so often.

Many Conservatives when they can’t find their own to be judges want them marginalized.

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By Blackspeare, October 31, 2009 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Every US president needs a war to keep the military happy.  What is the use of maintaining a most formidable army in terms of manpower, equipment and cost and not have an outlet for it’s use!  Afghanistan, like Obama said is a “good” war in that the US military has a chance to hone it’s expertise, field test new equipment and let the military flex it’s muscle with a minimum of casualties——a perfect venue for the military!

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By Quixotic, October 31, 2009 at 6:01 pm Link to this comment

AfPak is a mess and there is really no good way out, but more dead troops and dead civilians will loose hearts and minds there and over here. What I wish we could talk about is the trade off between illegal drugs fueling the Taliban and corruption in the Afghanistan “government” and drug war in Mexico. Instead we are trying to tell starving farmers in multiple countries that the gun welding thugs who have bags of money, are their enemy meanwhile we give billions to the police that allow or perpetrate horrid crimes against these same farmers. That the CIA is paying off drug runners (the CIA with guns and bags of money) should be the final straw that gets us to do what Portugal did and legalize all drugs and treat the addicts instead of creating a black market money where that fuels thugs in the CIA, Afghanistan or Mexico. When will we realize that the CIA is causing more trouble than it solves.

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By MarthaA, October 31, 2009 at 5:42 pm Link to this comment

ardee, October 31 at 6:27pm,

ardee said: “Bigotry includes those who hate judges too…Look up the damn word”

MarthaA’s answer:  WOW! Does YOUR dictionary say bigots hate judges?  Really?  What kind of a dictionary is that? ——one you picked up at a truck stop?

All conservative EXTREMIST bigots against Liberals and the Left love judges, I never would have thought YOU, a lumpen-proletariat truck driving Conservative would have a dictionary that would say all bigots hate judges.

You might want to check, because there is a good possibility your dictionary is a Bubba Webster— a generic subjective dictionary of a sort without any objective reality.  No wonder it makes you curse the words, sounds like a highly unreliable source of information, maybe you should look into getting a more Liberal dictionary.

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By Sepharad, October 31, 2009 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

What worries me (among many other things) is how prone President Obama seems to be to the last conversation he has had, the most recent experience, etc. One day he is aggressive re possibly expanding the war in Afghanistan, the next he is seen saluting the coffin of an American soldier being unloaded at Dover, with the accompanying story implying he is rethinking the whole venture, one day he likes General McCrystal’s demeanor or ideas or possibly both ... I understand and respect his interest in gathering as much information from various points of view as possible. But at some point, and soon, that information has to be analyzed in a context both historical and pragmatic, and acted on.

The one area of discussion that seems curiously lacking is precisely what we have to do and where in Afghanistan/Waziristan/Pakistan for our own interests as well as those of our allies in and out of NATO. This is not the moment to redefine or launch the old war against drugs. The issue isn’t that no one will respect us if we look weak, but that no one will ever respect or trust us again if we act stupidly, damaging our or our friends’ interests. Here, for the moment, oil is not the topic: the topic is eliminating the recruiting and action power of Al Quaeda and others determined to attack us and our friends. This involves keeping nuclear tech out of Sunni extremist hands at the moment (probably too late for keeping it away from Shiia extremists now). The Taliban seem most concerned with Afghanistan and that part of Waziristan that is basically Pashtu, unlike Urdu Pakistan.

This is what the President should be asking General McCrystal and other experienced analysts who have an understanding of the relevant areas and cultures: What would it take to make a deal with the Taliban to not protect Al Quaeda leaders anywhere in Pashtu territory, and to stabilize Pakistan and back them in their fight with the Pashtu as well as Urdu extremists who want to attack Westerners and Western interests and other countries in the area such as India? Once that question is answered, the President should act on it, the look around his own country and see what nation-building we can afford right here, and what he can do to keep Wall Street from ripping off this country the next time around.

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By liecatcher, October 31, 2009 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment

McChrystal Doesn’t Get It—Does Obama?

Posted on Oct 29, 2009 By Scott Ritter

Hey Scott Ritter:

One absolute certainly is that whatever Bush 3 does,
it will

help Wall Street & harm Main Street, which is already

beyond bankrupt from all the permanent wars &

every increasing number of military bases around the

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By ardee, October 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment

Bigotry includes those who hate judges too…Look up the damn word Martha….

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By MarthaA, October 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm Link to this comment

The biggest bigots are judges.

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By ardee, October 31, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, October 31 at 10:16 am #

When bigots come out of the closet, only bigots listen!

Cryptic and not at all my philosophy…All should listen and respond with intelligence, passion and truth, forcing the bigot back under his/her rock. Bigotry must be cleansed from our culture, our world in fact.

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By Virginia from Virginia, October 31, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

What has always confounded me is that politicians, putting their reelection first and foremost, vote for war instead of peace.  These politicians rightly speculate that their war vote is the path to reelection.

What does that say about us Americans?  How is it we prefer war to peace?

Mr. Ritter, you are a lonely sane voice in a bewildering sea of illogical, cruel, worsening craziness.  Stay your course, please, Mr. Ritter.

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By scotttpot, October 31, 2009 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

It*s the media that is creating the quagmire.They frame the debate and pick the pundits.More than half of America has figured out that both wars were a mistake and we should cut our losses and get out.The media won*t let go of it. Terrorism will always be with us and doesn*t need Afghanistan for a base to launch attacks.

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By Virginia from Virginia, October 31, 2009 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

“McChrystal’s resume and persona (..... a tireless athlete and a scholar)...... Reporters depict him as an ascetic soldier who spouts words of wisdom to rival Confucius, Jesus and Muhammad.”

Mr. Ritter, Are you suggesting that McChrystal is among “The Best and the Brightest” ?


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By omop, October 31, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment













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By Leefeller, October 31, 2009 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

When bigots come out of the closet, only bigots listen!

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By ardee, October 31, 2009 at 7:11 am Link to this comment

Whatever your POV, 6 years ago the war in Afghanistan to crush Al Qaeda and their patrons, the Taliban was working.

Well, speaking of points of view, this conjecture posted as fact is not altogether reliable I fear. True we ousted the Taliban from their position of power in Afghanistan, installing in their place a puppet govt. rife with corruption and holding sway over a very small portion of that nation. The Taliban and AlQaeda had fled to Pakistan but does that mean what Inherit The Wind, October 30 at 11:50 pm implies, that we were winning?

Only the fullness of time, the strategies employed and the obvious impossibility of predicting an alternate future in which we did not turn our attention to Iraq could possibly assert we were winning. The Taliban has proven itself rather capable of continuing to oppose, militarily and otherwise, the reign of Karsai over Kabul and a few miles outward from its strongholds in Waziristan. It is possible that our staying in Afghanistan would have made this task more difficult, but who knows what the reactions of the population to our presence would mean for the success of this task? Not I , not ITW , but we will sadly see ,I fear, what an escalation of numbers of boots on the ground will mean in the future.

