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Afghanistan: “Obama’s War”

This was the lead story – front-page, above-the-fold-in yesterday’s edition of USA Today: Obama’s war: Deploying 17,000 raises stakes in Afghanistan.

I found this striking because almost every other news venue was covering economic issues, devoting attention either to the slightly expanded mortgage-holder relief program that the Obama administration is beginning to push or the new requests for billions of dollar in corporate welfare requested by GM and Chrysler.

Like most Americans, I cannot judge how much of a threat to international or national peace the Taleban continues to pose: I simply do not have access to the relevant information. But I do think we need to keep an eye on foreign military adventures as we ride the all-too-adventurous roller-coaster of economic affairs.

This deployment to Afghanistan, while not at all expected, is scheduled to occur before any draw downs in troops in Iraq. That’s worrisome. But what is also worrisome is the tendency Presidents have to use military buildups to jumpstart the economy. How will be know whether the build-up in Afghanistan addresses national security (we have the same Secretary of Defense we had under the George W. Bush administration) or whether it is serving as a locus of unquestionable spending, rather like Operation Desert Shield during the George H.W. Bush term or Grenada during the Reagan years?

For those of us who would like to see government spending meant to help the economy concentrated on domestic infrastructure, rebuilding our own country rather than ravaging another one, how will we hold this administration accountable for assuring us that it is not using the good old military-industrial complex and the new tactic of shouting “terrorist” to siphon funds to the special interest groups that will push for military spending in Afghanistan but who have little or no interest in domestic improvements?

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73 Responses

  1. This is off topic. Check out this link to CNN and see what it says about representation of women in media. Clearly the MSM thinks seeing the world through female eyes is not interesting, or valuable, in spite of the success of Twilight which was directed by a woman.

    http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20259843,00.html?cnn=yes

  2. Heidi Li – Thank you for posting this. I noticed the same thing and have been too busy packing, moving and unpacking to write about it.

    He did promise he was going to do this during the campaign. The media and the Obamasphere pretended he was some kind of dove because he made a speech in 2002, but we all knew differently, didn’t we?

    I have massive problems with this idea. What is the mission in Afghanistan? Why are we still there? What good will more troops do? Where are we getting them from? Will a draft be coming soon? Also, isn’t this the same idea behind “the surge” which Obama at first (correctly) decried and then cravenly stated was working “beyond our wildest expectations?”

    I really hate this guy. I really really do.

  3. But on the bright side, we can rest assured that all the Obamabot children will be racing down to the nearest military recruitment office to sign up, screaming all the while, “Yes, we can.” Yes we can enlist. Yes we can be deployed to Afghanistan. Yes we can fight and die in Barry’s war.

    I can see them all streaming out of the classrooms at the university where I work. And all the Obamabot faculty will be encouraging them to give their all for the new Messiah.

    What? You don’t think that will happen?

  4. Katherine B., ha, ha, thanks for the laugh. I can just see the recruiting office parking lots full of KoolAid stained, rainbow, winged, unity unicorn ponies, with laptops, Blackberries and iPhones in their Starbucks mocha choca latte filled cupholder equipped saddlebags.

  5. A-stan will be worse than Iraq. The Afganis are guerilla fighters and the terrain is ideal for that.

    The Soviets were brutal but they finally gave up. We would be better served by putting a fence around the country and letting them go to hell.

  6. Hey HL,

    Great post! This is all hugely worrisome, as if the economy wasn’t enough to worry about. As Cinie wrote in an earlier post (to paraphrase) — this is the promise that Obama decides to keep?

    Btw, Bill Moyers, who’s gone back to being a great journalist now that the election is over, recently had two guests on his show, Marilyn Young and Pierre Sprey, who think that Obama has already doomed his presidency with his actions in South Asia (Af-Pak or whatever you want to call it). Here’s a link to the segment.

    Good to see you back, Madamab!

  7. Yes we can fight and die in Barry’s war.

    Yeah, just like the College Republicans went to fight for G-Dub in Iraq

  8. But, but…he made a speech!

  9. They would have been better served to have fought the fight back when we still had allies over there and we had global support to stabilize the unrest.

    Evdently Obama is going to pull a Cheney, he’s goin g to ignore the fact that time does not exist in a vacumn.
    Just because we should haqve done it before doesn’t mean it is a good idea now.

