Thursday, December 3, 2009

30,000 More To Afghanistan...

Tuesday night:
Obama laid out his plan for the buildup of U.S. troops in Afghanistan Tuesday night in a speech at the United States Military Academy, saying that "our security is at stake." Obama used the speech to announce the ordering of an additional 30,000 troops to the region, as well as his intention to begin drawing down U.S forces within the next three years.
So like he promised during his campaign, Obama has escalated the war in Afghanistan much to the disappointment of the Obama-is-a-closet-progressive theorists. I can have a bit of sympathy for Michael Moore's argument about the scale of the escalation, but I still think Obama made it pretty clear during the campaign that he was planning this type of thing. I strongly disagreed with it then, I strongly disagree with it now, but I definitely don't feel "betrayed" or anything like that. He is who we though he was. And that's perfectly fine as long as you didn't make up progressive positions that he didn't take and convince yourself that he was somehow the second coming of FDR.

As for the plan itself, I oppose it for countless reasons starting with a basic belief that an increase in violence is not a way to achieve peace. This is not world powers duking it out, this is the worlds strongest military occupying a third world country where we're already fairly unpopular. An increase in troops will lead to an increase in killing not only for Taliban members but of civilians as well. I simply don't see how our presence there and the inevitable death and destruction of an occupation won't produce more enemies than we already have now.

One of the more common arguments in favor of the escalation came from Oliver Willis, who thinks we should finish the job that Bush fucked up:
We were attacked on 9/11 by the Al Qaeda network, who had safe haven under the Taliban in Afghanistan. Unlike so much of what swirls around in our world is not in dispute. At that time we demanded that Afghanistan turn over Al Qaeda. They refused. We invaded.

Again, these things are clear. Not a single characterization of them by President Obama deviated from what we all saw.

I supported Obama for many reasons, but for me, personally, the primary reason was that George W. Bush failed to fight the war against terrorism – specifically the Al Qaeda network – in any competent manner. Al Qaeda’s stated desire to hurt and cripple the country – stated time and again by Bin Laden and his lieutenants – demands a strong and clear response from us. Basically from the standoff at Tora Bora until now, the response to this challenge has been mush.
Yes, Bush fucked up the war in Afganistan. Yes, Bush fucked up the fight against Al Qaeda.

But what does that have to do with Afghanistan in 2009? Because the Taliban once sheltered him, and they're still there? Cause if we want to go going after Al Qaeda, everyone basically agrees they're not in Afghanistan anymore.

Another point about the "because of 9/11" argument: It's not 2001 anymore.

Regardless of what Obama says, the world is NOT behind this effort. Sure they might say nice things and not actively oppose us, but they sure as hell aren't sending many of their own troops to help this cause. Even if you thought an invasion of Afghanistan with a broad coalition in 2001 was a good idea that doesn't mean you can turn back time and escalate the war 8 years later with positive results.

Ok, now that we're through dealing with sane arguments, let's look at what a large portion of what the dailykos community believes. The first diary that topped the Recommended list on Tuesday morning can be summarized as follows:
Title: I've got Barack's back today, who's with me?

Point 1: It's incredible that we elected a black man as President of the United States. (It's true)

Point 2: I mean, it's really absurd that we elected a black man president (Again no argument here, still pretty amazing)

Point 3: Obama cares a lot about this decision, and the cost will weigh on him (No doubt that it will)

Point 4: He really, really cares about this (Again, I'm sure he does, with his presidency riding on how it turns out and all)

Point 5: Based on these reasons, you should support Obama no matter what he does, whether you agree or not (Whaaaaa?)

Update: I'm not advocating blindly supporting Obama! I just think that he shouldn't be criticized and you should have his back no matter what! There's a difference!
So that's one. I thought it might have been the worst diary I'd seen on the kos rec list until this one took it's place at the top:
I say to all of you, right now.

STFU and listen.

Listen to the President, tonight at 8:00 Eastern. He is smart enough guy to make the right decisions.
I remember doing one of those "what type of government do you prefer" type quizzes in a poli-sci class once, and a yes answer to the "My country/leader, right or wrong" gave you about 1000 points towards Authoritarianism/Fascism. Not to say that those quizzes mean anything, but I think you get my point.

Look, Afghanistan is in terrible shape. The Taliban are terrible people. I just don't think increasing our military occupation of that country will do anything to make us safer or make life better for the people of Afghanistan.

It's possible to have worked for Obama and voted for Obama knowing he had plenty of policies I disagreed with. It's also possible to support Obama on issues where you agree and oppose him on issues where you disagree. Obama is not a yes or no question. I thought this is how most sane people approached politics but I'm increasingly not so sure.

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