My own prediction, also conjecture, but I readily admit such, is that military solutions to such extremism will bring only abject failure along with deaths in the millions.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 31, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

drbhelthi, October 31 at 8:56 am #

No, Rontruth, your first sentence is NOT what I wrote.
However, I agree with the remainder of your clarifications. You are right on point !

However, someone needs to mention the zionists again. They are the ones wreaking havoc in the western world, and with their own tribesmen, many of whom are slinking away from the mainstream and their control. Of course, there is a duplicity of membership in some of the fanatical, dictator-type organisations. The old saying, “birds of a feather flock together” is much more than just redundant palaver.

Yeah, and you STILL claim you’re not a neo-nazi anti-semitic racist?

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By drbhelthi, October 31, 2009 at 5:56 am Link to this comment

No, Rontruth, your first sentence is NOT what I wrote.
However, I agree with the remainder of your clarifications. You are right on point !

However, someone needs to mention the zionists again. They are the ones wreaking havoc in the western world, and with their own tribesmen, many of whom are slinking away from the mainstream and their control. Of course, there is a duplicity of membership in some of the fanatical, dictator-type organisations. The old saying, “birds of a feather flock together” is much more than just redundant palaver.

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By johannes, October 31, 2009 at 2:58 am Link to this comment

The Bilderberg group is named afther an Hotel-restaurant in the Netherlands, in this group are places only for the very rich and their servants, our Queen is one of them.

How is it possible that they some rich and even royal people good fabricated Cocaîne and selling this to all fighting armys in that time, its in 1914-1918 that this happened in the Netherlands.

The same fabric made speed tablets fot the Germans in the second world war.

This is find out very resently, but this stream of not known criminal fact is enorm, if we do not stand up one of this days they will kill us all, and start with new enslaved people.

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By truedigger3, October 31, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

I have noticed in this thread that there is no match between the increase in postings count and the ACTUAL number of postings that have been posted, the first is much higher than the second.
Is truthdig censoring some of the posts or there is a problem in the computer programs managing truthdig postings??!

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By quem, October 30, 2009 at 10:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

WAR WAR MORE WAR that is the agenda since the end of WW11.the US has attacked over 45 countries and now it’s getting bases in Columbia. WAR WAR MORE WAR. MONEY MONEY MONEY. It’s the end of Amerika.

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By Ouroborus, October 30, 2009 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a link to an article in The Onion; POLITICS
U.S. Continues Quagmire-Building Effort In
Inherit The Wind, October 30 at 11:50 pm #
“Whatever your POV, 6 years ago the war in
Afghanistan to crush Al Qaeda and their patrons, the
Taliban was working.  But George W. Bush, in his
idiotic determination to start a pointless, criminal,
and unnecessary war in Iraq, DRAINED THE MILITARY

That’s all you have to know: Before the job was done
(however you define the job and what “done” means)
the means to complete it were removed.  Now, 6 years
later, you cannot put them back—it’s a very different
Afghanistan now.”
Spot on!

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By TJ1, October 30, 2009 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The lesson from Vietnam that has yet to be learned is, no commitment
of military force is reasonable unless it is in support of a vital national
interest, their are no viable alternatives likely to protect that interest,
and that there is a probability of success in protecting that interest at a
reasonable cost measured in blood and treasure.

The corollary is that the American people have to be informed and
educated on this analysis early and often.

In the absence of this, warmongers fill the void and poison rational
decision making in matters that can literally put the future of our
nation at stake.

From what i have heard of the McChrystal plan, he has not learned this lesson; it doesn’t make sense to try to “Westernize” a collection of tribes and clans that are unthinkingly called a nation.  There is a low probability of success in this approach at a reasonable cost. 

The American people are not getting their money’s worth from investment in the West Point War College, if that’s the best he can come up with.

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By Leefeller, October 30, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

ITW, for what it is worth, my sentiment ditto! Pull the troops out now.  My son went to school with one of the military personal killed last week, so it sucks even worse now being so close to home!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 30, 2009 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

While most of the posts here contain infantile attempts to paint Obama as all kinds of things he is not, and since Rontruth is here with his own brand of paranoid delusions to destroy ANY rational discussion, a little simple, cold analysis is needed.

Anyone who has ever read ANY translation of Sun-Tzu will instantly recognize the problem of a continued war in Afghanistan: an opportunity lost, and lost 6 years ago.

Whatever your POV, 6 years ago the war in Afghanistan to crush Al Qaeda and their patrons, the Taliban was working.  But George W. Bush, in his idiotic determination to start a pointless, criminal, and unnecessary war in Iraq, DRAINED THE MILITARY RESOURCES FROM AFGHANISTAN IN MARCH OF 2003!

That’s all you have to know: Before the job was done (however you define the job and what “done” means) the means to complete it were removed.  Now, 6 years later, you cannot put them back—it’s a very different Afghanistan now.

Opportunity lost, and lost 6 years ago.  Time to get out. No other analysis is needed.  This meets the needs of both necessary and sufficient conditions.

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By BeanerECMO, October 30, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment

Ritter is a dolt. I thought at the time of the post inspection hearings that Biden shat on Ritter when he stated that the decisions to be made were above Ritter’s pay grade. As time went on, I had to agree with Joe; Ritter knows little if anything about what it takes to defend this country from without. The problem is that we’re being destroyed from the inside as well. Yes, I know Scotty was a Marine; so what. Benedict Arnold was a soldier. He needs to let go of his 15 minutes.

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By ThomasG, October 30, 2009 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment

President Obama will be fine if he will get together with Congressman Alan Grayson and Senator Al Franken, take lessons on stiffening up his spine from Grayson and Franken and represent the best interests of the masses of the population of the United States, rather than the interests of Wall Street and private Capital.

With regard to Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, I also think that Alan Grayson and Al Franken together with Howard Dean and others that represent the masses of the population of the United States, rather than Special Interests and Corporatists would provide better council to President Obama.

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By Rontruth, October 30, 2009 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment

drbthelhi.. You say that Obama doesn’t meet the needs of the Bilderbergers? Their purpose is one and the same as that of the Illuminati, formed back in the late 1800s’ finding their footprint in the organizations known as The Bilderberg Group and Skull and Bomes. The effort has been made, up til recently when some illuminated students and some others covertly filmed and recorded some of the more lurid sexual and other things that went on in “The Tomb,” the center of Skull and Bomes.

They do for the Bilderbergers what what James E. Files, Charles Nicoletti, David Atlee Phillips, David Sanchez Morales, Frank F. Sturgis, E. Howard Hunt (though he denied having any proactive role, along with Cord Myer, and Lyndon B. Johnson did for the military industrial warmongers on November 22, 1963. In fact, many of the Skull and Bonermen were part of the CIA in leadership positions at the time the assassination happened.

But, I agree with you that Obama does, probably because he feels he has little choice, what these groups tell him to. President Bill Clinton was a member of the Bilderberg Group while president. With Skull and Bonesmen hidden in the shadows, would you or I, or anyone do much differently than Obama has?

