Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

Arianna over at Huffington Post has this 'quote' from Biden:

"Can I just clarify a factual point? How much will we spend this year on Afghanistan?" Someone provided the figure: $65 billion. "And how much will we spend on Pakistan?" Another figure was supplied: $2.25 billion. "Well, by my calculations that's a 30-to-1 ratio in favor of Afghanistan. So I have a question. Al Qaeda is almost all in Pakistan, and Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And yet for every dollar we're spending in Pakistan, we're spending $30 in Afghanistan. Does that make strategic sense?" The White House Situation Room fell silent.

And more from Arianna:
In Rethink Afghanistan, Robert Greenwald's powerful look at the war (and a film Joe Biden should see right away), Robert Baer, a former CIA field operative says, "The notion that we're in Afghanistan to make our country safer is just complete bullshit... what it's doing is causing us greater danger, no question about it. Because the more we fight in Afghanistan, the more the conflict is pushed across the border into Pakistan, the more we destabilize Pakistan, the more likely it is that a fundamentalist government will take over the army -- and we'll have Al-Qaeda like groups with nuclear weapons."

And former Senator Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam vet and Biden confidant, told Newsweek that, while "there are a lot of differences" between Vietnam and Afghanistan, "one of the similarities is how easily and quickly a nation can get bogged down in a very dangerous part of the world. It's easy to get into but not easy to get out. The more troops you throw in places, the more difficult it is to work it out because you have an investment to protect."

And doing so, as we've seen, usually means losing more and more of that "investment": each of the last six years of the Afghanistan war has been more deadly than the one before.

An excellent piece. We need more people speaking out, and Joe Biden should take it to the airwaves himself too. I never had much of an opinion of Biden as VP, but if he's the one that puts the fire under Obama to keep him from making the biggest mistake of his Presidency (by escalating in Afghanistan), he's golden in my book.

Also, bonus. Markos is pretty pissed off, "f**** liars" is a new one!  Here at MyDD, I get TR's for pointing out that a commenter was making up lies that I once supported an escalation of the military conflict in Afghanistan (utter BS), yet over at DKos, Markos gets to call out the Senate Majority Leader's office staff on the fp-- such double standards!

Tags: Biden, Huffington (all tags)

Comments

26 Comments

RE: Arianna,Biden, and Afghanistan.

I am not sure how I feel about the Afghanistan conflict. I do believe that Obama, right or wrong, has remained consistent on the issue. I do know how I feel about Joe Biden though; he rocks.

If the above quote is in any way accurate (and it does sound like Joe.) He is asking a very important question that isn't getting enough attention.

Arianna Huffington on the other hand, while making some interesting points, could not be further off the mark on her suggestion, if it is to be taken seriously as such, that Biden should resign. Whatever view he is supporting, and whatever the President ultimately decides, I know one thing for certain. The idea a VP should resign because of one disagreement on policy, however large, is absurd. He should feel bound to stay because, if for no other reason, he can be a far more affective advocate for whatever views he holds if he is part of the Administration than if he is not.

by JDF 2009-10-15 06:06AM | 0 recs
Biden was saying in 2007

that we should be focused more on Pakistan, and that Pakistan was a major threat. I heard him talk about that in Iowa. I don't think he's been inconsistent.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-15 06:20AM | 0 recs
Okay...

I know that I have a reputation here that is only slightly better than Dick Cheney's. But please re-read my statement and show me where I said Joe Biden was being inconsistent.

I didn't mention his consistency or inconsistency on the subject. I merely praised him for standing up for what he believes and asking a really important question that, perhaps, the Administration hasn't thought enough about.

by JDF 2009-10-15 06:29AM | 0 recs
sorry, I misread

your original comment.

by desmoinesdem 2009-10-15 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: sorry, I misread

no worries ;-)

by JDF 2009-10-15 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Biden was saying in 2007

But I think I just said that... that Biden was talking about Pakistan long before anyone else.  My point was that I don't remember him saying, "We need to focus more on Pakistan, AND THEREFORE we ought to get out of Afghanistan.  Maybe I'm wrong.

by Steve M 2009-10-15 06:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Biden was saying in 2007

Oh... you were responding to JDF, not to my comment below, my bad.  But my point still stands... I think?

by Steve M 2009-10-15 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: RE: Arianna,Biden, and Afghanistan.

Thzt's just shock value to get read about the main points of the article.

by Jerome Armstrong 2009-10-15 06:40AM | 0 recs
Re: RE: Arianna,Biden, and Afghanistan.

And it works in that sense but she makes what seems to be an actual argument for it later on as well...that is more what I was responding to.

by JDF 2009-10-15 07:08AM | 0 recs
Arianna jumps the shark

I have always been a huge fan of Arianna. She was instrumental in helping Obama win the primary over Hillary, and she was equally instrumental in helping him get elected.

