Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Real Men Don't Sacrifice the Lives of Others to Win Elections

Rob Herbert, NYTimes:

"The word is that Mr. Obama will tell the public Tuesday that he is sending another 30,000 or so troops to Afghanistan. And while it is reported that he has some strategy in mind for eventually turning the fight over to the ragtag and less-than-energetic Afghan military, it’s clear that U.S. forces will be engaged for years to come, perhaps many years.

The tougher choice for the president would have been to tell the public that the U.S. is a nation faced with terrible troubles here at home and that it is time to begin winding down a war that veered wildly off track years ago. But that would have taken great political courage. It would have left Mr. Obama vulnerable to the charge of being weak, of cutting and running, of betraying the troops who have already served. The Republicans would have a field day with that scenario.

Lyndon Johnson is heard on the tapes telling Senator Richard Russell, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, about a comment made by a Texas rancher in the days leading up to the buildup in Vietnam. The rancher had told Johnson that the public would forgive the president “for everything except being weak.”

Russell said: “Well, there’s a lot in that. There’s a whole lot in that.”

We still haven’t learned to recognize real strength, which is why it so often seems that the easier choice for a president is to keep the troops marching off to war."


It's done (unless Congress has the good sense -- don't count on it! -- to withhold funding for Obama's War). Tom Engelhardt comments:

"Unfortunately, the most essential problem isn’t in Afghanistan; it’s here in the United States, in Washington, where knowledge is slim, egos large, and national security wisdom is deeply imprinted on a system bleeding money and breaking down. The president campaigned on the slogan, “Change we can believe in.” He then chose as advisors -- in the economic sphere as well, where a similar record of gross error, narrow and unimaginative thinking, and over-identification with the powerful could easily be compiled -- a crew who had never seen a significant change, or an out-of-the-ordinary thought it could live with -- and still can’t.

As a result, the Iraq War has yet to begin to go away, the Afghan War is being escalated in a major way, the Middle East is in some turmoil, Guantanamo remains open,
black sites are still operating in Afghanistan, the Pentagon’s budget has grown yet larger, and supplemental demands on Congress for yet more money to pay for George W. Bush’s wars will, despite promises otherwise, soon enough be made.

A stale crew breathing stale air has ensured that Afghanistan, the first of Bush’s disastrous wars, is now truly Obama’s War; and the news came directly from West Point where the president surrendered to his militarized fate."

Update 2:



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