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By drbhelthi, October 30, 2009 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

While Rontruth explains why H.B. “cut out” of his campaigning schedule to hobknob with the Bilderbergers and Order of Skull and Bones, I suspect he wanted to simply elbow with “like kinds.” Since he is not a boy 10-13 years old, he doesnt meet the needs of many Skull and Boners. Nor have I heard of an Onasis-type among the Bilderbergers sniffing his wife, who did not stem from their “tribe.”

When taking into consideration the recent placing of Northcom, the numerous sheriffs allegedly demanding that National Guard troops take over their duties while they and deputy pimps shake-down the local citizenry, plus the many FEMA stalags - with or without crematoriums - I do not have the optimism of either Jimbob or Johannes.

Jimbob, about a future day when Obama will decide to withdraw from wherever and McChristal will follow his orders? Remember, Obama takes his orders from the Bilderberger group. Nor Johannes, who is concerned with whom will be elected after Obama - - ?  I am more concerned with how many Americans are to be genocided with the four toxic, alleged “swine-flu vaccinations,” and if there will be another “fixed or unfixed” presidential election in the US - - .

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By Rosemary Molloy, October 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Omop is right.  We kill Asians and Muslims.  We’ve been doing it for years, but recently it’s gotten even more blatant and the American public seems ever more accepting of it.  We’re murderers.  We should be ashamed.  I am ashamed.

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By glider, October 30, 2009 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Regarding Obama’s balls. 

He does have them in a perverse way.  They are on display in that his policy stances are, in spite of being a “Democrat”, to the right of public opinion.  So we have the major issues of the day, financial service largess/bailouts, public health, and the MIC war machine being sold to the right of public opinion by Obama.  That certainly does take some balls!  By contrast Bush’s balls were on display, in a way that was entirely consistent with being a “Republican”, and to the right of public opinion.  So Obama’s balls must be bigger than Bush’s balls because he is more capable of flipping the bird at his supporter base.  Kapish?

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By Rontruth, October 30, 2009 at 2:58 pm Link to this comment

The whiteman’s disease is not a burden he was given. U tus a disease (I think you are right), but it is also a disease empowered by the greed and violent tendencies of corporate military-intelligence-industrial organizations, and their well funded miniions in Congress. Obama is part and parcel of that mix.

I think that both truth in government, and democracy itself, will go on living a kind of uneasy truce as long as the “leaders” go on doing the double-talking; serving the monied interests, and guaranteeing our Constitutional rights as long as the Constitution does’nt get in their way.

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By JimBob, October 30, 2009 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment

As much as I agree about McChrystal not being the man for the job, and that his “leak” was tantamount to insubordination—I also remember the generals and advisors Bush fired because they dared to suggest a policy that wasn’t in line with what he’d already decided to do.  I realize there are gaping chasms of difference; at the same time I kind of admire Obama for not being afraid to have dissent voices, contrarian voices remain in high places.  He may well need McChrystal’s skills when the day comes to withdraw from Afghanistan and yes, it is Obama’s decision ultimately and McChrystal will follow orders even if he doesn’t agree with them.

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By anyman8, October 30, 2009 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The military only knows how to fight wars, not remake societies or create democracies, so any latitude provided in the US military budget allowing such flights of fancy by commanders is a total waste of resources. Stanley McChrystal is no different, educated nearly exclusively in the theory and practice of war. For Barack Obama to allow McChrystal, or any military commander, to decide what will be America’s policy in dealing with other sovereign nations, particularly ones which have not attacked us, or initiated hostile actions toward us, is not only politically damaging to him and his party, but immoral, unethical, and an indictment about Obama’s character and ability to lead. Afghanistan is a place where empires go to die, and fail, and if Osama bin Laden once called it home, he no longer does and so we should be out of there.

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By johannes, October 30, 2009 at 1:27 pm Link to this comment

I am looking a little bid farther as that my nose is long, for whom will the American citizen vote afther Obama, afther yes we can, what will it be than, freedom for all, or every body rich, wath a bunch of stupid emptyheads they are.

You have to belief in something in this short shity live, I can understand this, but It has to stop to take whole countrys by their nose, you can as a respectable men not prommesing the people who vote for you and doing the opposite, and as a President you have to swear to do as you say so, its gething out of bounch and dangeres.

He needs a shot for his bow, to wake him up, and geth him in line.

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By TAO Walker, October 30, 2009 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment

Anybody here who has ever tried to have a sensible conversation with a mean drunk will recognize immediately the utter futility of “reasoning” with the CONtrollers of the run-amok “defense” CONtraption doing what it does in AFPak….and a lot of other places, too.  These “individuals” are on a MISSION!, which is in-essence to expunge from their own crippled psyches all memory of the humiliating defeats inflicted on them by lightly-armed Native Peoples….from The Little Bighorn to Korea to Viet Nam. Grenada and Panama and The Gulf War, of course, fell pitifully short of accomplishing that Sisyphean task, so it’s on to AfghaniPakistan. 

In South Viet Nam the U.S. military rushed in to replace the failed French, who had exploited that country ruthlessly for generations but had finally exhausted even the famous Gallic potential for committing colonialist atrocities….and so had their asses handed to them in no uncertain terms.  In Afghanistan it is of course the Brits whose empire came to ultimately terminal grief at the Khyber Pass….but over a century later (and already too late by as much) “The Yanks are comin’!” to finally force those recalcitrant mountain Peoples to CONcede once-and-for-all the god-ordained supremacy of theangloamericanway.

What’s going on here in these latter days has nothing really to do with such abstractions as politics and other ideological and institutional make-believe.  It is, rather, the consequence of what the law refers to as “a mental disease or defect” which renders those afflicted with it incapable of behaving in any other fashion.  Such is the CONdition of U.S. officialdom….civilian and otherwise.  The “....huddled masses” in both places also have a pretty severe case of whiteman’s burden/manifest destiny.

It is probable there are few among the “target” peoples not completely aware they are beset by heavily armed psycho/sociopaths hell-bent on self- and “other”-destruction….and this is not a reference to those hapless “troops” induced by remote CONtrol to do the on-the-ground dirty-work.  Even Scott Ritter here suggests the “problem” is at least as much “psychological” as it is institutional.  This Old Indian is saying flat-out it is nothing but MADness in its entirety.

Barack Obama would still be community-organizing on Chicago’s South Side if he hadn’t shown himself to be both infected-by and a carrier-of this disease….with a willingness to use any means necessary to force as many people as possible to keep him and his kind company in their self-inflicted misery.  He sure as hell wouldn’t be Commander-In-Chief of the apparatus most instrumental in “globalizing” the epidemic.

Philosophy cannot touch this plague.  There is real Medicine that will cure it.  When the domesticated peoples are sick-and-tired of being sick, and tired, us surviving free Wild Human Beings will be ready to administer it.


