The war in Afghanistan: One more try, guys

obamaswarWith a partial (pyrrhic?) victory (NY Times here or LA Times here) on climate change and a likely one on health care reform, President Obama’s escalation of the war in Afghanistan (the Google Living Stories Project/NY Times) will now share center stage with the economy as the dominant issue in our national consciousness.

Andrew Sullivan’s writing about Obama’s strategy, The Morning After (Dec. 2) and Tragedy of  Hope (Dec. 11), resonates with me. One more try, guys.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    Last week’s Strib: Minnesota Democrats slow to back troop surge.

    Most of Minnesota’s Democrats on Capitol Hill are still hedging their bets, seeking more details and assurances before committing to a concrete opinion. Republicans in the delegation have been generally more supportive of the surge, though some harbor major reservations about Obama’s targeted 2011 withdrawal date.

    December 21, 2009
  2. Peter Millin said:

    I am with the Democrats on this, continuing the war in Afghanistan and Iraq is a waste of money and lives.

    It is pretty arrogant of us trying to force our style of democracy on to a mostly tribal society. Just imagine if any of those countries would have enough military power to force their tribal society on to us?
    Our reaction would be resentment and anger.

    The initial purpose of the war was to attack AQ, which we did and we should have left it at that.
    We should have left the area once we routed AQ with the warning that we would be back if the AQ was allowed to take roots again.

    The current war in Iraq and Afghanistan might we winable, from the point of warfare, but we can’t change a society that is much older than ours and neither should we try.
    The current issues in the ME are a result of westerners trying to force borders regardless of tribal affiliation. It was a mistake then and it is a mistake now.

    I was hoping that Obama would have the political courage wo withdraw our troops, but unfortunately he didn’t.

    December 21, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Obama’s Dec. 1 speech, The Way Forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan, included some remarks about Vietnam.  I was chatting with a Carleton professor (an increasingly disgruntled supporter) last night who argued that Obama got his facts wrong about the Vietnam war. Did he?

    First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. They argue that it cannot be stabilized, and we are better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing. Yet this argument depends upon a false reading of history. Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency.

    And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now – and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance – would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.

    December 21, 2009
  4. All citizens have the right to learn about the world. The part that is good about us being in Afghanistan is that we do help the people have a chance to learn, especially the women and children. Education can only enrich their lives, so that growing crops or growing drug crops aren’t their only choices. Drug crops hurt another country’s citizens just as much as if they shot them with a gun.
    If we were not there, the Taliban would keep the women down and progress would come
    only through the loss of many tears and struggles.

    December 21, 2009
  5. David Ludescher said:

    I have never fully understood how we claimed a right to invade either Iraq or Afghanistan, nor why Obama has been such a strong supporter of our invasion of one, but not the other. If I recall correctly, Obama said during the campaign that he would even invade Pakistan if we were chasing Osama bin Ladin.

    Certainly, our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan has caused far more deaths and injuries than the Taliban or Al Quaida has caused to us. The immorality of both actions were obvious from the beginning, and was proclaimed quite loudly by moral leaders, including Pope John Paul II. Now, the political foolishness is becoming more and more apparent.

    Troop surges are going to be successful in the short-term because we have the Afghanis outgunned. But, when we leave, someone has to fill the power vacuum, and those people will have guns. We armed the Taliban against the Russians; someone will arm them against us.

    Obams seems to have lost his moral compass on these wars. The only real solution is to request forgiveness. We made two big mistakes, and we don’t know how to fix them. Contrition is the start. I think Obama needs to tell the Afghani and American people that we screwed up big time, and that we want out. We need to ask their terms, and surrender if we can meet those terms.

    December 21, 2009
  6. Well, if the Taliban are using drugs from crops grown in Afganistan or raking in the dough from said crops, I can guarantee you that they won’t be forgiving anyone anything anytime soon.

    December 22, 2009
  7. David Ludescher said:

    Bright: I am not sure we know why we are in Afghanistan, let alone know “who” we are fighting, or “how” we can win. Obama’s strategy in Afghanistan is identical to Bush’s strategy in Iraq.

    You can’t go and kill people and hope for peace. It is the same policy abortion bombers use.

    December 23, 2009

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