Unlike Drudge-turned-sycophant, Arianna has done her duty in keeping respectful pressure on Obama from the left.

But Hyperbole does not suit her well.

President Obama made it very clear he wanted to emulate Lincolns cabinet of rivals to avoid the group think that got us into Iraq.

President Obama chose Biden for a very clear reason. How would his resignation help her point of view?

What I find most distasteful in this discussion over Afghanistan is the inherent assumption that Obama can somehow not be trusted to make the wisest military decision. I think Arianna betrays this arrogance too.

Has Obama issued any resolution yet? No. I hear fantastical numbers of 60,000 and 40,000 being thrown around, but not from Obama. I hear outlandish claims of Afghanistan becoming the biggest blunder of his Presidency, but not from anyone who has been able to articulate the consequences of our actions. Arianna:

Running a web site << Running the world's only superpower

Also, have we become so accustomed to Bush's impulsiveness and lack of critical thought that any time a leader takes the time to ponder the consequences of his actions, he doesn't know what he's doing? That plays right into the GOP meme that a strong leader shoots first and asks questions later.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-10-15 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Premature ejaculations

 We MUST criticize Obama before he makes decisions because he makes it so goddam difficult afterwards!

by QTG 2009-10-15 09:23AM | 0 recs
I think this will be a perfect example

Unlike Bush and "teh stem cells" where the press clapped like seals because the idiot made a decision, I envision a thoroughly insightful reply from Obama to the Nation's question about our future in the Middle East and a plan of action, spelling out the consequences to our National Security from all the alternatives, and why the President is sending troops into harm's way. Why? Because he has always done this in the past.

My new acid test for a legitimate point of view on Afghanistan versus a Cindy Sheehan Code Pink Moonbat-gasm* is whether one can articulate the consequences of our military actions.

Honestly, I think Obama wakes up every morning and thinks: why the eff do I have to deal with this mess over there? The Onion wasn't far off: Black Man given Nation's Worst Job.

* I just made that up.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-10-15 01:06PM | 0 recs
Re: I think this will be a perfect example

When can we expect that reply?

by orestes 2009-10-15 01:25PM | 0 recs
Re: I think this will be a perfect example

Sometime after he's chosen the right direction, and before he sends however many troops the blogosphere is wringing its hands over.

by NoFortunateSon 2009-10-15 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: I think this will be a perfect example

My question was meant temporally.  Certainly, that is the context of the original comment.  Now, you want to say just wait.  Thanks.

by orestes 2009-10-16 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: RE: Arianna,Biden, and Afghanistan.

Agreed. I thought the suggestion that Biden should resign to make a point the biggest piece of crap that I have ever read. It would accomplish nothing If Biden were Sec. of Defense that might make sense. But why should a man a heart beat away, as they say, resign? Constitutionally-speaking, the position is effectively powerless except in the rare case of a tie in the Senate. The post is clearly evolving. Perhaps it reached its apex under Cheney but it seems that going forward each President will use his or her VP in different ways. It is clear that Biden is carving out for himself a role as a deep strategic thinker. And he is one who has the ear of the President.

Biden is often derided for much. He's loquacious, can't shut up, garrulous beyond belief. But when I went to hear him speak two years ago, my impression was: this is a man who reads. I can think no higher compliment. He reads to gain insight and ascertain facts obviously but he reads not to confirm his opinion but to challenge it.

I don't always agree with Joe Biden but to listening to him I know that he has done his homework.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-15 04:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

I believe you got TR'd for an incredibly thin-skinned ban, not for calling someone a liar.  People call each other liars and worse all day long at this site.

Getting back to the issues, I think it is very important to consider the impact the Afghanistan conflict is having in Pakistan, but I am not sure I want to concede that there's only one side to the debate.  I think the war was a destabilizing influence under Musharraf, but Musharraf's government had its own legitimacy problems.  I don't know that the dynamic remains the same, although I respect the viewpoint of experts.

On a related note, what in the punch line of Biden's argument?  "Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan, so therefore... our troops should be in Pakistan"?  Obviously that's a nonstarter, but still, let's think about this.  If the bad guys are in a country where we can't just walk in and get them, what are our options?  Basing our military in a neighboring country and launching strikes against the bad guys from there certainly belongs on the list!  So I don't get how saying A necessarily leads to saying B.

Joe Biden knows a lot about Pakistan.  He was talking about Pakistan during the Democratic Primary long before any of the other candidates were.  I think he had some good ideas and they remain valid, but for the life of me, I don't remember him taking the position in the primary that we should get out of Afghanistan ASAP.  What has changed on the ground?

by Steve M 2009-10-15 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

I don't know if there was a punchline to Joe's statement so much as he was trying to make a point. As I said previously, Obama has been consistent on this issue all the way through; but I do wonder what our strategic vision is right now and how Afghanistan fits into that.