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By ridgerunner, October 30, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

One (of the many) problem with Obama is that he is not satified with being the first African-American president - he wants to be the first American Dictator - and he is working diligently to accomplish that goal.

Of course, it helps that Nutst Nancy (Pelosi) and Hopeless Harry (Reid) are happily assisting him to attain that goal and all the other Democratic lemmings (masquarading as members of Congress and Senators) obediently fall into line and march like good marionettes.

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By glider, October 30, 2009 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment

The details of power control behind the scenes are of course obscure to the public, as they are meant to be.  While I don’t fancy myself as a knee jerk conspiracy theorist, I do tend to believe that not all presidential assassinations are necessarily the product of lone nuts.  And you are likely right that Obama may well be aware of that risk.  That is where the “guts” part comes into play!

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By omop, October 30, 2009 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment

Its the 950 billion on top of ....lets put the whole debacle in real perspective…
the US following imbecilic formulated policies(?) has been, for over 25/30 years
engaged in KILLING MUSLIMS/ARABS AND ASIANS. The cost so far over 900
billion dollars defense experts claim.

The rate of killings is around 30/40 a day for some time now. Those being
killed are described, as Terrorists, Taliban, Al Queda, poppy growers,
fundamentalists and assorted other names that overshadows the fact that they

Scott Ritter was right about Iraq and is right on the money on Afghanistan.
Obama is in a box and the only way out is;- TO GET THE HELL OUT OF

The deaths of US Miltary and the staggering costs preclude any rational
discussion of who it the Bushites, the Mcchrystals or the Obamas. THE

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By rolmike, October 30, 2009 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

Obambi campaigned on winning in A’stan. For whatever reasons. He put himself in a spot he can’t get out of. Of course he’s a bit of a fraud, but the people who voted for him are the dumbest sheep on earth for stuffing their minds with the dope of hope.

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By Martha532, October 30, 2009 at 11:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scott Ritter is the only sane voice around.  He was right before 9/11 and he is right now.  I never believed the crap coming from Cheney’s bunker and GW’s mouth to begin with.  They had ample warning and still let it happen to enrich themselves.  They have no conscience and need to be tried as war criminals because that is exactly what they are - no question.  They ignored all the warnings, put up roadblocks to stop all dissent and did nothing to investigate the perpetrators.

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By Carl, October 30, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Since the beginning of the year, our spending there has tripled, troops have tripled, yet deaths have tripled and now we are told the Taliban is stronger.

Is the solution more of the same?

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By Rontruth, October 30, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Glider. I agree with you that Obama has the ability and the support of his overall constituencies, to grame the Afghanistan debate in such a way as to withdraw from Afghanistan with effective political support.

However, I recall that toward the end of his presidential campaign, while still a primary candidate, that while he was supposedly headed into the north central states, that he was due to appear at some local event in a certain city, perhaps in Illinois, or Michigan, or somewhere near there, that he failed to show up. News reporters were scurrying around trying to figure out where he was. He was due at several locations, but did not show up. It turned out that he had apparently met with members of the “Bilderberg Group.”

They are the top secret organization of government and business leaders who get together in top secret locations every year and decide which regions of the world there needs to be some forms of changes to, and how those changes will take place. The Bilderbergers are the deciders and the Order of Skull and Bones are their enforcers. It’s been that way for a very long time.

It’s not that Obama doesn’t have a good set of them. It’s that he doesn’t want to end up where the last president (#35, JFK) ended up when he stood up to their power.

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By glider, October 30, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

Ritter is right about our system (the legislature, MIC, and media) collaborating on this preposterous adventurism.  However, despite that powerful force the public consensus is against this war.  McCrystal is not the issue.  This is 100% Obama’s abomination now. 

The great Obama disappointment is that he has committed his great oratorical skills to rationalizing our sick corporatocracy to the public.  That is the essence of progressive’s negative reaction to his presidency.  Many people continue to give him a pass.  But it is entirely within Obama’s abilities to properly frame the issue and withdraw from the conflict with massive public support, just as it was possible for him to manage the bailout scam and restructure the financial system properly with massive public support.  But he chooses not to.  Instead Obama has again decided to play the role of Master Saleman for the Corporatocracy.  Placating, pandering salesmen have nothing to do with great leadership.  It would take guts and a strong morally grounded commitment to make the right choices here.  We see nothing approaching these qualities in this POTUS, which our election system strongly selects against, and we will in all probability continue to see more of same.

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By drbhelthi, October 30, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

There goes Scott Ritter, again.
Telling it like it is.

The concept of “pacification” has been associated with the role of Gen. McCrystal, among his alleged duties. I fail to discern that pacification is in any way associated with “genociding” the locals.  Pacification is better applied to the “oil leeches” who put us there initially, and who puppetized the current US presidential imposter.

Removing CIA, Ex (Blackwater) and related “soldiers of fortune” from the theater will wipe out “al kaida.” Removing Gen. McCrystal with his entire soldier entourage will enable the locals to “re-stabilize” themselves.  Of course they will briefly miss their illegal supply of dollars. Perhaps the “oil leech types” will not get the oil pipeline, IAW their wishes, and the opium supply for the drug kingpin in Florida will decrease.  However, there are also other areas of human behavior that are not going exactly IAW their wishes - and increasingly so.

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By Dave Schwab, October 30, 2009 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

President Obama will soon decide whether to send as many as 60,000 additional U.S. soldiers to the Afghanistan War.

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

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By Maxim, October 30, 2009 at 10:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Firstly if and most probably the American forces withdraw from Afghanistan, we shall see that the so-called democratic Pakistan does not carry its weight and soon after, the Taliban shall take revenge on the Pakistani army with a passive population fed up with bomb attacks, still preferring a fundamentalist but orderly regime rather than the current developing chaos.But then, there is the remaining nukes’ problem and the U.S Army shall have to intervene (if at all possible) in order to secure the installations and avoid a probable cataclysm.
It will be a terrible blow not only for the West but also for India which shall have to devote a huge part of this budget to prepare to a coming war with Pakistan.And even then, what could be China’s attitude? Right now, it seems that they are still willing to help Pakistan but we do not know whether their goodwill should remain the same as they also have inside their borders the Muslim Uighur problem, which is a serious one.
Secondly, the countries bordering the North of Aghanistan (all former Soviet republics) will be subject to an intense “surge” of fundamentalist thrust from neighbouring Afghanistan and Russia has no longer the military means to engage its current"forces” on such a long line of fire with intermittent fighting against irregular forces and probably, part of the population as well. Paradoxically the West could find itself in a weird situation: having to assist Russia and even maybe Iran which could soon have problems with the Sunni Taliban. Anyway and whatever Israel’s feelings, an endangered Iran will be more amenable as they will need underhand foreign assistance.
Finally, this might as well shake the very foundations of NATO as European Supremos have to take into account adverse public opinions and the trust in the United States shall start to crumble with NATO “global” role revisited? Anyway, its new Secretary General Fogh Rasmussen should do well to tone down his apparent enthusiasm and/or at least wait until President Obama draws a clear line of conduct for American objectives in Afghanistan. This is a rather alarming picture of a possible coming situation although it is a coherent reasoning. But plain common sense does not always fit politics and interests of powerful military-industrial complexes: to add the final touch, let’s not forget that the U.S is on its way to a second wave of budgetary problems. All in all we are probably entering a new round of problematic negotiations between “allies” and anyway face hazardous solutions. Obviously the United States is in a difficult position while we are all entering a dangerous “fog of war”, the bitter legacy of preceding U.S presidencies.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, October 30, 2009 at 10:24 am Link to this comment

I saw the photograph of Bob Hope You Can Believe In at Dover AFB as the body of yet another American soldier who died for nothing in Afghanistan arrives back in the states.  Bob is standing as rigidly as a drug store indian, saluting the coffin.  The photo is repulsive, disgusting, unbelievable.  The man has no shame.  The man has no nothing.