  10. I think reading this interview with Richard Holbrooke is very useful in relation to the Afghanistan/Pakistan issue:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/jan-june09/holbrooke_02-18.html

  11. Hope this isn’t hijacking the thread, heidi, but yesterday TL featured a BTD thread on “Why Obama is right (and Feingold is wrong) on Afghanistan”. About halfway into this thread, a commenter named Dissenter shows up. She spent a year and a half in Afghanistan on “the reconstruction side”, and has some very interesting things to say, among them – waging war there is a dead cert fool’s venture. Later, she also expounds on the very depressing plight of women in Afghanistan.

    Her comments are well worth reading. The first (long) comment is #52, about halfway down. A few comments later, you’ll find #60 (a short one). Then near thread’s end, Dissenter has another long entry, #108. She blows giant holes in BTD’s thesis, essentially silencing him. Her thoughts made a huge impression on me, as they’re drawn from hard, firsthand experience.

  12. I agree with myiq2xu about the dangers of fighting in Afghanistan. In many ways, Afghanistan was to the USSR what Vietnam was to the U.S. But Obama does not know history and, hence, is incapable of learning from it.

    I wonder how long it will be until those folks with the Obama/peace sign bumper stickers start trying to scrape them off.

  13. Thanks Kat5. I’ll have to go over there right now to check out her comments. I’m sure Dissenter knows more about what is happening on the ground in Afghanistan than any of us who have never been there, including BTD.

    Great post, Heidi. I believe that Afghanistan and Pakistan will be Obama’s Iraq. And he still hasn’t kept his promise to withdraw troops in Iraq. Combine that with the economic disaster in this country, and I can see horrible things happening in the next several years.

  14. I don’t know if this is correct blogger etiquette, but I will post Dissenter’s long comment here. I think it’s worth the read:

    Here is the real issue (5.00 / 4) (#52)
    by dissenter on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 03:38:03 PM EST
    As someone that has spent a year and half in Afghanistan trying to “fix” the country on the reconstruction side I will tell you that if this country gets any deeper into that swamp we had better be prepared to spend in excess of $1 trillion dollars.

    I will address a couple of posts above – The military will NOT eradicate poppy. In fact, they have been fighting the state dept over that issue for a few years. They refuse to do it. Eradication leads to assaults on our soldiers and reconstruction workers and it is counter-productive. You don’t wipe out people’s only livelihood until there is a replacement.

    If we are going to try and actually “save” Afghanistan, it will require massive amounts of money and reconstruction people like myself. Having said that, we must have security to do our jobs. Right now, nobody can travel anywhere outside Kabul and even that is getting dicey.

    So, not only do you have to have billions in funds to create jobs, develop agriculture, clean up the political mess in the country, address health care, law and order, legal disputes, corruption, etc – you will need massive security to carry out the mission.

    If you can’t hold ground, you can’t reconstruct anything.

    The military can’t provide enough security. We don’t have the troops to do it and they shouldn’t be guarding reconstruction teams. They should be killing terrorists. This means there must be a huge injection of private security contractors. I know I’m not going back without better security. I’ve nearly lost my life 3 times.

    Problems Obama should be looking at first and foremost:

    1. Karzai has to go. Is the US willing to back a new horse and then hold leverage over them so the money can be accounted for? Right now almost everything we put into their coffers is stolen. Messing in their elections is problematic even when most Afghans hate Karzai.

    2. Is the US willing to spend a trillion to do this job because anyone that is looking to the UN, NATO or the EU for that funding is living in delusion land. They aren’t going to pony up. In fact, they are going to pull their troops out of there. A good chunk of the EU is broke thanks to the the financial mess across the globe. Most EU citizens want out of Afghanistan.

    3. There are too many chiefs and not enough indians over there. We either take charge and own the mess or we don’t go down that road. NATO isn’t working. ISAF is a joke and it has no credibility with the Afghans.

    4. Is it right to spend a trillion on a country that refuses to give half its citizens even the most basic human rights?

    After watching the situation go from bad to worse, I have to say that I don’t think this mess is fixable. I would leave in the special forces, drones, the CIA and a few other things and pull the plug.

    The truth is, we can’t fix Afghanistan. The Iraq solution is no solution in Afghanistan. It is a totally different country. I for one do not want one more of my tax dollars to go to any reconstruction unless we have total control over the money. That won’t happen.

