Obama's gamble

Agree with pretty much everything that Andrew Sullivan writes in a post:

Obama's gamble on somehow turning the vast expanse of that ungovernable "nation" into a stable polity dedicated to fighting Jihadist terror is now as big as Bush's in Iraq - and as quixotic. It is also, in my view, as  irrational, a deployment of resources and young lives that America cannot afford and that cannot succeed. It really is Vietnam - along with the crazier and crazier rationales for continuing it. But it is now re-starting in earnest ten years in, dwarfing Vietnam in scope and longevity.

One suspects there is simply no stopping this war machine, just as there is no stopping the entitlement and spending machine. Perhaps McChrystal would have tried to wind things up by next year - but his frustration was clearly fueled by the growing recognition that he could not do so unless he surrendered much of the country to the Taliban again. So now we have the real kool-aid drinker, Petraeus, who will refuse to concede the impossibility of success in Afghanistan just as he still retains the absurd notion that the surge in Iraq somehow worked in reconciling the sectarian divides that still prevent Iraq from having a working government. I find this doubling down in Afghanistan as Iraq itself threatens to spiral out of control the kind of reasoning that only Washington can approve of.

This much we also know: Obama will run for re-election with far more troops in Afghanistan than Bush ever had - and a war and occupation stretching for ever into the future, with no realistic chance of success. Make no mistake: this is an imperialism of self-defense, a commitment to civilize even the least tractable culture on earth because Americans are too afraid of the consequences of withdrawal. And its deepest irony is that continuing this struggle will actually increase and multiply the terror threats we face - as it becomes once again a recruitment tool for Jihadists the world over.

This is a war based on fear, premised on a contradiction, and doomed to carry on against reason and resources for the rest of our lives.

Maybe this is why you supported Obama - to see the folly of nation-building extended indefinitely to the least promising wastelands on earth, as the US heads toward late-imperial bankruptcy. It is not a betrayal as such. But it is, in my view, a huge and metastasizing mistake.

Except "the rest of our lives" part. I can't see it being afforded for at the going rate for even another decade.

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The cost of war

The cost of this war has far exceeded its estimates. When this war was started by the Bush Administration, the concept was that it would prevent a seriously damaging situation in which Iraq would utilize weapons of mass destruction against our country.

But even then, the idea was tenuous at best. Almost no one believed that Iraq attacked America on September 11th. But by that same token, everyone believes even to this day that the attack against our country on Sept. 11, 2001 - was an act of war. And so the American War Machine has been started and is desperately trying to grind its enemy into dust.


The cost of this war is immense. But it is also sparking employment, recruiting soldiers,  giving the military industrial complex purchase orders and pushing the limits of our own weaponry forward.


And it may very well employ America . We may one day become the policeman of the world.

I am against this war of convenience. Osama Bin Laden will not lay down his sword vis a vis Lord Cornwallis and the Yorktown Peninsula - to end the 'War on Terror' . There will be no such surrender.

But by that same token, I would like to simply add to the cost of war calculations the possibility that these wars of convenience are transforming our country into a police entity.

The original author, therefore, is someone I agree with - as he is saying that this cost will be played out over our entire lives. This is true. Neither Obama nor anyone else are seeking to remove America from the position of World Cop. And so, we will be there when North Korea and South Korea go at it. And When the Caspian Sea dome triggers more war. And so on, and so on...


This adds to the cost of war but also gives us a job.. that we don't really need.  A more preferable outcome would be a real job ;)



by Trey Rentz 2010-06-25 03:02PM | 0 recs
RE: The cost of war

I think you are right about the employment angle. I don't think we are going to replace NATO with the US; which is one of the reasons why this is going so badly-- using the US military instead of NATO and an even bigger UN non-military presence. Too late now though, maybe next generation. Time to get out for now.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-06-25 09:08PM | 0 recs
RE: Obama's gamble

I think it's ridiculous to call Petraeus a Kool-Aid drinker. He's the Kool-Aid man, the big pitcher smashing through the wall. It's also silly to call Afghanistan bigger than Vietnam in scope - we had five times more troops in Vietnam at its height.

But my support for this war has finally waned. I'm waiting to see how big next summer's promised withdrawal truly is before passing judgement on the president, but if it's not serious - a few divisions and a timetable - I'll be gone. Especially because baby brother deploys from NC to Afghanistan sometime next year.

by Nathan Empsall 2010-06-25 03:19PM | 0 recs
RE: Obama's gamble

Good point on Petraeus being the man mixing the ingredients. I took scope to mean other things than size, such as money spent, and a bigger loss down the road.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-06-25 09:06PM | 0 recs
larger scope than Vietnam?

To argue this you'd have to be a fool, a dishonest hack, or suffering from dementia.

by Thaddeus 2010-06-27 10:16PM | 0 recs
RE: larger scope than Vietnam?

Cool it with the name-calling. Grow up and join the adults.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-06-28 10:47AM | 0 recs
What the American people need is a reality-based understanding of the consequences of withdrawal.

Nobody likes war especially when it involves the killing of so many civilians, to say nothing about the death and wounding of many soldiers the US and NATO have contributed to the fight.

But can we live with the alternatives, after getting out and throwing Afganistan under the bus.

by MainStreet 2010-06-28 11:33AM | 0 recs
RE: What the American people need is a reality-based understanding of the consequences of withdrawal.

Sounds like the same type of things you can read about those arguing for staying in Vietnam forever too.

What I'm saying is that "the alternative" turns out to be the "reality" of whatever one chooses, and winds up being pretty circular to whatever decision you wanted in the first place.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-07-02 04:39AM | 0 recs

A liar or a fool--that's a common expression directed against those whose sincerity is questionable.  And to talk about this war as larger in scope than Vietnam is truly an outrageous statement, and a disservice to the 57,000 U.S. servicemen and women who died there, as well as the million Indochinese killed in the war.

An adult analysis requires more than a hissy fit, and I consider dedication to reality to be an adult characteristic.  


by Thaddeus 2010-07-01 11:29PM | 0 recs

First, who really cares on this site about your rant against one word that Andrew Sullivan made-- take your problem up with him. Second, as I posted above, "scope" could easily be inferred as meaning something other than the number of troops.

by Jerome Armstrong 2010-07-02 04:36AM | 0 recs


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