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By hark, October 30, 2009 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama has little choice but to do as the generals tell him to do.  Otherwise, when the next terrorist attack comes, he and the Democrats will be toast for a generation.

Only the Republicans can end wars in this country, because only they have the trust of the American people when it comes to national security. 

It’s all politics.  We are stuck in a trap of our own making.

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By bogi666, October 30, 2009 at 10:05 am Link to this comment

Rontruth/Shifter, thanks for the comments. An analysis of Scott’s comments concerning the Durand line established by the British in 1897. This 1897 decision is essentially guiding American policy in AFPAK now. How bizarre it is that the U.S. is fighting a war there to enforce the 1897 British attempt to split up Pashtun tribes by proclaiming the Durand Line. Just as Vietnam, there was never a South Vietnam, it was concocted in the imagination of someone is Wash., D.C.

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By Night-Gaunt, October 30, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment

Well considering that Gen. McCrystal is the kind of highly trained and intelligent psychopath** you want running your counter insergency cum death squad pacification program as any peace* maker would want. He is ideal to sow terror and destruction in limited specific dollops where it hurts most for the Afghanis. But he will have to attack Waziristan which is were al-Quaida and the Taliban are. But then isn’t that what Afghanistan is really for? Its proximity to Waziristan an Pakistan which are the primary targets of interest in this whole scenario. Pakistan is a shaky partner at best considering all of the US’s actions have destabilized the region and Pakistan in particular.

*Peace in this case used in the amount of dead and dying. What one would expect of an amoral imperial military action, not a republic. We have the weapons for it. “We have the tools and the talent.”
** Psychopaths aren’t insane (a legal term) and rarely crazed.

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By Shift, October 30, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

The future in Afghanistan boils down to this.  Who has the biggest balls, McCrystal or Obama.  We know the answer to that, so the buildup is inevitable.  Unfortunately it has the strong potential to light up WW III.  Eurasian hegemony is the goal.  Armageddon, thought to have been avoided in Iraq, has surfaced again in Afghanistan.  Our shadow government, dead cold in emotional affect, is hell bent on destroying us all in their psychopathic drive for power. To them, American’s are no more than freedom’s detritus and thereby expendable.  The left is too fragmented to force a course change, so hang on, weep, and gnash.

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By Leefeller, October 30, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Would it not be more prudent to build our nation instead of others?

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By Night-Gaunt, October 30, 2009 at 9:07 am Link to this comment

Bush will be seen more as a useful idiot than a ruthless ideologue. Obama, with his obvious intelligence, soaring rhetorical skills and Nobel credentials, does not readily fit such a characterization. If he decides to reinforce failure in Afghanistan by dispatching tens of thousands more American troops to that disaster, America’s 44th president will cement himself as a grand fraud, a hawk hiding in dove feathers. Given his potential for doing good, one clearly would not want such a scenario to play out.”

I believe that Obama is that kind of ruthless ideologue in the guise of a peacemaker and I don’t think he is being “bullied” into Afghanistan since he was certain to make it the center of the war should he have been elected during his long political campaign. So he is already doing what he wants isn’t he Scott?

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By Rontruth, October 30, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

Debunked? With what? You sound just like all the Warren Commission theorists who tried to say that Lee Oswald had killed Kennedy. But, they have shown no proof, other than the “proof” that photographic and scientific real evidence, replicated over and over, has cow “debunked” to the point at which the government has found itself unable to effectively respond to the charges of it’s covert agencies’ direct involvement it it.

At any rate, I would be happy to hear about your evidence relating to the 9/11 attacks.

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By ridgerunner, October 30, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

RONTRUTH, you are either clearly delusional or a DNC propagandist.

Your theories about 9/11 have been debunked over and over.

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By Rontruth, October 30, 2009 at 7:51 am Link to this comment

Oh, horse crap. On one hand we have the military situation on the ground in Afghanistan, just as in other, yet similar ways, we had and have them in Iraq. What we Americans seem to always forget, in part because we, as “good, red-blooded” Americans, want to forget, is the nasty, as yet unsolved MYSTERY of exactly how this all began, less than a year after George W. Bush took office.

If memory still serves Americans, and sometimes I think selective amnesia, motivated by fear that snippets of bad memories can be very uncomfortable, there was a date that “will iive in infamy”: 9/11/2001. We have, over the past several years, relegated the memory of those nagging questions about how 16 mostly Saudi Arabian jihadists managed to elude the FBI, CIA, US Air Defense systems (the most modern on planet earth), and used strangely painted large jet aircraft (one of them with no windows and a circular, blue and white military logo near it’s nose), jet aircraft to attack the WTC sky-scrapers in lower Manhattan, the Pentagon (somehow with only one outside security camera running showing NO jet airliner attacking anything and with an original hole in it too small to fit a Boeing 757 into), and a crash of an airliner in Pennsylvania (Arlen, the Warren Commision liar’s state), with no bodies and no jet airliner parts ANYWHERE.

The most exasperating question is, it seems to me,  how can we ever expect to recover the essense of truth in our society, at least enough to say that we have some evidence it existed, if we are not willing to face the reality of the unthinkable that, from all the available, hard evidence, happened that dreadful day? Welcome to reality as we usually choose not to know it.

Basic question: who was near the top in providing “security” at the WTC in lower Manhattan when the attacks occurred?

Who was ultimately in charge of not only national security, but the air defense system at the time of those attacks? Who stayed on vacation in Crawford, Texas while the nation for weeks heard FBI warnings about coming attacks by foreign terrorists on Americans, and finally warnings about attacks on Americans inside the United States?

Who sat for an additional 20 minutes after the report that a jet airliner had struck the WTC, listening to kids reading about a pet goat? Who was it who sat for several minutes more after he had been told that the second jet airliner hit the WTC?

Who was it who did everything he, and his vice-president could do to stall the creation of a “Commission” (and what a Warren Commission 2 the 9/11 Commission turned out to be!),but after Ari Fleicher, his WH Press Secretary reported about a warning note from Osama that he said he had read several days BEFORE 9/11/01, had to allow a Commission to be formed?