    I use to be someone that wanted to do whatever necessary to help the Afghans. After watching what has gone on over there, I have decided that the only real option is to kill bad guys and let those Afghans that have helped us immigrate to the US. Right now, they are all on kill lists for helping us. We owe them.

    For those that think we can ever control the frontier land, I say go over there. You will quickly decide we can’t control anything and the best option is to get out.

    Afghanistan is truly the graveyard of empires. Nobody has ever pacified that country and we are naive if we think we are going to.

    That is just my two cents.

  15. I read that for myself at talkleft.

  16. The Russians and the UK could not “win” in Afghanistan. We have even less of a chance. Those behind Barry , like Zbigniew Brzezinski, even used Afghanistan to sink the Soviets….so what’s the game here?

    There will be” peace” when we pay war lords and not before. We want to be there and at war, and neither side gives a hang about women. But you knew that

  17. In reading Three Cups of Tea, it is obvious that the geography of Afghanistan in not in our favour. In fact, although I’m not up on my history of the area, I believe Afghanistan is known for breaking invading empires. And, if the reports about Carter being involved in getting the Soviets bogged down there are correct, then it would seem that Obama’s administration should be more than aware of the dangers. The entire situation raises serious questions, especially considering how strained our military already is.

  18. I learned in algebra that not all problems have solutions.

    We had a chance back in 2002, but Bush wasted it.

  19. I have to agree with “Dissenter”. Getting involved more deeply in this region would turn the conflict into Obama’s Viet Nam – much worse actually. Some friends of mine and a journalist who was interviewed recently on PBS say the same thing. Corruption and graft runs deep, nothing can be done without a bribe and even then it can’t be done. Karzai is hated and disrespected along with being considered more corrupt than the others put together.

    But perhaps turning this into a military diversion from our current economic situation was the plan before the election, hence the discussion of increased trrops? After all our politicians knew more about the state of our economy than we all along.

  20. This is the last comment from Dissenter I will post but I found her thoughts on women in Afghanistan to be quite interesting and a side that I have never heard or read about before:

    That is what I thought (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by dissenter on Wed Feb 18, 2009 at 09:51:10 PM EST
    Until I learned that most Afghans are just fine with women being second class slaves. I couldn’t wait to save women.

    It was a rude awakening to find that most Afghan women are fine with their social status. I know that is shocking to westerners but I found some of the most vial people in that entire country to be women. I am one just for the record.

    Once you get outside Kabul….it is like walking into the 13th century. Even some of the female university “graduates” defy explanation. I tried for months to hire one but I couldn’t find one that I could deal with on a daily basis. Instead, I found a few young men from the university and their views towards women’s rights were light years ahead of the female university graduates I interviewed.

    Do not get me wrong, I sympathize greatly with the women who want an education and want to move forward but they are very much in the minority in that tribal society. As westerners it is hard for us to comprehend that.

    I became quite ill while in country. I had to go to the military hospital. I was visited by some doctors in the middle of the night who wanted my a opinion on a case they had. They told me that a woman had been set on fire and they wanted to know whether someone would really do that to themselves or was there another more likely suspect in the story. There were differing claims on what happened.

    I listened to the story and then told them three things could have happened. Yes, the woman could have set herself on fire to get out of a bad situation. Or the husband could have done it because of some real or perceived slight. Or thirdly, and just as likely, the mother in law did it.

    All three scenarios were plausible. The military doctors were shocked and couldn’t understand why the mother in law would do it. I told them that unfortunately in Afghanistan the tortured quickly become the torturers. A woman has no power in society until her son marries. She then ironically controls his life and choices. Many times, she also makes the daughter in law into her personal slave.

    While nobody wants to talk about it, a lot of women in Afghanistan are in fact torturers.

    Like I said, unless you want to spend trillions and have the patience to watch the country develop over three generations…you better be careful what you start.

    In my opinion, we will all be dead by the time the experiment is finished and women are given basic rights in Afghanistan.

    The women who want freedom, marry more enlightened men and together they have one goal. To get the hell out of the country.

    Nobody that wants big change wants to stay. They know it is not possible in their lifetimes.

  21. DisenfranchisedVoter, on February 19th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you for posting that.

    ” Get out.” ..it’s still the best advice generally .

