Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Problem With Afghanistan

I haven't blogged about this subject because there's really not much to say about it. I can't imagine that anyone is happy that the United States is committing another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan. Anyone sane, that is. I'm not speaking about chickenhawks like Dick Cheney or war profiteers like Halliburton. And it's easy to say "withdraw" when you're not the President of the United States. I personally would like to see a withdrawal from Afghanistan as soon as possible but we know that that isn't going to happen.

And think about the situation the Obama administration finds itself in. Put yourself in the President's place and really think about not just the ideological stance but the political ramifications of this decision. It's damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Either A) Commit more troops and anger the liberal Democrats, although this shouldn't come as a surprise since President Obama did say during his campaign that we took our eye off Afghanistan and that he would finish the job.

B) Decide to withdraw and you're labeled as soft on national security. That combined with the terrorist trials being held in New York City and the "Obama love terrorists" meme continues.

C) Commit less troops than the request of the generals and be ridiculed for not listening to the commanders on the ground; not that former President Bush listened to his commanders when they asked for more troops in Afghanistan as he was playing Stratego™ in Iraq and Osama bin Laden was reenacting The Great Escape in Tora Bora.

But whether we stay in Afghanistan, escalate or withdraw, the real problem is that it only legitimizes Hamid Karzai's tainted election, and a corrupt, drug profiteering government. So no matter what the President announces tonight, and from all indications it looks like an escalation of 30-35,000 troops, there is no upside except for the possibility of outlining a definite exit strategy with a specific timetable. Of course, there will be talk of benchmarks, but with the new administration, I'm expecting said benchmarks to be specific and attainable, as opposed to nebulous and fishy. You can move the goal posts only so many times.

At this point, there really is nothing to do except to hope that the new strategy works, and give President Obama the benefit of the doubt and the time to make it work. Otherwise, we should take to the streets in protest with the same vigor as the wingnut teabag contingent, but I don't see that happening any time soon.

We'll find out tonight.

1 comment:

NowhereMan said...

The more things"change"the more they remain the same.In 18 months we are going to be in the same exact position we are in now.Hes going to announce a withdrawl before the 2012 elections.Meanwhile,back home the middle class will continue to shrink.The public option will have a tombstone and college graduates will have a hard time finding jobs...but Wall st will be just fine.The military industrial complex will bankrupt the country as we go into a 10th consecutive year of war.