Who was it who refused to testify under oath in public, and alone about what he knew and when he knew it about the run-up to and events of 9/11/01?

And, for us oldsters who recall the public execution of the nation’s 35th president whose only sin, besides being a womanizer, was that he worked tirelessly for world peace, whose father was where Army Intelligence and an intrepid Associated Press photographer placed him on Friday, November 22, 1963?

Whose father was an unpaid “asset” of the Agency whose direct involvement in the JFK hit in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, is now beyond any intelligent doubt? His reason, JFK didn’t do Castro who had taken over his company’s oil servicing rights along with the Texaco oil rigs off the coast of Castro’s Cuba? The CIA’s reason, not only Cuba, but JFK’s order to withdraw ALL US forces from Vietnam (NSAM 263) by the end of 1965.

The answer to all the questions above is a simple four-letter word. Can you guess whose last name that might be?

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By coco, October 30, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Scott Ritter I couldn’t of said it better myself!! If ever I heard the truth it was in this story. You definitely can’t start a war several years ago and never really apply the effort. This war was lost shortly after it started. There is no chance of winning. Complete withdraw is the only logical answer.
Any future attempts in years down the road should be calculated around 250 thousand troops with the weaponry of an invasion force, invading and conquering the entire country and every person that lives there.
The definition of war should be observed as total barbaric slaughter with no mercy other than total surrender. Anything other than that should be calculated as failure.

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By Ouroborus, October 30, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack, October 30 at 10:21 am #


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By montanawildhack, October 30, 2009 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

My friends in a previous post I promised I would get back with you on the question of cui bono or “who benefits”  from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…  I’m close but yet have not come up with a definitive answer…. Half way through my 6th bowl of Count Chocula this morning I began, as usual, to hallucinate…  In the corner of my dimly lit one room apartment sat a light blue and white striped 800 lb. gorilla….  After sensing he meant me no harm I asked, “Mr. Gorilla, cui bono?”  Just as he opened his mouth to speak my goddamn cell phone rang… Jake again inquiring where the other half of the money was for the weed I bought… And when I ended the call and looked up the gorilla was gone..  Tomorrow I’ll get into the Count Chocula again and see if he comes back and provides us all with an answer….

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By Baronscarpia, October 30, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

Want to “win” two wars at one time?  Decriminalize now illegal drugs.  The Taliban and al Qaeda finance their operations off of the drug trade.  Drug prices are artificially supported at astronomical levels (ask any imppoverished Afghan poppy farmer what his “cut” is to determine the ACTUAL value of narcotics) by our insane and demonstrably FAILED 35+ year “war against drugs.”

Visit Panama City in Panama.  In that city there has been an extraordinary boom in real estate construction.  The buildings that have been built there are called “The Cocaine Towers” by the locals.  Drug money from the United States goes to the cartels in Columbia and they bin turn invest their profits into real estate projects in Panama.  Not only does the war on drugs do nothing to slow the tide of importation into the United States or usage levels, but another country benefits from the application of the profits. 

Illegal immigration on our southern border is increased dramatically as families endeavor to escape the incessant violence in northern Mexico that is fuel by competition among drug traffickers for commodities which have little intrinsic value.

We look like fools to the rest of the world, and continue to behave as such without any regard to the scant positive and inestimable negative effects of our “war on drugs.”

Our prisons are filled to the brim with people convicted for drug sale, possession and use.  Despite that, conservatives who support the drg laws will complain about “liberal” judges and “liberal” courts who refuse to incarcerate those who commit other crimes against citizens’ selves and property. 

Empty the jails of people convicted of drug offenses, and there will be a surfeit of cells to put them in rather than letting them go.

It’s time for the U.S. to get smart.  Prohibition is a failed policy and our history shows that all too clearly.

And please…no bleating about “protecting our children.”  Children, and adults, manage to acquire drugs in this country if they so desire, despite our drug laws.  We’ve done nothing effectively diminish stem drug use with our drug laws.  Education and good parenting are far less expensive and more effective.

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By Howie Bledsoe, October 30, 2009 at 6:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“There are currently around 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. McChrystal’s request would raise that number to around 110,000 troops – the same number as the Soviets had deployed in Afghanistan at the height of their failed military adventure some 20 years ago.”

That little paragraph says it all, and the USSR soldiers didnt have to go very far, either.
And don´t forget that one reason that the USSR collapsed is that they spent so much money on military spending that they could eventually not sustain.

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By ridgerunner, October 30, 2009 at 6:41 am Link to this comment

We are discussing “nation building” in foreign countries that don’t want our “help” (AKA interference).  Maybe we should be focusing on building our own nation which has become more and more divided in many ways.

This president (who promised change) has caused more division than any other in recent history.

regarding the war in Afghanistan, the best solutioin is to withdraw all U.S. troops and let the Afghansa fight their civil wars.  When General MacArthur, who was a military genius, was fired by President Truman in the Korean “conflict” for insubordination, the U.S. began a policy that has existed ebver since - fight “no win” wars (Korea, Vietnam, and various “military actions”).

President Obama is not a strong president and may never be.  He is too concerned with himself and his poipularity.  Regardless, it is wholly unacceptable for him to “dawdle”  over a decision that is affecting American troops daily.

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By Go Right Young Man, October 30, 2009 at 6:32 am Link to this comment

Just this Monday President Obama referred to the “long years of drift” in Afghanistan.  None but the most ardent Obama supporters are buying it. Even the ULTRA-liberal MSNBC is questioning the president’s childish habit of blaming everything but Swine flu on President Bush.

The compulsion the president has for attacking his predecessor is as stale as it is unseemly. Obama was elected a year ago. He became commander in chief two months later. He then solemnly announced his own “comprehensive new strategy” for Afghanistan seven months ago. And it was not an off-the-cuff decision. “My administration has heard from our military commanders, as well as our diplomats,” the president assured us. “We’ve consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments, with our partners and our NATO allies, and with other donors and international organizations” and “with members of Congress. “

Obama is obviously unhappy with the path he himself chose in March. Fine. He has every right—indeed duty—to reconsider. But what Obama is reacting to is the failure of his own strategy.

Let’s wait and see how the president blames Bush for the sun rising in the East…..LMAO

PS. I again disagree with the clown ardee. He must be the biggest liar on the planet. If he weren’t “lying” he would agree with ME.


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By truedigger3, October 30, 2009 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

JjayJay wrote:
“However, the president has operated in an environment that has become increasingly socialistic, Marxist.”

What are you talking about?!. Is giving hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall St. socialistic Marxist???!!  Is putting the insurance/pharma/medical companies first above the health and the wellbeing of the common folks socialistic Marxist???!!.
Please stop listening to Hanity and Rush Limbaugh and try to think about and analyse what you hear and read.