  22. I can’t remember if I heard this on Italian tv, or somewhere else, but some news anchor was saying a couple of days ago, that the US was prepared to grant citizenship to new immigrants, if they were prepared to join the military and be sent abroad. (Immigrants had to have been 2 years in the States.)

  23. So does this mean that the Code Pinkos will now don BDUs and enlist to support Teh One?

    laurie, I think the NYT had an article about that. The military needs special skills such as languages.

  24. obama lost tom hayden, who told him last summer all this saber-rattling in afghanistan was ill-advised…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/chasing-needles-by-burnin_b_112728.html

    …and tom still thinks it’s really, really dumb to dump resources into a war that’s already lost. check out “obama’s wars” from last month.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-hayden/obamas-wars_b_155669.html

  25. King Amanullah in 1919 began initiating social reforms that included a new dress code which permitted women in Kabul to go unveiled and encouraged officials to wear Western dress. Modernization proved costly for Afghanistan and was resented by the traditional elements of Afghan society.

    It seems they keep going back to the old ways. I think we just need to get.

  26. I guess we are there to ensure the world’s poppy supply….basically .

  27. The Taliban is no threat to the United States. The problem was that they allowed Al Queda to use their country as a base of operations.

    But that problem was minor in comparison to the financial support Al Queda received, much of which came from our alleged allies in Saudi Arabia (the same place most of the 9/11 hijackers came from)

    A-stan has no oil, strategic value or critical resources.

  28. Poppies are thier oil . The Taliban stopped poppy production….that is more than enough of a reason for us to invade.

  29. My first thought when I heard backtrack was wait a minute, didn’t he go to Pakistan when he was in college on some rich family’s dime?
    Who in Pakistan will make money on this infusion of our people?
    Who stands to benefit, Not America, not Europe and certainly not the the Afghan people?
    What companies still want to build a pipeline through Afghanistan?

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  30. myiq

    That is part of the problem. The only thing the poor place has going for it is poppy production.

    I do agree with the poster who said we’d have to dump trillions into the country to make it so that the case was otherwise and I do not think we’d see a return on those trillions for decades. I’m not sure we have decades to wait on an investment return particularly when we are having to borrow to make the investment.

  31. We just don’t have the money for Obama’s folly. Can’t he show he’s a He Man some other way?

  32. Can’t he show he’s a He Man some other way?

    He could take off his shirt and flash his moobs

  33. Myiq,

    Please, I just finished lunch. I need time to digest before picturing that!

  34. I’ve got an idea…it’s radical. If he wants to reshape a country why not start with OURS. Health care or education are two areas he can start with. Jiminy Crickets.

  35. From Cannonfire:

    Why am I suddenly flashing on that creepy remark Joe Biden made…the one about Obama being “tested” by some major event within six months?

  36. Poppy production increased 17% in 2007 to 202,000 hectares. (Note: 1 hectare = 2.4710538 acres)

    (Source: CIA World Factbook)

  37. Thanks for all the links folks. I have only a passing knowledge of the Afghanistan situation, although I know a fair bit about how WE armed the Taleban so they could fight the Soviet Union, which the Taleban did, and then turned around and starting fighting us via radical Islam.

    It is so easy to get caught up in the economic news of every day – because it is important – that we need to remember to pay attention to this Afghanistan situation. One thing that the administration ought to be doing is building relationships with India but the fear is that a) this will annoy Pakistan and b) worse, China, who we are in such debt too. Pres. Bill Clinton worked hard on improving and making more robust our relations with India – I’m going to be watching for this from State and from the White House.

  38. OT
    Dakinikat

    No Quarter just put up a post talking about Paul Keating.
    He is saying some pretty harsh truths.
    You would understand it better than I do.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  39. cwaltz, oh, he’s got an education plan. A big part of it is militarized schools. There are already 5 or 6 of them in Chicago, run by various branches of the military. Closing others, and kicking out and institutionalizing huge numbers of underperforming “discipline problem” kids is too.

  40. cwaltz, on February 19th, 2009 at 2:21 pm Said:

    But the trillions wouldn’t be going to Northrup Grummond, for example, cwaltz, and some might actually have to go to small business owners or people who provide or need health care and we just can’t seem, even with a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress to insist that this is where the money is going to go.

  41. The trouble with “Bush’s Iraq War” and “Obama’s Afghanistan War” is that the folks doing the fighting and dying are our sons, daughters, sister, brothers, fathers, uncles and so on.

