Thursday, December 3, 2009

Shorter Barack Obama

President Obama on Afghanistan:

  • Same shit, next administration.

Single-party rule is what we voted for, but I'm pretty sure most voters are with me in thinking we voted for single-party rule by Democrats. Well, aren't we magnificent dupes!

In fairness, unlike many other areas of great importance, Obama did not campaign on a promise to exit Afghanistan. He did, however, speak often and forcefully of the need to define success and exit strategies for Afghanistan. Evidently that was more empty talk.

The more the phrase is endlessly repeated, the more I lose sight of just what it is that 30,000 additional American soldiers are supposed to be training Afghans to do. The Afghans don't know how to round up thugs? They don't know how to imprison or kill the thugs they round up? They don't know how to establish and maintain a constabulary force? They don't know how to operate a military? They don't know how -- and they don't have any independent means or resources on which to call -- for constructing and maintaining roads, bridges, schools, courthouses, government ministries?

They don't know how to do these things in Afghanistan? That is the problem, or a primary element of it? They need 30,000 American troops to train them in these things? It's really a question of knowing how? It's a question of training? And military troops are the best method for addressing a knowledge deficit of this kind and degree?

Really? As always, Jon Stewart plays the truth-telling clown, with emphasis on truth:

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'Shorter' concept lovingly borrowed from Sadly, No!


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limousine hire said...

President Obama announcing his new strategy for Afghanistan..

Domestically Challenged said...

(sigh) This fucking sucks. I just can't believe it is happening. I seriously can't.

The one thing I believed he would actually accomplish, and he makes it worse!

Dale said...

DC, I agree. Obama had a chance here to stand up to the BS and change things in Afghanistan, but he chickened out. Again.

I would feel much better about it if I took the "withdrawal timeline seriously," but I do not. I expect that to be another chance for a combination of token gestures (8 or 9 troops sent back home) and chickening out in the name of all the usual horseshit -- "conditions on the ground," the terrifying threat of Al Qaida's 100 or so operatives still in Afghanistan, the need to provide security, and every other well-worn fabrication and half-truth we've been hearing for a decade.

Even on the level of sheer politics, I don't know how this makes sense. This ensures that the war in Afghanistan will be a front-burner topic into the 2012 election. Does Obama really think he's going to find some more politically workable form of triangulation in 18 months? -- i.e., something that enlivens "the Democratic base" but also wins over the centrists he's always so tirelessly pursuing? Now would have been time to locate and pursue that triangulation if it exists. If this is it, it won't work. His Republican opponent will, without fail, come off as more belligerent and straightforward. In matters of war, those centrists love belligerent and straightfoward as much as "conservatives" do.

If war is the issue, Democrats lose a lot more often than they win. Period. How this escapes Obama is beyond me.

Then again, why even care about the fight between two parties when they don't diverge? If Obama is going to be Bush-lite -- or, worse, just Bush with a better speech-writer -- on the rule of law and war and so on, I can't really blame people for not giving a shit about him and choosing the genuine article.

He's a goddamn chicken-shit way, way too often and on matters of far too much substance.