Sunday, October 11, 2009

A warning to Obama

Wars suck everything nearby into the vortex of destruction they create. We have a President currently trying to decide whether to leap into the vortex left him by his predecessor, dragging the nation in with him. Alternatively, can he master the fancy footwork required continue to tiptoe around the edges, looking perhaps for a path away from the abyss?

Andrew Bacevich is a West Point graduate, a military veteran of wars from Vietnam through the first Bush's Gulf War, now a professor of international relations. He lost a son serving in the Iraq in May 2007. He's not some peacenik

Thus his assessment of the President's dangers in the Boston Globe is worth heeding:

If the Afghan war then becomes the consuming issue of Obama's presidency -- as Iraq became for his predecessor, as Vietnam did for Lyndon Johnson, and as Korea did for Harry Truman -- the inevitable effect will be to compromise the prospects of reform more broadly.

At home and abroad, the president who advertised himself as an agent of change will instead have inadvertently erected barriers to change. As for the American people, they will be left to foot the bill.

This is a pivotal moment in US history. Americans owe it to themselves to be clear about what is at issue. That issue relates only tangentially relates to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or the well-being of the Afghan people. The real question is whether "change" remains possible.

If Obama goes all in for an Afghan war, he's opting unequivocally for maintenance of a hated, increasingly bankrupt empire over peace, prosperity and probably mitigation of the effects of human climate manipulations. Obama has already chosen to undermine constitutional freedoms and the rule of law, continuing most of the corruptions of the Cheney administration in the name of "security." An expanded Afghanistan war is a recipe for hopeless stasis.

Will our Peace Prize President listen to warnings?


Darlene said...

Pakistan is the elephant in that room. It will be interesting to see who Obama listens to.

Nell said...


Withdrawal is "off the table". The only question is which fiction we continue with: counterterrorism (Predators substituting for some troops) or counterinsurgency (escalation of troops).

I predict option A, with pretty much the same number of dead Afghans and Pakistanis and a slight reduction in U.S. (and 'coalition') troops killed.

We lost, long ago. War was not the answer.

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