Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama’s Magnificent Opportunity

I always figured Obama was an opportunist but perhaps I was wrong. Coming after the W. Bush presidency a mannequin with a wind-up key could have beat McCain. The Republican ship was sinking shackled to perhaps one of the very worst presidents ever whose catastrophic war still stumbles on like a drunk seeking a lamp post to grab to keep himself from falling in the gutter. So Obama was able to seize the moment with very few low hurdles to overcome. An act which I viewed as very opportunistic in some ways. But Obama seems to have lost his knack.

Obama must be gnashing his teeth after hearing Admiral Mullen deliver the bad news about a bad war that is going badly and perhaps cursing his bad luck and or mistakes. But this is actually a magnificent opportunity for Obama. Obama’s defenders point out that Obama is only one man and alone cannot bring change and though my first reaction to that is why they bothered to vote if they thought their vote wouldn’t bring the change they were promised but my point is Obama wouldn’t be alone on this. Obama would enjoy plenty of public support for ending the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq. He would also have support in Congress, not all, but some.

And think of the other advantages. Right now the U.S. military is beginning to holler “Uncle” as the Taliban continue to confound American military might. The Generals are asking for more troops even as the Taliban gain the upper hand. Obama is now facing the specter of defeat in Afghanistan – though the war there could drag on for years -- which isn’t too surprising and one way out is to make a deal with the Taliban and get the hell out of Dodge while the going is still good. In fact, such a move could save America’s bacon for is there any doubt that the imperial wars have rotted our government and our resources and is helping to drive an ailing economy into the dirt?

What am I saying? I was just reading in the NYT where Obama insists the Afghan war is a necessity in order to protect Americans from terrorist attacks. This, despite that the very course he is pursuing is sure to create more terrorists. Obama is also continuing with the grisly occupation of using extraordinary rendition in fact continuing with all of the horrid practices of all the presidents who came before him from using signing statements to backroom deals. Obama won’t even recognize that he has a magnificent opportunity to end two destructive wars rather the catastrophe awaiting in Afghanistan will proceed by pouring more money and more lives into a dead end.

I did enjoy my little flight of fancy though.


At August 24, 2009 2:25 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Hamid Gul, a former head of Pakistan's intelligence service,in an interview with Foreign Policy Journal from earlier this summer:

“Besides, the American generals, I have a professional cudgel with them,” Gul added. “They lack character. They know that a job cannot be done, because they know —I cannot believe that they didn’t realize that the objectives are being mixed up here — they could not stand up to men like Rumsfeld and to Dick Cheney. They could not tell them. I think they cheated the American nation, the American people. This is where I have a problem with the American generals, because a general must show character. He must say that his job cannot be done. He must stand up to the politicians. But these generals did not stand up to them.”

He says a bunch of other things too, asserting the Afghan war cannot be won. I will discuss the interview here tonight or tomorrow.

At August 24, 2009 7:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

An interesting interview. I’ve read about the drug trade over at Chris Floyd’s so this rings true. I agree with Gul regarding the Generals. This country never really had any great Generals and those that have been in the forefront over the last few years have struck me as well, unsavory to be blunt. On the war being winnable one first must determine what winning means and who is using the word and in what context. If you believe the official version that Obama is pushing, which is that the Taliban will help al-Qaeda who want to hurt Americans so the Taliban must be defeated then the war isn’t winnable by any standard. Actually though I can come up with several different reasons for the war I don’t think any of them can be pursued with any kind of success short of turning Afghanistan into a big smoking radioactive crater. And even then nothing would have been won or at least I don’t see what could be.

Look forward to reading your discussion on this.


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