"Of all the arguments for pulling out of Iraq, the greater importance of Afghanistan is the least serious." - Charles Krauthammer, March 2007
The Democrats, and Obama in particular, are un-serious and irresponsible in urgently serious times:
rise of Islamists
energy and environment
foundational value system
Marxism vs free-market capitalism
and so on...
I think you have the right read on this, Gerard.
Had the Dems listened to Charlie Wilson we would not be having this conversation.
Face it; should Obama be elected defeat in the ME is assured and a Soviet-style rout in Afghanistan in the making.
Yes, I can hear them sputtering now, "Afghanistan is destabilizing Pakistan and we must stabilize Pakistan by leaving Afghanistan."
You've nailed it.
The Afghanistan argument for most Dems (i.e., leftists) is nothing more than cover for their defeatist position on Iraq. I'd say 18 months of commitment in Afghanistan is optimistic. Maybe a year, tops, and then we get to be served the familiar fill-in-the-blank rhetoric from the Party of Surrender:
"Afghanistan is lost. Our nation has wasted too much blood and treasure on this failed cause."
"OBL isn't in Afghanistan. He's in Pakistan. Why are we in Afghanistan?"
"We don't have enough support from other nations (after they leave), to continue."
"Karzi is an ineffective leader. Why should the U.S. support him? We should negotiate with the Taliban."
Have I left any out? Of course, I did forget to add that "this war is Bush's fault", for added measure.
We'll see what happens, but here are some things for Donks to ponder:
It's 2011, President Obama Skywalker wants to turn around send troops somewhere in the wake of a disastrous exit from Afghanistan. Upon meeting with the Joint Chiefs, Skywalker is stunned into silence when the generals tell him,
"Nope, Mr. President, not this time unless...
1. You give us veto power over deployments now and in the future.
2. You guarantee unconditional funding and continuing popular support for the mission until we finish the job.
3. You fix it with Congress to double the size of the Armed Forces...with pay increases to match.
You must meet all of our conditions, Mr. President; otherwise, we're not going. Think carefully before you decide: where else are you going to get the troops for your little adventure? From the UN? Good luck with that."
So what does Obama Skywalker do? If he caves, then he's just made the Armed Forces the fourth branch of government. If he refuses, then the troops won't be going anywhere, so he might as well clean out his desk, turn off the Oval Office lights, and move back to Hyde Park. Furthermore, if Obama Skywalker tries to fire or arrest recalcitrant troops, how's he going to do it? Have county mounties serve summonses to all of them? Maybe Obama could ask Congress to cut off funding to the Defense Department. But what if the generals pull the congressional leadership aside and give them a "Nice Congress--hate to see anything happen to it" chat? What then? "Things fly apart..."
I'd like to think Obama is smarter than he lets on, but, as we've learned to our sorrow, we must never underestimate the idiocy and expediency of politicians. But y'all know that already, don't you?
Sorry to burst your bubble, MarkJ, but the armed forces are under civilian control. If the commander-in-chief sends troops somewhere, the Joint Chiefs will be advising him on how best to do it. They can object, but they can't force the President to do what they want, because they work for him. The day that our military demands concessions from a sitting President is the day that our republic collapses.
Gerard you just don't understand- sometimes you have to destroy America's credibility to save it.
well...Their arguement would be (since you don't even mention it before swatting it down)...that al Qaeda, the group responsible for 9/11, and it's leader, one Mr. bin Laden, were/are operating from Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. Iraq, whilst a problem regime, was a run-of-the-mill dictatorship that had nothing to do with 9/11 and could have been dealt with in other ways short of an invasion. You protest, saying that regardless, Iraq had become the central front in the war on radical Islam. They counter that it is our presence in Iraq that drew the al Qaeda types into the country and that if we left, Iraq would be much better off. As for Afghanistan, they would argue that what could be more important than bringing those responsible for 9/11 to justice? Once that is accomplished, they would undoubtedly return to a law enforcement model of containing Islam.
fwiw...my own personal view is somewhere between what I take yours to be and what I believe to be the Dem. position. The Dems sincerely believe that we can handle this problem through law enforcement. On that I think they will be proved horribly wrong.
Thanks for the Totten pointer. Mike's a friend and someone I admire deeply.
What makes me angry are the generals, like the Brit commander in Afghanistan, who say we cannot win. WTF. maybe the trick to winning in Afghanistan, as with Iraq, is to find someone who believes in the mission and looks for ways to win.
It's stunning that Obama will seek audience with the Taliban, but refuses to do so with Republicans.
While your general comments are right about at least some of the Democrats, there may be some wisdom in talking to the Taliban.
The Taliban is not the reason the US went into Afghanistan. Al-Queda is. If we can get the Taliban to cough up bin Ladin and al-Queda, the Taliban can have the mountains of Afghanistan.
The only issue left of international importance would be opium.
I'm not willing to see US fighters die in the mountains or valleys of Afghanistan just so the ladies there can wear western dresses.
That said, I must say it seems unlikely that the Taliban will, in fact, give up al-Queda.
And the letting al-Queda and the Taliban set up shop in Kabul, kicking out the current government, complete with photos of bin Laden triumphant in Kabul, would be political suicide for any US administration. And I think Obama knows this.
If not, bin Laden sets up shop in Kabul, attacks the US again, Obama gets voted or impeached out, and the Republicans get swept into office. The war in Afghanistan might start again.
Q: How can you tell a moderate Taliban?
A: He's the one using an electric knife.