thoughts on politics

December 11, 2008

Time for Obama’s troop surge

Filed under: Uncategorized — Matt @ 8:25 am
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been writing a paper all night, and while emailing myself a copy, I saw the top story of the CNN morning email–a newsletter I’ve been getting for several years now, but which I now always just delete without reading.  However, today’s begged comment after I read:

U.S. to send more troops to Afghanistan

(CNN) — The U.S. military plans to move three more combat brigades to Afghanistan by summer, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to deploy more troops to Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates plans to deploy more troops to Afghanistan.

Gates landed Thursday in the Afghan city of Kandahar, where he was met by Gen. David McKiernan, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces battling a resurgent Taliban and its al Qaeda allies. Gates said the deployment will include one brigade that was scheduled to be sent to the 7-year-old conflict in January and two more that have yet to be named.
It’s bad, but I definitely can’t call this a surprise.  With six weeks left in probably the lamest-duck administration in history, if this wasn’t Obama’s original idea, it surely has his full approval.  Faux-dove Obama has always tempered his Iraq opposition by saying he was only against it because it was a “dumb war.”  Afghanistan, on the other hand, has always qualified in his mind as a “smart” Middle East snakepit to get tangled up in. 
We’ve been in Afghanistan for seven years.  When will it occur to our leaders that our troop presence is hindering the country’s own political development and wasting our money?  Seven years–longer than it took us to beat back Japan and Germany in World War II, the same length of time it took our country to win its independence from the strongest country in the world, longer by a far cry than our involvement in World War I.  Right now the only major conflict I can think of that’s been longer is Vietnam, probably our dumbest war of all.  Yet it’s going to keep playing out the same, as if this were a sequel.  Can someone tell me what sign we’re waiting for that Afghanistan is ready for us to leave?  Do they need to have McDonald’s and Starbucks everywhere, a cowed population, and an overreaching democratic system of government running their lives?
With Obama, we just don’t know.  He generally expresses favor for the idea of us “pulling out” of Iraq–meaning, in his book, leaving 16,000 “non-combat” troops.  But whether he’ll even seriously pursue this objective remains to be seen.  (spoiler: he won’t.)
Since reading Bacevich’s book, I’ve realized how historically tilted toward conflict United States foreign policy is, and how amenable to war the population really is.  Of course, the half that voted for McCain (out of the half that participated in the election) is obviously quite comfortable with the thought of using military power to achieve our goals around the world, but those who voted for Obama in hopes of some major change in foreign policy toward peace will mostly not recognize the overall trend this is a part of.  In the supposed story of American politics, the Democratic party is favorable to peace, and the Republican party is favorable to, well, something else.  Most of Obama’s followers will read this news, shake their heads, but continue to support him in the belief that he is trying to end the violence over there.  The fact that we are actively forcing ourselves on the populations of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan seems to affect them very little, and even more the fact that we continue our surprise missile strike policy of blowing up schools and houses in tiny villages in countries we’re not even supposed to be at war with. 
They have not made and will not make the connection that by voting for a candidate without a demonstrable anti-war record, you are not going to end up with someone who will push anti-war policies.  Obama is a fox; he’s most concerned with getting votes.  He’s not going to do something as politically costly as trying to end our wars in the Middle East.


1 Comment »

  1. […] Vote Time for Obama’s troop surge […]

    Pingback by the end of world war two | Digg hot tags — December 11, 2008 @ 9:06 am | Reply

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