Wednesday, December 2, 2009

President Obama's Speech on Afghanistan

In President Obama's (rambling) speech on Afghanistan last night, he clearly defined America's goal in Afghanistan thusly: "I set a goal that was narrowly defined as disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and pledged to better coordinate our military and civilian efforts."

I like that first part up until he says "and its extremist allies," because extremist allies means "the Taliban" and "the Taliban" means the Pashtun tribe and people. Obama indicates that he's referring to the Taliban because immediately after the sentence quoted above he says:

"Since then, we've made progress on some important objectives. High-ranking al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed, and we've stepped up the pressure on al Qaeda worldwide. In Pakistan, that nation's army has gone on its largest offensive in years. In Afghanistan, we and our allies prevented the Taliban from stopping a presidential election, and -- although it was marred by fraud -- that election produced a government that is consistent with Afghanistan's laws and constitution."

Mr. Obama tries to have his cake and eat it too. He tries to claim a prudent, narrowly-defined mission, directly connected to American national defense and tied to the terrorist attacks of 9-11. But he sneaks in our war with the Pashtun tribe as Al-Qaeda's "extremist allies," and lists the "accomplishments" in our fight against it as part of our mission in Afghanistan.

In truth, our protracted military commitment in Afghanistan, to fight a local civil war against the Pashtun tribe bears no direct relation to keeping America safe from terrorists. If in fact, that is our purpose, we have already accomplished it by severely crippling Al-Qaeda's ability to commit acts of terror and as the President noted, killing most of Al-Qaeda's highest ranking members.

Meanwhile, we have done what America does best and set up a corrupt regime in the place of the other corrupt regime we're spending so much precious blood and treasure to fight. Mr. Obama admits that the elections in Afghanistan were "marred by fraud"and that is the only acknowledgment he gives to the rampant corruption we have infamously supported and sanctioned in Afghanistan (it's worth noting here that we used to sanction and support the Taliban).

He attempts to downplay it by saying that "although it was marred by fraud -- that election produced a government that is consistent with Afghanistan's laws and constitution," as if fraud were consistent with the fledgling nation's constitution. He sees so many things in the American Constitution which aren't there, I suppose it should be no wonder he sees a clause in Afghanistan's constitution that says presidents can rig elections. This does not bode well for Americans in 2012.

The President then proceeds to use the bogeymen of the Taliban and a potentially resurgent Al-Qaeda (in a style that should have made Karl Rove proud) to justify last night's critical announcement (a reversal of previous White House opinions and indications): "as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan."

And there you have it! The "anti-war" president has decided to send 30,000 more of America's finest young men and women into that violent den of death and dismemberment for the purpose of fighting someone else's civil war, because we have falsely connected the outcome of that war with the mostly already-victorious fight against Al-Qaeda.

What will the Democrats say? And the punditry? What will the people say who protested the troop surge in Iraq and Bush's reckless use of our military for nation-building? If they are honest, they will protest Mr. Obama's troop surge as well. When will these senseless wars end? When will they ever end?


More resources on Afghanistan:
Make A Choice: Contain Al-Qaeda or Nation Build
10 More Years in Afghanistan *Best Case* Scenario
Think Tank Lineup: Afghanistan