    And the innocent Afghani people that die leave blood on the American Flag. And that’s our flag, not Bush’s or Obama’s.

  42. HLF,

    Here is a link with lots of info about Afghanistan history:

    http://www.afghanan.net/afghanistan/history.htm

  43. Cinie, on February 19th, 2009 at 2:28 pm Said:

    Well since the cool college kids won’t be enlisting in Obama’s war, he must get recruits from somewhere.

  44. How much money has been defrauded in Iraq:

    “I believe the real looting of Iraq after the invasion was by US officials and contractors, and not by people from the slums of Baghdad,” said one US businessman active in Iraq since 2003.

    In one case, auditors working for SIGIR discovered that $57.8m was sent in “pallet upon pallet of hundred-dollar bills” to the US comptroller for south-central Iraq, Robert J Stein Jr, who had himself photographed standing with the mound of money. He is among the few US officials who were in Iraq to be convicted of fraud and money-laundering.

    Despite the vast sums expended on rebuilding by the US since 2003, there have been no cranes visible on the Baghdad skyline except those at work building a new US embassy and others rusting beside a half-built giant mosque that Saddam was constructing when he was overthrown. One of the few visible signs of government work on Baghdad’s infrastructure is a tireless attention to planting palm trees and flowers in the centre strip between main roads. Those are then dug up and replanted a few months later.

    from the Independent London
    http://tinyurl.com/bvgtab

  45. What companies still want to build a pipeline through Afghanistan?

    Yeah, I get the feeling there is an ulterior motive involved here.

    I can’t picture the guy who voted “present” a gazillion times making a risky and likely unpopular decision like this just because he thought it would be a noble effort.

  46. he must get recruits from somewhere.

    It’s an old trick – take the poor young men and send them off to fight wars in other places. Kill two birds with one stone – if they are fighting somewhere else they aren’t rebelling here.

  47. myiq2xu,

    When LBJ instituted the lottery as part of the draft that was the beginning of the end. LBJ saw that so many poor were serving and others were being exempted. He sought to end that. It was a big part of his undoing.

  48. We cannot afford to do this, either economically or by the loss of life. What is the objective? The Pakistanis and the Afghanis know where Obama is hidden. But after 7 years they are not about to give him up. That is not about to change.

    Haven’t we learned anything from the past Soviet invasion? We cannot win and the fight is not worth having. That country is intent on living in the Dark Ages. Sad as that may be, we have no right to insist differently. Another quagmire is the last thing the US needs. Dealing with regional warloads, whose “loyalty” shifts whenever they see a handful of dollars extended by any hand, is not diplomacy. At best it is bribery, at the worst it is death.

  49. Pakistan would be Obama’s war but Afghanistan is Hillary’s. She believes that the war in Afghanistan can be won – “end the war in Iraq and win the war in Afghanistan”
    I really don’t know what should be done about Afghanistan. It is clear it is an unwinnable war but just leaving might make things worse. Leaving Iraq I agree but Afghanistan, I don’t know.

  50. Not that I think that Military service is a Preq for being Pres, but you have to admit, that if a man (or woman for that matter) had actually been “in the $hit” they would be less likely to send other kids to die in a war.

    Some wars are neccesary, WWI and II, but many are not Korea, ‘nam, Iraq. The Necessary War will always have volunteers, the UNnecessary war will always have victims.

    BTW I’m TRUELY surprised Jerlyn left Dissenter’s comments there. She became too fond of the Ban button for my taste.

  51. OT protesters protesting Obama at his speeches
    Arizona: http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/story/135640

    Denver – http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_11723541

  52. Sorry, OT, am listening to the US/Canada press conference- it is embarassing-the Canadian PM just gave a detailed and articulate discussion on energy, both in English and very sexy French. Blabla is oohing and umhing through his contribution- I guess he needs that little pre-filled computer screen with possible answers, quick.

  53. Downticket,

    Disagree. Obama is the President and only Obama can do this. Any wars that are entered into by the USA are all Obama’s Wars now. The buck stops with him not Hillary Clinton.

  54. Owen, on February 19th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    Afghanistan I can agree but the Iraq war was not necessary. Iraq didn’t deserve to be attacked. They had done nothing so I don’t see how that was a necessary war.

