Sunday, December 13, 2009

We Have to Destroy the Village To Save It

He looked like he was waiting for an unpleasant dentist appointment. President Obama

gave a speech at West Point which secured his place in history right next to Lyndon Johnson,

and he seemed none too pleased about it. Obama announced an expansion of the war in

Afghanistan by adding 30,000 more troops. His rationale appears to be we have to expand

the war in order to begin to end it in eighteen months. At a time when unemployment is

over 10%, his healthcare reform bill is being debated in the Senate, his energy bill is stalled,

and many Democrats are calling for another round of economic stimulus to create jobs;

the President told the American people he is going to spend at least $30 billion more

treasure and who knows how much blood to continue America's role in a civil war for which

there is no definition of victory.

Obama's speech left more questions than answers. He did not explain how he will pay

for the additional commitments. Will he support a war tax? Will he add more to the deficit?

He did not explain why it is so difficult to get the Afghan people to defend their own country

from insurgents. He did not explain why he is sending 30,000 troops to Afghanistan when

he acknowledges the real enemy is in Pakistan. He did not explain how a corrupt government

under Hamid Karzai is going to morph into an effective partner with public support. He did

not explain how fighting in Afghanistan will protect us here in this country.

Just as Johnson watched his Great Society programs dwindle and fade as the cost of

Vietnam grew, Obama expands America's military presence in Afghanistan while our own

nation is reeling from an economic disaster which continues to add layers of pain and

uncertainty to most American's lives with no end in sight.

Cindy Sheehan asked President Bush what her son fought and died for in Iraq. He was

never able to answer her question. Can Obama answer it now? According to our President,

we are in Afghanistan because we were attacked on September 11th. However, the people

who attacked us are in Pakistan. Al Qaeda has virtually ceased to exist in Afghanistan. We

are fighting in Afghanistan to prevent a return of the Taliban to power while at the same time

the Karzai government is inviting disgruntled Taliban to join his government. We are in

Afghanistan because of terror attacks in England, Bali, and Turkey; yet these attacks, along

with plots uncovered in this country, were hatched in the border regions of Pakistan. The

President says we have to fight the Taliban; and yet the Taliban in Pakistan are very different

than those in Afghanistan, with different goals and objectives. In effect, the President said,

we are sending 30,000 troops to stand up the Afghans so we can stand down eighteen

months from now. Sound familiar?

We are told this will not be another Vietnam, yet the similarities are striking. The

dispute in Afghanistan is a civil war between the majority Pashtun Taliban and other ethnic

groups. The government of Afghanistan is weak and propped up by American power as was

the government of Vietnam. Karzai does not have widespread support due to a fraudulent

election and rampant corruption. As in Vietnam, the Afghans themselves don't seem to want

to fight for their own nation. Just as we tried to train an effective Vietnamese army, and

failed; now we are asking Afghans, many of them Pashtuns, to fight and kill their countrymen.

What's more, this war does not have popular support here at home with the latest polling

showing 53% of Americans want us out of the country. As in Vietnam, we are foreigners

fighting an enemy on their home turf.

In his speech, the President did not even hint at the question of India vs. Pakistan.

The Taliban was created and supported by the Pakistan military and intelligence services

to destabilize, disrupt, and take over Afghanistan in order to reduce or eliminate Indian

influence. The dirty little secret is India and Pakistan have been using Afghanistan for a

proxy war. There appear to be strong elements in Pakistan who still want the Afghan

Taliban to succeed; so how do 30,000 additional troops address this problem?

Obama appears to have agreed to expand the war in Afghanistan for the same reason

Johnson expanded the Vietnam war...domestic politics! Tapes of Johnson talking to aids

reveal he did not believe the war could be won; but he was afraid of being accused of being

soft on communism by Republicans if he did not add more troops. Obama has been told by

his political advisors if he withdraws troops or does not appear to be aggressively prosecuting

a war against the Taliban/al Qaeda and there is another terrorist attack in this country; he

will be savaged by the neo-cons and regressives and his re-election will be in serious doubt.

The irony here is delicious. Obama is President today because Hillary Clinton, John Edwards,

and Joe Biden made a political calculation to support the use of force in Iraq in order to

advance their campaigns for President. Obama opposed the war in Iraq and he is President

today because of it. Now he is expanding the war in Afghanistan using similar political

calculations; so where does that leave us, the voter?

The President says this is not a blank check or an open-ended commitment to

Afghanistan. The reality is eighteen months from now, as he is gearing up his Presidential

re-election campaign, Obama will be under intense pressure to continue the war and even

expand it. Eighteen months from now, if our casualties are continuing, if their government

is shaky, if popular support has eroded even more, if the situation in Pakistan is deteriorating,

and if Regressives are attacking Obama for being soft on terrorism; there is not the slightest

chance our President will begin to draw down troop levels. It's a simple fact of American

politics. Eighteen months from now we will still be no closer to a definition of victory

than we are today.

Eighteen months from now America's military machine will still be broken. Soldiers

will be on their forth or fifth tours of duty. Equipment will still not have been replaced

to make up for all that was lost, destroyed, or simply worn out from all our previous years

of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. The costs to the American taxpayer to care for damaged

veterans will continue to skyrocket; and should disaster or conflict arise here at home or

anywhere else on the globe, our ability to respond will be perfectly impotent. How's that

for national security? It's called no national security at all!

Mark Twain was right when he said, "...history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes".

Obama is ignoring what happened to President Johnson. He is walking into an unwinnable

situation with his eyes open and hasn't learned anything from his predecessors. He says

this war is in our national interest when we at home lack jobs and are losing our homes.

When our states are close to bankruptcy and the economy shows few signs of recovery,

can't this somehow be defined as "national interest" to those in Washington? Isn't an

economically strong America better for our national security than control of the poppy

fields of Afghanistan?

Obama ran for President promising to bring about change. He was going to be different

than George Bush. He promised to think outside the box by proposing new ways to improve

the health of this nation. But, at West Point there wasn't any significant difference between

Obama and Bush. And that is where we stand today with those that call the shots in

Washington. Don't think I don't wish it were otherwise. What do you think? I welcome

your comments and rebuttals. Please send them to


  1. Its time to hit the streets lion we are not represented in our goverment any more nomatter how we vote we have to get there attention marching in the streets did that in the late 1960s but then we the people let our guard down. so now the new boss is the same as the old boss. miss your strong voice on the air


  2. I only listened to a part of the speech, because I like the cadets was asleep from boredom, and I wasn't told to applaud after the speech. The only way we can save us from ourselves is to get rid of Obama.