Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Can Both Sides be Right?

She sleeps with vodka bottle,
he throws it out,
she responds with knife.

How nice to have a President with brains who also seems to use them! Obama has rejected all options presented to him on Afghanistan, all of which involved sending more troops. Does this mean he won’t send more troops? Not necessarily. But as he has said our commitment there is not open-ended he has certainly taken a new position and indicated that he wants us out of there if and when possible. You know perfectly well that were Bush/Cheney still in office we’d already be there with more and more troops, more and more war profiteers, more and more deaths, and no plan to end it ever (a non-ending war is necessary to keep their industrial/military/political system in eternal profits).

I find this to be a truly interesting situation in which it is possible that both sides of the argument are probably correct. But they begin from entirely different premises. That is, if the goal is to “win,” the generals are probably correct, they need more troops. But as it has become clear, there is no way to win either militarily or politically. While some have already concluded we cannot win militarily, there has remained, among some at least, the idea that we could still bring about a democratic government in Afghanistan. Now, however, even that goal is being acknowledged as unrealistic and unattainable. This is partly because the corruption of the Karzai government makes it difficult if not impossible to continue, and also because our Ambassador there, a retired three-star Admiral with vast experience both in the military and in politics, has been imploring Obama not to send more troops. What Obama is being forced to decide is what to do in these circumstances. This is as it should be. He is the Commander-in-Chief as well as our President. He does not have to tell the generals they are wrong, only that as their goals cannot be achieved, we have to change them. He is, I sincerely hope, changing them by abandoning them as totally unrealistic, facing reality, and trying to end what is a hopelessly lost cause. The growing opposition on the part of the American public to sending more troops, plus the fact that we cannot realistically afford this unnecessary “war,” should make Obama’s decision somewhat less politically dangerous. Of course Obama’s critics, and Republicans in general, will accuse him of surrender and of being too weak to govern, and a quitter, and doubtless a lot worse things, but if he succeeds in getting us to give up this failed venture he will surely have done the brave and right, and not simply politically expedient thing (for which he could pay a very heavy and undeserved price).

I confess I cannot understand what Republicans think they are doing. They have already lost any chance of getting much of the Black vote, it is exceedingly doubtful that many Hispanics will vote Republican, Muslims and gays will not vote for them, and now they have managed to enrage a majority of American women. They seem to believe their only chance of winning again is by causing Obama to fail. But their tactics have been so thuggish, shrill, rude, crude, and publicly announced, I can’t see how they could gain many votes that way. But this is the U.S., and half the population is of below average intelligence, and many others don’t seem to pay any attention, and on top of that the Republican propaganda machine (including the MSM) is pretty efficient, the lies are so outrageous many will believe them, and the electorate has no memory, so I suppose anything could happen. And not only that, if Obama cannot quickly demonstrate that he can walk on water and part the sea of red ink he inherited from Bush/Cheney he will no doubt be blamed for everything (that can’t perhaps be blamed on Clinton). I should think the Republican Party ought to be on the way to extinction, but stranger things have happened.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
Sir Winston Churchill

Confirmed: No good deed goes unpunished.

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