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By montanawildhack, October 30, 2009 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

Cui bono?  Who benefits my friends??  A very simple and important question and ultimately the only one that matters…  And it seems to be the one question that the writers, pundits and MSM never seem to get around to asking…  I will think deeply on this question and come back with an answer… Now it is time to enjoy 5 or 6 bowls of Count Chocula….

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By USN Retired Viet Vet, October 30, 2009 at 5:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Unbelievable naivete’ on the part of Obama to think the solution to Afghanistan is to follow the path of Britain and Russia there.  Like Olddog, I have deja-vu once more (the last was Iraq) but this time the consequences are even worse. Face it: the war in Afghanistan is as doomed as the War On Poverty, the War on Drugs, the War On Terror.  The only reason we’re there in the first place is due to policy screwups and the legal working groups of terrorist organizations within our own system, plus some very bad political decisions.

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By Trailing Begonia, October 30, 2009 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

I wonder how many has the “Zen Warrior” dawned on some fatigues and walked into the tribal areas to find and confront the enemy?

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By JayJay, October 30, 2009 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

Scott had many good points.  However, the president has operated in an environment that has become increasingly socialistic, Marxist. The media, Scott, is not from the right. The left is controlling more and more of the written and verbal communications of the country. Legislation is being presented to limit it, including the internet, to keep citizens from communicating. The president chose this general, and should listen to him.  Unfortunately, his seesaw pleasing of the left continues to allow our opponents to attack our servicemen in a increasingly successful modes.  The president has not committed us to winning. Without that committment, our soldiers will be dying to protect his leftist supporters.
So far our “change’ government has not successfully run any program without fraud or fiscal responsibility. Why would we think they can recommend what to do in another country successfully. Let’s get our soldiers out until we have leadership that has a plan.

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By jj, October 30, 2009 at 5:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“What a silly premise on which to write. Of course McChrystal gets it: his lot in ife,
his job, is to wage war, blow things up and kill people. His job is not to create or
establish peace. “- sawdusttx

Quoted for truth.

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By oldog, October 30, 2009 at 4:55 am Link to this comment

Nation building in Afghanistan? You’ve got to be

Viet Nam Déjà vu. Same problem, same flawed solution.
All the popular leaders of any stature had joined the
Viet Nim (insert: Taliban) or been killed. US king
makers are forced to back drug warlords, who will
never command the loyalty of the populous, no matter
how many tens of thousands of US troops we send for
security (spelled pacification)

And remember Sparky, you don’t ask battlefield
commanders like McChrystal (tacticians) to formulate
policy (strategy) because the answer is always the
same. Generals train their whole lives to fight wars,
the bigger the better. No general will ever tell the
president: “You should reduce my power and let the
state department handle this.”

Put down “the power of shock and awe” and step away
from the “war on terror” before we destroy what
little credibility (and few friends) we have left.

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By MarthaA, October 30, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Truth to the people as a whole is at a minimum, therefore, it is difficult to know what to say about the continuing occupation of Afghanistan, as what we are allowed to hear in the Right-Wing EXTREME Media Echo-Chamber is what the Right-Wing EXTREME want us to hear, which is never in the best interest of President Obama and the Obama administration or the people of the United States.

I agree with Scott Ritter, McChrystal should be fired, based on all his propagandizing in the media to the American public and the world—it is apparent his loyalty lies with the Cheney Neo-CON warmongers of the Bush administration, instead of his Commander in Chief, therefore his leadership will not be in the best interest of a peaceful solution. I am in hope President Obama will choose a peaceful solution to the Bush administration’s debacle, so that our troops will be able to come home.

President Obama should give Scott Ritter’s comments strong consideration, as Scott Ritter was correct about there being no WMD in Iraq, and advised as strongly as he could against the incursion into Iraq that became a quagmire for the United States.

Therefore, when Scott Ritter says further troops will not help the debacle, I am inclined to believe him.

Diplomacy is the solution and agreements to give the Afghans the larger percentage of the interest in the resources of their nation, instead of just taking their resources from the ground without the people of Afghanistan getting the greater advantage.

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By Bubba, October 30, 2009 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Excellent article, Scott.

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By sawdusttx, October 30, 2009 at 4:14 am Link to this comment

What a silly premise on which to write. Of course McChrystal gets it: his lot in ife, his job, is to wage war, blow things up and kill people. His job is not to create or establish peace. In order to resist this military request, Obama would be forced to admit that the American way is wrong (which he will not and can not do), to implement CHANGE (which he will never, in reality,dare to do)and demonstrate genuine initiative and leadership (of which he is incapable). Scott Ritter has been wittier.

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By Robert G. Mac Donald.B.A.M.D., October 30, 2009 at 3:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Right on Scott Ritter.I hope President Obama will read this outstanding article.
Robert G. Mac Donald.B.A.M.D. dual citizen living in Canada

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By ardee, October 30, 2009 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

I reprint the kernel of this excellent article, as are most of Mr. Ritter’s efforts in fact:

Obama may have won the Nobel Peace Prize, but if he allows himself to be bullied into supporting McChrystal’s foray into Afghanistan, he will reveal himself as the worst kind of warmonger. True, he didn’t invent the Afghan quagmire. That honor resides with George W. Bush, who also is to blame for the American fiasco in Iraq. But history will be surprisingly gentle toward America’s 43rd president. Bush will share the blame for his calamitous military decisions with the mistaken policies of previous administrations, a compliant Congress, headstrong advisers, servile intelligence agencies and, of course, the shock of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Bush will be seen more as a useful idiot than a ruthless ideologue. Obama, with his obvious intelligence, soaring rhetorical skills and Nobel credentials, does not readily fit such a characterization. If he decides to reinforce failure in Afghanistan by dispatching tens of thousands more American troops to that disaster, America’s 44th president will cement himself as a grand fraud, a hawk hiding in dove feathers. Given his potential for doing good, one clearly would not want such a scenario to play out.

Our current military leadership is divided into engineers, those who see the military’s purpose limited to giant tank battles and such similar to that of Iraq wherein we destroyed that nations military in one huge eleven hour battle, and those like McChrystal who see a role for the military in pacification and nation building.

I know in my heart and from my experience in Vietnam that battles are fruitless expectations when the ‘enemy’ will not stand and fight. I suspect that the nation building expectations of this general will come to naught as we seem only to install and prop up puppets who reap much personal profit from their respective nations and do the people little to no good at all.

Like it or not, believe it or not, the Taliban is not our enemy. We must understand that they are one of the forces in the region that must be dealt with through talks and compromises, not slaughtered remotely from a module thousands of miles remote from the area. The more we kill the worse will be our position.

If we seek to fight extremism we must cease being one of those who uses extreme methods.

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By johannes, October 30, 2009 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

Very tru en good writings about this topic.

Winning this war is out of the question, but crèate an good and strong well èducated female class, a kind of modern Amazones who will and can defend them selfs.

This has to be the work of the woman who cal them selfs emancipated, and are looking for the real thing.

