Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Politics



I am up late in Nicaragua trying to stay informed on U.S. politics... if President Obama gets Wall Street reform as is he deserves a lot of respect for addressing 3 extremely important issues, the economy, health care, and wall street. However, his open ended commitment in Afghanistan is a large shadow over the accomplishments of his administration. We have replaced the State Department with soldiers in their 20's trained to accel in combat.. These soldiers are given the responsibility to persuade a population that could not be more culturally different. Practicing a different religion and having a different skin color cannot be overlooked in our attempts to use soldiers to convince people to shop at a certain market or to support a local government official. Not to mention, every civilian casuality alienates entire villages. It seems President Obama expects Afghan civilians to endorse a war when they have had friends or immediate family members killed by reckless drone attacks, or soldiers put in impossible positions (stay alive without killing civilians). Finally even if we eradicate the Taliban and Al Qaeda we have put our faith in an election fixing, thoroughly corrupt bureaucrat, Karzai, to lead Afghanistan to stability. Terrorism will not be eliminated through nation building of failed states, the war in Afghanistan must come to an end. I will have difficulty taking pride in our President, and his accomplishments while he continues to support a military presence in Afghanistan that is taking U.S. lives and dollars, while making no long term impact on the well being of the Afghan population.





Yesterday he decided to more than halve the U.S. deficit along with other major G20 leaders and their countries by 2013. A much needed move, unfortunately the funds will come from financially strapped regulators (BP disaster) and social programs instead of from the Pentagon (limitless budget) or the War in Afghanistan.



I would like to hear some real debate on strategy going forward. I understand the strategic desire of officials using the need to have bases to keep Pakistan in check, but why can't we discuss how to keep bases without having our soldiers across the country? Just a thought to start discussion.

Video footage from http://bravenewfilms.org/videos/rethinkafghanistan/

6 comments:

Blakey said...

Oh! Do try and take pride in our president! do try, Chris. I know you want to love him again.

But its hard to love a mass murdering maniac! Indeed it is. Politics is hard, but Obama is DOING HIS BEST, to make sure the murdering happens in a "smart" way. Lets give him props for that. Try to be more pragmatic Chris old boy!

Tim Ryan said...

Blakey, Chris said he would like to hear some "real debate". Your impotent rage doesn't count as that.

Seems the only major player in the executive branch who understands that Afghanistan is an unwinnable mess is Joe Biden, and even then his position seems more of a political statement for the White House i.e. "See? Somebody here represents the anti-war constituency. (However, we're not going to listen to him.)

COIN is a strategy so flawed it is absurd. We cannot change hearts in minds in a culture we don't understand. Afghanistan is hardly even a country, it's a collection of tribes, many of which go back thousands of years, which just happens to be surrounded by other countries, giving it "borders". No amount of military force is going to turn that place into a peaceful democracy.

Maureen Burke said...

I remember reading a similar post on Lefty’s earlier in the year and being ticked that anyone would consider critiquing President Obama…considering what we’ve been through in the past decade. Since then, however, my position has slightly changed.

Now don’t get excited Blakey, I still hold strong that President Obama is the best possible man for the job right now, and is doing all that is humanly possible to set things right. But doing what is humanly possible can sometimes come with mistakes. Yes Chris, the war in Afghanistan must end and President Obama is in the wrong for sending over more troops. Yet, when it comes down to it, I think we could agree that the President would like to have our soldiers home safe and sound just as quickly as anyone. But he can’t do it alone. In this highly political world it takes more than a wave of the hand to change the fate of the involved countries. It takes a movement. It takes a movement like “Rethink Afghanistan” that informs people about what is really going on in the area. It takes you and me, and Blakey and Tim and Chris and everyone who participates in this blog to say…No. We will not accept the same violence and old-school war tactics that past leaders have chosen for us. We will not follow the same path that leads us to nothing but a bad sunburn and sand in our eye.

I think we have a unique opportunity presented before us with a unique leader in President Obama. Moreover, General Petraeus is featured in “Rethink Afghanistan,” and displays the knowledge that Al Qaeda is no longer centered in Afghanistan ~ which should lessen the grip of the U.S. This leadership, combined with our continued insistence of a forward-thinking, non-violent approach, has great potential of finally getting us out of this sand trap.

blakey said...

Well, i wrote a pretty long rebuke to that mess of words up there. But then i decided that it would be wasted on you anyway. Let me just say that, Maureen, you seem earnest, but you really do not know what you are talking about. You are very naive and give your trust to people who dont give a shit about you, (DEM POLS). I would ask you to leave the Obama fan base, but i can tell that is impossible for you. So, I dont know fuck it. I guess you will fit in great here, with all the "progressives."

i just want to highlight a few of my favorite lines...

"I think we could agree that the President would like to have our soldiers home safe and sound just as quickly as anyone."

ummm no. haha, what on earth would make you think that? Obama is increasing the troops there. This is the best way to bring them home?

"We will not follow the same path that leads us to nothing but a bad sunburn and sand in our eye."

That was cute. What about the Thousands of dead afghani men, women and children. Its all about us i guess.

"I think we have a unique opportunity presented before us with a unique leader in President Obama"

...no comment. wait yes, WHO FEEDS YOU THIS SHIT?

"forward-thinking, non-violent approach, "

YOU DO REALIZE THIS IS A WAR, RIGHT. AND WE ARE INVADERS AND OCCUPIERS? no, i guess you dont.

Tim Ryan said...

Blakey, I really don't understand what you're trying to do. Do you want to change minds? Insulting people who disagree with you is not going to do that. Do you want to promote debate? Nobody wants to debate someone whose main go-to argument can be boiled down to "I am right and you are stupid". You're angry, that's understandable. There's a lot to be angry about. But do you ever use that anger constructively? Do you ever promote any positive ideas, or do you just know how you don't want things to be? Do you ever go out in the real world and try to make a difference, or do you just look for blogs that you can vent on?

Debate, especially passionate debate, is what this site needs. But what we don't need is somebody lowering the discourse. I want you to stick around, Blakey. It's important to have somebody further left of the mainstream to stir up the waters. But I would like you to consider changing how you do it.

Bill said...

It's great that you disagree, but you're doing your message a disservice when you keep attacking everyone that disagrees with you. Do expect to get anyone to listen to you when you carry yourself like that?

Here's a better question: Maureen was talking about Rethink Afghanistan as an example of how to inform the public about Afghanistan in an effort to change our current policy there. You can insult her and call her naive for being optimistic about these efforts, but what would you do instead? Aside from flaming people on a blog, are you doing anything to put an end to the war? Do you have any better ideas?