Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Waving the White Flag...

Okay, let's put some venom back in the blog...

Topic: Concerning Afghanistan, the Obama Administrations seeming reluctance to a) fight the war, b) win the war, c) explain why it will do neither.

The Prez makes a very fine distinction between the Taliban and Al'Qaeda which he uses to justify, for example, withholding the 40,000 troops that Gen. McChrystal wants for Afghanistan, on the one hand, and the use of Predator drone strikes in 'surgical' attacks against Al'Qaeda in Pakistan. It's also a rhetorical club he has used to beat his political enemies over the head. According to His Heinous, Afghanistan was supposed to be the 'good war' that we were 'distracted' from by the invasion of Iraq, but it doesn't look like this President wants anything to do with Afghanistan, period.

The President does not make clear why any of this makes any sense whatsoever. You can't separate the Taliban from Al'Qaeda, as one supports, protects and props up the other. When you do, it actually sounds as if you are tacitly saying that we have no truck with the Taliban, yet they are two sides of the same coin. If one reads between the lines of this distinction, it basically says "We want to get Bin Laden, and having achieved that, we might find us a way to live with the Taliban afterwards".

Now, if the intention is to get the Taliban to help us get Bin Laden, someone is smoking something funny. This is a disastrous policy for the reason that no regime like the Taliban should be allowed to survive, and worse, never be encouraged to think that it might have a chance to return to power...if it just plays ball. The fight against Al'Qaeda requires a fight against the Taliban, too...without fine distinctions.

As for winning the war in Afghanistan, the terms of victory were somewhat sketchy under GWB, and Obambi is not doing much better. If your goal is to leave a pluralistic, free-market-driven, democratic government, then good luck. Afghanistan is basically living in the Stick Age and it will take decades of foreign occupation to teach these people the benefits of indoor plumbing, eating with utensils, and wearing shoes. When GWB committed the US to Ashcanistan, he committed us to a very long-term program of stewardship which is based upon a ridiculous belief that inside every Afghan, there's an American dying to get out. Afghanistan has no history of freedom of conscience or expression, individual rights, equality under the law or constitutional government. The soil within which the seeds of modern democratic society are being planted (we think) may not take the seed at all.

If that is victory then it will not be achieved anytime soon. It will require work and sacrifice, neither of which liberals are good at or have any patience for. This means that if McChrystal needs those 40,000 men, Obama had better get them to him to prove he means business, or he should just pull up stakes and abandon the project with all the dire consequences that entails. Either would at least be a clear and honest expression of what the President thinks, a novel idea in this White House, apparently.

In truth, I don't think Barack Obama actually understands what is at stake here. He doesn't understand that the world is full of nasty men who actually do plot in caves to do terrible things out of spite and envy, just like in the movies. I don't think he cares much for the military, since he doesn't seem to be listening to them. I also believe this President wakes up in the morning, sticks a finger in his mouth, gauges the political winds, and then tries to formulate policies on the fly, accounting for much of the confusion and stupidity which seems to emanate from the White House.

It's why he can never seem to to explain the reasons behind why he does the things he does. It's why he hasn't explained why he's willing or not willing to raise the ante in Afghanistan with another 40,000 (unless he just wants to avoid the embarrassment he suffered when he pooh-poohed The Surge in Iraq?).

Leaders, Mr. Prezident, take action. They don't split hairs and make fine distinctions and make fifty-two speeches a day. Make this decision; either send the troops and make an effort to win the fight, or show your true colors and bring them all home. Leaving McChrystal and his brave men and women dangling like this is inexcusable, and gives the enemy some very dangerous ideas about you, and US.

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