  55. Our take on “privates” and Afghanistan…a bit of snark inspired by Kenosha Marge…

    Obama World in Pictures: Privates and Flights of Fancy

    http://insightanalytical.wordpress.com/2009/02/19/obama-world-in-pictures-privates-and-flights-of-fancy/

  56. he called it unnecessary, downticket.

  57. As the Afghanistan news comes out, Hillary is safely in Asia, not Central Asia…at least the pics of her are not from the hotseat of the announced troop surge.

    We’ll see when he ships her there…

  58. Can the lawyers here please tell me, don’t they have speaking classes in law school?
    How do you convince a jury if you are a terrible speaker?
    If you ummh and ahhh through a presentation to a jury don’t you only not make your point but lose the case?

    Was backtrack really in law school or was he on vacation or napping?

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE , MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS, EQUALISTS, AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  59. Just for the record, from the SOS website..

    “In her first trip abroad since taking office, Secretary Clinton is traveling to Japan (February 16-18), Indonesia (February 18-19), the Republic of Korea (February 19-20), and China (February 20-22)”

  60. Downticket, on February 19th, 2009 at 3:14 pm Said:

    I put Iraq in the UNnecessary war part….

  61. I’ll repeat my link to a very useful and informative interview with Richard Holbrooke on Afghanistan and Pakistan. I think it is worth reading:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/asia/jan-june09/holbrooke_02-18.html

  62. Disenfranchised, thanks for posting Dissenter’s comment. I’m afraid that part of the reason Obarky is so blind to the problems in Afghanistan — how do we get the poppy economy converted into something else– because he never held any bloody meetings when he was the chairperson of the committee. Why people trust his judgment in re to Afghan problem is beyond me. I’ve read that the poppy situation resembles something like a feudal system but much much worse wherein families are selling their daughters (as young as 5) to the “drug lords” to pay off their debt from converting to poppy fields from family farms.

    The time for taking care of the Taleban in the first place was in the 1990s when they took over and were killing women for not complying with their stringent codes. Now, it won’t do any good IF they don’t work on a plan to get rid of the poppy lords that dominate the country.

  63. I don’t think it will work, but I do understand the desire to expand forces there. Here’s the problem, we need to stop calling it the Afghanistan war. It’s Agh/Pak. The war has mostly moved to Pakistan. The desire to win there militarily is because Pakistan is on the verge of being taken over by the Taliban and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Still, I would bet my house it won’t work. Still, I think they are panicked and don’t know what to do.

  64. FembotsForObama, there is a reason we didn’t deal with Afghanistan in the ’90’s. It’s because Afghanistan is where empires go to die (see Russia/UK). Actually the Taliban was more against poppy than the former regime. Here would be my solution. The world community should just buy the poppy. I know, seems odd. But I do not think you can really force poor farmers not to grow one of the most valuable crops in the world, and I think efforts to do so will prove futile.

  65. myiq2xu, on February 19th, 2009 at 2:04 pm Said:
    The Taliban is no threat to the United States. The problem was that they allowed Al Queda to use their country as a base of operations.
    But that problem was minor in comparison to the financial support Al Queda received, much of which came from our alleged allies in Saudi Arabia (the same place most of the 9/11 hijackers came from)
    A-stan has no oil, strategic value or critical resources.
    *****************
    Myiq — I’m a bit confused. I thought that the natural gas pipeline was part of the reason we are in Afghanistan, along with the other “stan” countries (Uzbekistan) that have nuclear plants. The harboring terrorists was just a convenient excuse for Bush co.

  66. Masslib, couldn’t agree more. I’m just saying that we had a much better chance (morally and financially) in the 1990s when the Taleban had just taken over if we were ever going to “change” Afghanistan. We still had an embassy there during that transition if I recall correctly. We flubbed up our main mission there which was supposedly to get bin Laden, but Bush outsourced that to local warlords so he got away and fled over the mountains into Pakistan (my feeling is intentionally, but that’s another discussion). You are totally right about the Taleban’s success in removing poppy and how the removal of the Taleban has led to a poppy economy. The war has shifted to an Afghani/Pakistani one, and I was so shocked that so many other liberals thought that Obama would be leading us to peace because he flat out said that he was upping operations in Afghanistan and would attack Pakistan!!!

