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Obama made a terrible decision re Afghanistan

 
 
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 12:49 pm

Posted on Wed, Dec. 2, 2009

I'm so disappointed. I thought Obama was too smart to make such a mistake. People are making decisions based on their lack of knowledge about the history of this area.

BBB

No more deaths for a mistake
The Afghanistan war no longer serves any purpose of ours. Why are we escalating it?
By Ivan Elan, director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the Independent Institute

Sounding a bit like John Kerry during the 2004 campaign, President Obama plans to escalate the war in Afghanistan before he de-escalates it. The administration should have abandoned the feckless nation-building strategy of the Bush years and refocused on the main mission: neutralizing al-Qaeda while avoiding instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

The attempt to bring about what likely will be only temporary stability in Afghanistan by increasing U.S. forces there is not a long-term solution, just as it probably won't provide a lasting solution in Iraq.

The Taliban control 70 percent of Afghanistan, mostly outside the cities. They seem to have learned a lesson from their ouster and don't appear to be sheltering al-Qaeda camps. Securing the cities, which is at the heart of the new strategy, seems to have little bearing on counterterrorism efforts.

The war is a no-win situation for the president. Signaling that the U.S. commitment will eventually wind down to mollify the American public will only embolden the Taliban to outwait us - just as the North Vietnamese once did.

In fact, when President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated that failed war, he had several advantages Obama lacks: a strong economy to pay for it, public support, and a credible South Vietnamese army to do much of the heavy lifting.

Creating capable Afghan security forces will take much longer than the five years Afghan President Hamid Karzai set as a timetable. Karzai is a seriously flawed "partner," and our "ally" Pakistan is unlikely to crack down on the Taliban sanctuaries within its borders, because it wants a pro-Pakistan Taliban government in Afghanistan when we leave to counter India's influence in the region.

Obama should have recalled what Kerry said after he returned from Vietnam: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" Even in the best scenario, the Taliban will never be eradicated from Afghanistan, and likely will become part of its government. The United States should accept that and withdraw before we squander any more lives and money.

Any Taliban-influenced or -run government will not necessarily shelter al-Qaeda. People learn from traumatic experiences - as the Germans and Japanese did after World War II - and the U.S. invasion should leave the Taliban more reluctant to harbor al-Qaeda again.

Such a course is made easier by the fact that the Taliban's primary interest is getting America out of Afghanistan and getting itself back into power. In contrast, al-Qaeda's interest is in global jihad, which is being fueled by the occupation of Afghanistan.

Any Taliban-related Afghan government will need the support of Pakistan, which can be influenced by the United States. If the Pakistanis cooperate and pressure a Taliban government not to shelter al-Qaeda, America could offer Pakistan what it most wants: mediation to bring India back to discontinued bilateral talks.

If Pakistan fails to rein in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, the United States could threaten to realign with India - a nightmare for the Pakistanis.

The current nation-building quagmire of Afghanistan is just fomenting more militancy and does not need to be escalated. Deep down, Obama knows it. Rather than squandering more blood and treasure, the president should have concentrated on neutralizing al-Qaeda and dissuading the inevitable Taliban government from harboring the group.

 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 01:02 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Journalist Michael Ware should be listened to more because he knows more about the region than anyone else among the chattering class. He opines that the hostility between India and Pakistan is the major cause of the civil war in Afghanistan.

BBB

BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 01:11 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Joe Biden gave Obama the best advice and Obama didn't use it.

BBB
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 04:32 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

I'm so disappointed. I thought Obama was too smart to make such a mistake. People are making decisions based on their lack of knowledge about the history of this area.

I doubt there is any lack of knowledge on Obama's part. It's more likely that they made a decision based on knowledge which the general public does not have.
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 04:40 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
It's more likely that they made a decision based on knowledge which the general public does not have.


Thats not good enough!!!!
His advisors are lying to him, telling him only what he wants to hear.
They are afraid to disagree with him, and are not telling him or the public the truth

He is only listening to those people that agree with him, and ignoring those that dont.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 04:49 pm
In the begining, I was one of those defending Obama's Afghan policy against the peace-oriented folks who said that getting out of Iraq was not going far enough. I said we have to secure Afghanistan against a resurgence of the Taliban and its buddies, alQaida. There is a world of difference, I said, between our involvement in Iraq and our responisbilities toward Afghanistan.

I no longer think this. There has been time enough to secure Afghanistan and I have no reason to bdelieve that a troop surge of 35,000 military presonnel will make the least bit of difference. The problem isn't just the Taliban. The problem is the people we have put in charge in Afghanistan. Karzai is no less a war-lord than the fundamentalist Islamist war-lords we helped to banish. The economy runs on illegal drug trade. No amount of boots on the ground are going to correct either one of those problems.

I think the Obama administration has totally dropped the ball on this one.
talk72000
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 05:00 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
There are two probable reasons: 1) Al Qaeda and 2) oil from Kazakhstan. It is the fear that Al Qaeda control of Afghanistan would make oil inaccessible thru
Afghanistan and Pakistan. The other routes for pipelines are Russia, Iran and China.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  5  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 06:50 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
The administration should have abandoned the feckless nation-building strategy of the Bush years and refocused on the main mission: neutralizing al-Qaeda while avoiding instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan.

