Friday, February 6, 2009

Another Foreign Intervention Friday

Public opinion, and even the Obama administration itself are facing up to the fact that Afghanistan is an unwinnable situation. They are going to attempt a "surge" with more troops but admit that ultimately they want to train and hand it over to the Afghan army and get the hell out of there. The "surge" is to mow the lawn, and use the weed-whacker on those hard to get places. Make this effort one more time and get out while there is still order.

What about the people still serving over there? No doubt, people will lose their lives. Why? For a stalling tactic before inevitable withdrawal? Hardly a noble cause. Fred Kaplan in Slate Magazine gave his report on the situation.

Unlike those who got us into Vietnam, today's top officials—including President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates—at least see the specter. Both have emphasized that their goals in Afghanistan are limited; daydreams of turning the place into a democratic republic—"some central Asian Valhalla," as Gates snorted in recent hearings—are over. Gates further stated at those hearings, before the Senate armed services committee, that he would endorse his commanders' request for three additional brigades—but that he'd be "deeply skeptical" of subsequent requests for more. The fighting needs to be done mainly by Afghan troops, he said, adding that if the Afghan people begin to see it as an American war, "we will go the way of other imperial occupiers."

Isn't this immoral? If they know it's a lost cause they should begin immediate withdrawal.

Richard Nixon hummed and hawed on a lost cause in Vietnam when he took office in 1969. He could have ended it quickly rightly saying it was not a war he started and popular opinion favours pulling out. Instead, it took him five years and almost 25,000 US troop deaths and billions of dollars before leaving the war to the South Vietnamese in 1973. The country ended up being lost within a little more than a year, with the famous helicopters on the roof of the US Embassy, panic evacuation in 1975. (I honestly think I remember this footage when I was five years old, but maybe I've seen too many documentaries.)

I cringe to think Obama intends to send an additional 30,000 troops and ramping up the effort in a lost cause. As Yogi Berra would say: It's deja vu all over again.

1 comment:

  1. I think Voltaire`s quote "common sense is not so common" very much applies to this situation.