Obama’s Afghanistan Speech

Posted: December 1, 2009 in Current Events, Politics
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, did Obama sell you on the idea that we need to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan?  Me, I am not convinced.  Some random thoughts:

  • To be fair to Obama, I am not sure anything he could have said tonight would have convinced me that sending more troops is a good idea.  I am just so tired of both the Iraq and Afghanistan “wars”.
  • I am very cynical about these things.  So this is probably not fair, but I tend to think that the decision to send more troops was actually made months ago, and this supposed review period was all about creating the appearances that a thoughtful decision-making process was used.
  • I use “wars” in quotes, because these are not wars.  They are occupations.  I noted that when Obama was mentioning that Afghanistan had to endure occupations from Russia and the Taliban, he did not include our own occupation in the list.
  • Our goals continue to be intangible, such as “increased security” and “improved stability”.  How are such things defined?  They really can’t be.
  • I am not sure there can be stability as long as we have troops stationed in Afghanistan.  A military tends to kill people and break things.  That doesn’t sound very stable to me.
  • I wonder if people, particularly hardcore Obama supporters, will notice how much he sounded like Bush at times tonight.  (OK, sounded like Bush if Bush actually had a mastery of the English language!)  He even did that lame thing where he listed the number of countries that have troops stationed in Afghanistan as a measure of international support.  Sure, some of these countries literally contribute troops numbering in the single digits.  But technically that is support I suppose.  It was lame when Bush used to do it, it is lame now that Obama is doing it.
  • The Taliban is not the same thing as Al Qaeda.  I know the Taliban is bad, but I don’t think keeping them out of power should be a primary objective.
  • Obama mention repeatedly the necessity of keeping the pressure on Al Qaeda.   That is a worthwhile goal, but what are we going to do now that we haven’t been doing in the last 8 years?  Let’s keep in mind, Al Qaeda is a terrorist organization, not an actual military.  I find it hard to believe that we haven’t had the resources necessary to completely eradicate these guys there.  What I do believe is that we have lacked the political will to cross the border into Pakistan to go after those guys.  So what are we going to do?  It sounded like we were going to rely on Pakistan to take care of it.  Will they?
  • I guess the one positive thing is that at least we set a time table.  Of course, that was qualified with the “conditions on the ground” thing.  But at least it was not completely open-ended.

Bottom line, I think this is a bad idea.  Iraq was Bush’s “war”, Afghanistan is going to become Obama’s “war”.  And I just think we are going to accomplish very little at a great cost of lives and resources.  But what do you think?  Maybe I am not being open-minded enough.

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