I disagree with the implied premise of this demand, which is that neutralizing AlQuaeda and avoiding instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan are narrowly constrained tasks that one can "focus" on. These places, see, are inhabited by independent people, who do things for their own reasons, not for the Americans'. Afghanis will reorganize under the Talibans and Al Quaeda unless America and her allies offer them better alliances to organize under. And interested Pakistanis will conspire to destabilize their government unless Americans helps build competing coalitions that work pursue their goals in a more constructive manners.

In other words, nation building is not a sidekick the US government can abandon to focus on its "main mission". It is an inevitable part of this mission.
dyslexia
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 07:29 pm
@Thomas,
I would add that infrastructure nation building and establishing effective governance are the only tools we have to neutralize al queda, stabilize pakistan and minimizing the Taliban. USAID and NGO's are quite likely the only route to security, it certainly isn't troops on the ground.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 07:38 pm
Nods to Thomas and Dys' points. I'm probably more anti military stuff, I think it's counterproductive at large cost.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Wed 2 Dec, 2009 07:47 pm
There are no great decisions that can be made re: Afghanistan. Obama made the politically expedient one of playing both sides against the middle.
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 01:00 am
Can someone please tell me a viable alternative to the problem of 911 apart from what was done ?
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:21 am
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
There are no great decisions that can be made re: Afghanistan. Obama made the politically expedient one of playing both sides against the middle.


Your assessment is probably quite right in terms of the current US political situation. But I do wish the US would think beyond its own immediate circumstances. Look beyond its own navel.

The "great decision", in my opinion, would be the sanest & most humane one. For all the ordinary people whose lives will be affected by this decision.
saab
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 06:13 am
When and if the Americans withdraw will/should then the other countries withdraw too? Or is it just a question of the Americans?
What will happen when everybody hopefully gets out of Afghanistan?
Will Taliban take over and force women to wear burkas, forbid girls to go to school, women to have an education, whip and stone people for just whatever the Taliban thinks is against their rules?
It is dilemma.
0 Replies
 
Ionus
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 08:04 am
I will ask again. Anyone who doesnt like what is happening now should put forward their ideas on what could have been done after 911.

The only thing I can see is what they did - go into Afghanistan. Bush Jr wanted to finish the job Bush Sr did in Iraq and it was a distraction but it wasnt a fatal distraction. Iraq will improve and I think that war should be considered won. The Taliban always had the oppportunity to regroup so long as there was a Pakistan unwilling or unable to deal with them. The time and effort spent in Iraq meant nothing to the long term success in Afghanistan. They had Pakistan to regroup in and nothing would have changed that. As for their re-emerging success in Afghanistan, that was always on the cards as it takes so long to rebuild and re-equip a country destroyed by war.

So what do people think should have been done if not go into Afghanistan ?
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 02:53 pm
I'm curious about the effect on Pakistan following the Obama's state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister? Given the mortal hatred between India and Pakistan, what would be Pakistan's reaction to the honoring of India?

Pakistan considers India to be favored by the U.S. Pakistan is considered to be a long supporter of the Taliban. Will Pakistan still consider the U.S. an ally?

BBB
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 03:26 pm
@dyslexia,
dyslexia wrote:
I would add that infrastructure nation building and establishing effective governance are the only tools we have to neutralize al queda, stabilize pakistan and minimizing the Taliban. USAID and NGO's are quite likely the only route to security, it certainly isn't troops on the ground.

We could legalize drugs, thus crushing the value of poppies and completely eliminating the primary cash basis which powers the Taliban. Then we could use our billions of war dollars to buy food which would give legitimate farmers a profit and then we could turn around the donate the food to the villages which might make them like us (instead of the Taliban). Just a thought.
0 Replies
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 03:35 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Merry Andrew, I agree with your assessment that 35,000 more troops will not make any difference. It would not have made difference if we also sent only 3,500 more troops.

What most people are forgetting is the most important reason for our involvement in Afghanistan that is costing us more than just the sacrifice of our soldiers and our treasure at a time when America's economic security is in danger of collapse. How can we provide our children the same opportunities we were provided by our forefathers if we leave them deep in debt, and an economy that continues to deteriorate with more job losses, more home losses, and no health insurance? All this at a time when more people continue to lose jobs, or their hours reduced because revenue is being depressed by this economy? Why isn't our government putting all their efforts into job creation? Why the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that should be the responsibility of the world community?

I just don't get it.
panzade
 
  2  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 03:37 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
I believe the key to stabilizing Afghanistan lies in the FATA area. More development, less military operations.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/08/img/btn_pakistan_fata.jpg
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  0  
Reply Thu 3 Dec, 2009 04:21 pm
@cicerone imposter,
cicerone imposter wrote:


I just don't get it.


That's Obamanomics . . . nobody gets it.
0 Replies
 
 

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