Monday, December 14, 2009

So That's The Plan In Afghanistan

If, like me, you've been wondering just why, exactly, Obama has decided to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, you might enjoy this article in Time. The essence of the situation seems to be captured in the quote below:
Back in 2002 or 2003, when the U.S. looked almost invincible, the Iranians appeared willing to concede a lot simply to forestall a U.S. attack. Now, with the U.S. mired in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are less afraid and thus less willing to deal. Similarly, the Taliban have little incentive to break with al-Qaeda so long as they feel they're gaining momentum in the Afghan war ... The harsh truth is that the U.S. is significantly weaker in the Middle East now than it was in 2002.
Hmm ... what happened in 2002? I can't seem to recall. Oh, wait I got it, wasn't that when our then-president decided to invade a country that essentially had nothing to do with al-Qaeda? Unilaterally? Without a proper strategy? Thanks George. And of course thank you Dick, thank you Don, and thank you Condi. In other words, we had a million options, and now we don't have any. We went from looking like the most bad-ass empire on Earth to looking like a bunch of circus clowns on roller skates. Sort of like this year's Pittsburgh Steelers.

So what's an Obama to do? Apparently he can't do much. Seems like he's calling the "war on terror" off (such as it was), because, lo and behold, we actually don't have a military that can just invade five different countries at once. His plan is to basically look strong while pulling out - sort of like Nixon's beloved "peace with honor." But as the article says, "It is worth noting that while many historians applaud Nixon's retreat from global containment, his decision to cozy up to dictators in Beijing, Moscow and elsewhere elicited revulsion from Americans on both left and right." And shrugs from the middle?


Herr Zrbo said...

I usually side with the anti-war camp, but I'm somewhat baffled by the anti-Afghan war protesters lately. I mean, I don't think we should have gone in in the first place, but now that we've disturbed the hornet's nest it seems like it would be somewhat irresponsible to just leave.

"Hey guys, sorry we came in to your country and blew it up, but we're running out of money. Say, you wouldn't mind if we just tip-toed out of here. You can handle the clean-up, right?"

ninquelote said...

Honestly, I don't think the Afghans would even notice if we left. Their government is already ridiculously corrupt, the Taliban was already there and will just continue flowing back and forth across the Pakistan border just like they've already done for hundreds of years, and the farmers will go back to growing opium. Business as usual for a country that's pretty much a giant pile of rocks and some caves. As long as we keep a better eye on things in the future and neutralize any threats as opposed to letting them fester, we can minimize any damage to the US.

As for the 30,000 troops, I'm sure Obama and company already knew Iran had all intentions of starting a nuclear arsenal and they are just trying to have a larger presence in the area. 30,000 isn't nearly enough to get a hold of any threat in the Afghan hills, and we have plenty of drones that can fly around the area with minimal military staff.

What needs to happen is Obama needs to make a real life and death decision. We either pull out of Afghanistan completely and Iraq for the most part, and concentrate on something else, or we really go ahead and level a whole fucking country. Personally, I say forget the pile of rocks. And as for Iran, the US being wimps about the whole middle east in general is what allowed them to get this far in developing nuclear weapons, and our presence there in that sense isn't helping either. The closer they get to bombing Israel, the closer Israel gets the bombing the shit out of Iran. Then we'll really be in a shit storm.

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