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By Folktruther, October 30, 2009 at 2:48 am Link to this comment

The historical problem is that Obama is in a political lose-lose situation.  He will lose politically wherther he expands the war, which he is doing, or withdraws, which makes his loss highly public and visible, and attackable.  And this situation is partly of his own makeing.  It is true that he inherited the war from Bush, but he kept Bush’s sec of Defense in place and appointed McCrystial, a crazed pschopath who headed Cheney’s death and terror squad commanded from the White House.

What Obama will probably do is institute a no-win no lose strategy, what Jackpine has called a ‘enclave strategy.’  Control the population centers, and perhaps the opium growing centers in the Helmand valley, and let the Taliban rule the rest until Nato withdraws after the next US presidential election. 

this will be approved by the Dem lemmings, spliting the rank and file Progs which Obama hopes to make up with Independants, voters too vague, unintersted and deluded about politics who don’t know any better, and don’t much care.  It may therefore be possible to form an ideological movment out of the best of the Progs, those people willing to accept the historically obvious, that the US is descending into barbarism as its political econmic and cultural institutions become obsolete.

Which means that the US will be pursuing pointless wars while Obama is president, spewing his Inspiring bullshit to justify inequality, violence and irrationality.  but if an effective movment can be begun during his first, and possibly last, term, then our children can pick up the pieces after the neoliberal police state that Obama is installing is destroyed.  And Obama can stick that Nobel Peace Prize where the sun don’t shine.

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By Ouroborus, October 30, 2009 at 2:29 am Link to this comment

“ is our want in history.”; should read, as is our
“WONT”, sorry about that.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 30, 2009 at 2:27 am Link to this comment

Ditto to all the posters.  Afghanistan will not succumb to McCrystal’s war strategy any more than Iraq did.  Nation building that ignores the indigenous politics and customs of the territory will never succeed.  There is no effective central government in Kabul nor will there ever be.  And Pakistan, with the “tribal territories” has the same problem.  That part of the world is not on the same page as the West but we persist in trying to bomb them into compliance.  Much as we would like to “civilize” them, it is highly unlikely they will co-operate.  They will just patiently wait until we, like the Soviets and Brits before us, grow tired of expending our time, lives and money on a worthless effort and then will go back to business as usual.

Obama has disappointed us on so many levels but I’m extremely hopeful he will see the folly of any further engagement in Afghanistan and will find a way to get out.  As for the general, he should be cycled back to Washington where he can join the country club at the Pentagon and lecture about his experiences at the War College.  But he should not be managing our disengagement from Afghanistan as that is not part of his John Wayne persona.

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By Ouroborus, October 30, 2009 at 2:11 am Link to this comment

Ritter didn’t mention the Stinger; probably the
single most important weapon to defeat the Russians.
Xntrk, October 30 at 4:31 am #
“The Afghans, like the rest of humanity, will build
their own nation when the time is right. I doubt that
they will ask our permission or help. They have
enough problems without encouraging our
Good post and agree 100%.
We need get out now; there is no winning; only death
and defeat will come of this. I have no doubt we will
make the wrong decision, as is our want in history.

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By writerman, October 30, 2009 at 1:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What was always a tragedy, for the poverty-stricken people of Afghanistan, has the potential to become a tragedy for the American people as well.

It would be a grotesque, historic, irony, if Afghanistan became the graveyard of not just the Soviet Empire, but the American Empire too.

But accepting ‘defeat’ in Afghanistan has profound consequences for the projection of American power and reputation in the wider region and the world.

Is the United States really a functioning democracy anymore, or is it rather, a de facto, military regime, with the civilian politicians effectively acting a ‘cover’ for where real power resides; with military/industrial complex?

Obama has intelligence and substantial rhetorical skills. He makes great set-piece speeches, the bigger the forum, the better the speech. However, he lacks substance, grit, real ideas, experience, knowledge and determination. He also has a very limited power-base, as he has ‘de-mobilized’ the vast support he had among the American people, which, if he was really serious about substantive change and reform, was of vital importance, as a counter-weight to the powerful vested interests facing him. Rather than seeking the support of the American people, he has abandoned them, and pacified, and undermined his only real supporters, why?

Because he was never really interested in root and branch reform, a radical move away from imperialism and diverting resources towards re-building America domestically.

In essence, historically, empires are either expanding or contracting, there is no point of balance. That’s the fundamental question for the US empire which has dominated the world for the past sixty odd years.

Most of the leadership in the military, and the ruling elite, characterized by Dick Cheney, understand this, and as they are always ‘in power’, regardless of who is in the Whitehouse, they will prevail in their longterm strategic goal of securing control of Eurasia and its resources.

Faced with the hard face of real power, a mere president doesn’t stand a chance, even if he were intelllectually and temprementally inclined to oppose or challenge the power and interests of the ruling elite, something which a weak leader like Obama, shows no sign of doing.

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By Xntrk, October 30, 2009 at 1:31 am Link to this comment

“The only way forward is a massive committment [sic] to nation-building…” Chaotic Good

Building a nation takes more than roads, and schools and housing - or even ‘good’ government. Most of all, it takes a sense of unity among the people. The history of Europe is one of City-States, not Nations. Up until the mid-1800s, Italy and Germany were just a collection of warring Principalities. Spain, which once was a great Empire never became a ‘nation’ as we define one. Even today, the Basque region, and Catalonia, maintain separate language, customs and dreams of secession, - and it has been over 500 years since Isabella and Ferdinand ‘united’ Spain. Yugoslavia is another example of Nation Building. As long as Tito was in charge, and the USSR was next door, it was a success. With their demise, Yugoslavia ceased to exist too.

“Nation Building” has been a failure when it come to the indigenous people of the Americas. Without power, they refuse to assimilate. With power, they would rather do things their own way. We tried killing them all. Stubborn to the end, they refuse to die off entirely, so we continue to attack the isolated pockets of The AIM Resistance. Latin America finds itself with its first Indigenous President. Evo, in Bolivia, is doing one hell of a job of Nation Building. That is if he can keep the long knives of the CIA and US Corporations from killing the dream. Again! Uruguay may follow suit, and elect a second Indigenous Leader.

The Afghans, like the rest of humanity, will build their own nation when the time is right. I doubt that they will ask our permission or help. They have enough problems without encouraging our ‘Friendship’. I hope Obama has the good sense to ‘just say NO!’. Then, he should can General McChrystal, like Truman did McCarthur

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By Voodooeconomix, October 30, 2009 at 1:00 am Link to this comment

Manifest Destiny on a Global Level. Westward expansion in the 19th century genocided the Native Americans. This was possible because Europeans willing to face the hardships of homesteading populated the Western states and conquered the indigenous people. Without a population willing to fight for and make that land their own the local Afghan population can wait out any occupiers.
If the powers that be really want to win in Afghanistan they ought to offer our internal poor, or our enslaved prison population freedom and forty acres and a mule to create settlements that overtime would become the 51st state in the union. Short of that kind of Imperial strategy GET THE HELL OUT!!!

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