  67. It was worrisome to hear Obama during his interview with Canadian journalist Peter Mansbridge on the CBC (Cdn Broadcasting Corp).

    Obama, when asked by the CBC reporter said that he “believes in DIPLOMACY AND DEVELOPMENT(!) and not military solutions to contain the terrorists in the region”

    Then that very day we heard of his sending 17,000 SEVENTEEN THOUSAND TROOPS to AFGANISTAN!

    Is Obama a liar, a delusional War Monger, or the other side of the Bush coin! Americans have been duped! Barack is just another puppet for the Oil Interests providing protection for the Pipelines in the Caspian. He’s been told to protect the pipelines and establish permanent base in Afganistan. Heaven help him and the world if Pakistan explodes as a result. Barry doesn’t have the Experience and Judgment to realize what he is doing is potentially and surely catastrophic. He’s far worse than Bush….

  68. Women are treated worse than chattle in Afghanistan by the Taliban. No education, medical worse than for animals. I am glad Obama is taking on the taliban in Afghanistan. This doesn’t change my opinion of Obama, he is just continuing what Bush would have done, but I am hopeful that the taliban can be crushed into dirt.

  69. Agreed.

    The Taliban’s treatment of women is neanderthal at best. But I really don’t think Bush sent the troops there and spent a trillion to allow little girls to go to school and advance women’s rights in Afganistan. He was using billions of dollars weekly to use the soldiers as protection of the oil pipelines in the Caspian. And now Bush III (Obama) is sending 17,000 troops in a hopeless situation under the same pretense. The way he allowed the misogynist treatment of HIllary (and Palin) during the campaign leads me to believe he’s at best insincere in going there to protect women’s rights! Nope! He’s there to advance the oil interests of Mr. George Soros and they need the pipelines protected….Barrack’s just the other xeroxed side of Bush. But more dangerous as he’s got no Experience and zilch Judgment. It’s like giving the keys to your brand new car to your teenaged son out on his first date! Except the world’s sitting in the suicide seat! Zeus help us!

  70. I would say, “Let it be Obama’s war and let it destroy his presidency the way Iraq destroyed Bush’s.” But then there would be all those dead people and the blood. So, I say, get out. Like so many poor and isolated areas, A-stan is a black hole. Its strategic value questionable especially with the Taliban weakened. But as I write that I think, omg, I am making the case for Bush’s venture into Iraq which does have some strategic value with that oil. I believe the pipeline thru A-stan was an Iranian/Russian deal?

  71. Bush did not have the maturity, experience or judgement for war either. Sometimes if you don’t know how to play the game it is better not to play.

  72. The US News story link had a great quote by Michael O’Hanlon, National Security Analyst at the Brookings Institute:

    While the President may be optimistic the day will come when we will be asking ourselves:

    “Why is it that we have to Win this War; Why is it so vital to our interests?”

    Well, it isn’t at all vital to the interests of the American taxpayer. But it is vital indeed to the interests of the Big Oil interests whose PIPELINE BODYGUARDS the soldiers are there to perform as. Question is, why did George SOROS back Obama and MoveOn.Org to the tune of millions? Because Obama is just a puppet of the oil interests, and promised to guard the pipelines and will be in Afganistan forever as a result! Brezinsky and George Soros (both fanatical anti-Russian ideologues, the latter betrayed his own Jewish roots by pulling gold out of the teeth of holocaust corprses and selling for profit…before he became a billionaire!), are puppeteering Obama’s every foreign policy move. Obummer is after all just like a teenager who’s just been given the keys to the new family car!….

    God help us all, but Obama’s sending 17,000 and the media hiding the fact that AFGANISTAN IS OBUMMER’S OIL PIPELINE WAR spells catastrophic consequences for the American pursestrings, as frail and fragile as they are with all the good intentions of the new administration.
    Obama was installed, and the oil billionaires in the Caspian pushed for him to get elected and threw Hillary off the nomination stage in a hurry, just for this reason and this reason alone: Give America a FACE LIFT (gee, he doesn’t look like them other American Presidents on them dollar bills!) and have the American taxpayers foot the bill for yet another losing war that will prove far more catastrophic for the economy. Not to mention the real threat of an emboldened Pakistan next door ready to pull the nuclear lever. And I sure as hell don’t want to see Obama answer the 3:00AM call….let’s hope HIllary’s in town at least….

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