So wise — so damn obvious
Bob Herbert has a new column up on Afghanistan. The short version: Barack Obama is marching into disaster. So wise — and so damned obvious.
This is just so frustrating. Obama talks “walk softly,” but his Afghan strategy is just so damn “big stick.” It’s American exceptionalism all over again, just absent the blustery talk. No one — let me repeat — no one who has ever tried occupying/pacifying Afghanistan has ever escaped heartache. We won’t either.
This is a losers bet.
According to Herbert, Joe Biden is the voice of caution on Afghanistan within the administration. So far, at least, Obama isn’t listening. Rethink that, Mr. President. You’re walking onto quicksand. And you’re talking everything you care about along with you.
September 5th, 2009 at 11:41 pm
By my rough calculations, since about the year 500 BCE the Persian plateau area has averaged a war app. every 30 years.
That simply does not give me a great deal of hope that we will accomplishing anything other than turning a lot of soldiers and civilians into fertilizer.
September 6th, 2009 at 12:34 am
I made the incorrect assumption that Obama picked Joe Biden because of his extensive experience in foreign affairs. If that is the case, Obama, who does not have any extensive experience, should be listening to Biden. I continue to find Barack Obama to be an enigma. I keep hoping there is more to him than the ability to give rousing speeches. The man seems to be in the process of shooting himself in the foot. Some of his advisors, like Rahm Emmanuel, are not serving him well. Obama is well down the road to alienating his Progressive Base. I find his economic recovery to be flimsy, at best. He is courting disaster with his appeasement of the Far Right in the health care reform arena. He is listening to all the wrong people, mainly military men, about Afghanistan. He repeatedly overlooks the obvious. He is continuing rendition and other noxious Bush era policies. It is a very mixed bag for the first year of his administration. Is he stubborn, naive, gotten the Big Head, overwhelmed, all of the above? Wisdom is an attribute that generally comes with age and experience. Not always, but usually. If I had to make one definitive comment about him, it is that he has gotten in over his head.
September 8th, 2009 at 11:57 am
We do need to get out of there. I can’t see how occupying can work.
The thing is though. When this horrible war started, remember the talk about boys flying kites and girls going to school and women taking off their burkas? Some did, but one Afghani woman I saw interviewed refused to take it off. Her comment: “My husband embraced the Taliban rules too easily and I won’t go through that again. I won’t take it off until I know for certain, I’ll never have to put it on again.”
I’ve never forgotten that woman. We gave the women in that part of the world a peek a freedom, at empowerment, at self-worth. Don’t we have some responsibility to them and their daughters? We still struggle for women’s rights in one of the most free places on earth. It just bothers me that we can’t find a strategy that will not abandon those we led to believe we would help. I know we can’t do it with bombs and I know that their culture and their religion gives no rights to women. We can’t fight a holy war and we can’t fight a military war, the war on drugs there was also a failure leaving the drug\warlords in power, a political battle with the corrupt regime already in place is futile. I’m sure that the previous administration tried bribery for all it was worth, the neighbors are too busy enjoying our struggle and sacrifice to be of any help. What front is left unexplored? I think we will need the help of all of our allies. We need to build something that can’t be bombed. An alliance of some sort. An international promise to buy their products, including poppies, and a committment to meetings with all sides to work out details of a cease-fire. I think they can at least have the opposite of war, they can have peace if they choose it. If they walk away from the table without even defining what they need to put away their weapons, then at least we, the world, tried. but………
I’ll never forget the woman in the burka and I’ll always wonder about her, kind of like Riverbend, and I’ll feel guilty for abandoning her.
Chuck has probably read the tomdispatch: “Afghanistan, by the numbers.”
Everyone should check it out. Oh the things we coulda, woulda, shoulda done with all that money and resources.
And, oh, the stupidity of our stategy.