I think that, as much as anything, is the point Joe Biden was making. I don't remember him previously pushing for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, BUT if this war no longer fits an over arching (effective) strategy to protect our country.

by JDF 2009-10-15 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

Ultimately, I don't think Biden goes far enough in assessing the problem that is Pakistan. Pakistan is a failed state on the verge of becoming a collapsed state. My worry is that Biden et al will try to save Pakistan. Only the Pakistanis can save Pakistan and it is not clear to me that will exists within Pakistan's elite.

As per what has changed on the ground?

Try just about everything. The Afghan rebellion is growing by the day because it is morphing into a Pashtun nationalist rebellion. Look at where the attacks are taking place. 90% of them take place in Pasthun areas. The Taliban are tapping into the resentment against the Karzai govt and against the NATO occupation successfully.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-15 04:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

I thought you were guilty of a little hyperbole there but on the 2009 Failed States Index, Pakistan makes the top 10, coming in a little worse than the Ivory Coast and Haiti.

However, by the same metric, Pakistan was 9th in the world in 2006, 12th in 2007, and 9th in 2008.  So again I ask, if we need to get out of Afghanistan lest we destabilize Pakistan, why didn't we need to get out two years ago?

by Steve M 2009-10-15 05:36PM | 0 recs
And of those 10

Pakistan has the bomb

by NoFortunateSon 2009-10-15 06:16PM | 0 recs
I study elites

That's what I like to study. Now go compare the Pakistani elite with that of India or even that of Bangladesh.

Even a casual read and you'll find that on almost metric, Pakistan's elite have failed to construct a developmentalist state. This is a country of 160 million, with nuclear weapons but can you name a Pakistani export product? A Pakistani brand?

Take Bangladesh now. A 120 million people. Poorer than Pakistan in resources. World's largest exporter of jute and a world player in the garment industry. A recognizable brand? Grameen Bank founded by Mohammed Yunus, who is best known for his role in micro-financing.

Elites make a difference. Bangladesh gave the world Mohammed Yunus, Pakistan the Bhuttos and the Sharifs whose view of the world is more medieval and feudal than anything else.

Paksitan is a failed state because the country lacks a modernizing elite.

Look at their literacy rates. It has hovered around the 50% for at least 40 years. It is a lack of will more than anything else. They outsourced their education system to the Saudis and wealthy Gulf sheikdoms and are now paying the price for such folly. Unless you tackle the madrassa problem, you are not going to change much in Pakistan.

by Charles Lemos 2009-10-15 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

It was not the Taliban's treatment of women in Afganistan that seemed to get the Bush administration up in arms, but the home it gave to Al Qaeda, albeit only after 9/11. After 9/11, we went in there to help the Northern Alliance because it was our war as well. Iraq was Bush's war, pumped up by oilmen and Israel, and it will never be Obama's war.

But just why is Afganistan all of a sudden Obama's war. It is our war, it is a true part of the war against the terrorism of 9/11.

So, in retrospect, who in world listens to Arianna. Her site seems to be a cross between a liberal version of the NYT and some British rag where one can check out women's breasts on display in some underwear fashion show or look at men in bikinis.

by MainStreet 2009-10-15 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

I am not saying you are wrong about the war in Afghanistan...and certainly the fact that it was a home for Al-Qaeda is why it was important. The question now is whether or not it is still an important part of the "war against terrorism."

What is the strategic purpose of the war in Afghanistan, not as of 2001, but as of today?

by JDF 2009-10-15 08:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

"...some British rag where one can check out women's breasts on display in some underwear fashion show or look at men in bikinis."

Ohs Noes!  Sometimes, those are the only links I click on during a slow news day.  Yup, its bad to exploit women, nudy pics and all that, but I like boobies and I like to look at beautiful women with not much clothing on.  

Is that bad?  If so, can you haz Unik me?  Can't make it on webz  wif pingus attasht.

Oh and by the way, Arianna's opinion that Biden should quit is truly one of the dumbest things I've heard in a while.  It doesn't even make sense. Her argument is that he shouldn't be the guy to write regretfully that he should've stood up and done something in a book 10 years form now, yet, as we sit here, Newsweek has already gone nationwide with his positions - he is standing up, writing briefs and being allowed to present his positions on a daily basis, ones that I am sure Obama is considering.

I see that the audacity of her title draws people in to read the column, but it really takes away the credibility of her piece, in my opinion, similar to my puerile comments at the beginning of this post.

by KLRinLA 2009-10-15 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Arianna on Biden, w/ a bonus from Markos

I disagree with Arianna.

by vecky 2009-10-15 09:16AM | 0 recs

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