Obama’s Address A Disappointment

 photo:  the white house  It was the big announcement, as the President laid out his plan to withdraw the “surge” troops over the next 12 months with the rest (or most or many of the rest or more) of our people being out of Afghanistan by 2014?  Give me a break.  What a joke.  We can no longer afford the Bush/Cheney plan of endlessly pumping billions into the Military-Industrial Complex to keep a massive military police action going resulting largely in negative payback for a majority of both Americans and the Afghan people.

Mr. Obama, promised to end this nonsense.  Well, he’s finally getting a Secretary of Defense who isn’t a holdover from the Bush Administration.  That’s something, isn’t it?

So by June of 2012 we’ll have only 70,000 troops in Afghanistan, with no commitment to ever totally withdraw from the country?  How sad.   Isn’t this what happened to Imperial Rome?

We’ve been there since October of 2001.  It’s the longest war/military police action (heavily assisted by mercenaries and other third party vendors) in the nation’s history.  We’re using so many mercenaries, that they’ve even come up with a term for it.  They’re calling it “counterinsurgency outsourcing.”  What madness.  The time to get out is now.  Just do it Mr. Obama.  It’ll save you and quite possibly, the country.   Osama bin Laden is dead.  Here at home our economic ship is sinking.  You can still fight what’s left of the al Qaida by remote control with predators, cruise missiles, stealth bombers and the CIA,  while treating what’s left of  bin Laden’s organization as what it really is, an international criminal conspiracy.  Not something we can fight with conventional 20th Century warfare.  That was a Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Wolfowitz mistake, possibly influenced by the extreme profitability of warfare.  Don’t make it yours.

No matter how profitable continuing these military police actions might be for Bush/Cheney/McCain and their friends in the war factory,  get us the hell out of there.  Don’t wait for 2014.  Stop trying to keep everybody happy.  You can’t do it.  You’ve already knuckled under to Wall Street.  Don’t do the same with the Military-Industrial Complex.

What remains of the al Qaeda, is now in nations other than Afghanistan.  We need to go after these guys where they are, not where they aren’t.   Our behavior is approaching insanity.

The sad truth about Afghanistan is that when we pull out, and eventually we will, the Taliban will move back in.  Well, they’ve never left, actually.  Anyway, you can get out now or you can get out later.  The Taliban aren’t going anywhere.  Unless you’re willing to keep our people in the country for the next century or so, and even then factions loyal to the Taliban will probably remain.   Afghanistan is a country with a literacy rate of only 28.1%.   The people are 80% Sunni and 19% Shia Muslim.   It should be no surprise to anyone that a largely Christian nation attempting to force these people to change their culture will only result in pushback.  And now the Pentagon is talking about “fighting seasons,” like this is some football game?   We’ve been down this road before, with William Westmoreland and Vietnam.  How many times will we make this same mistake?

General Westmoreland’s biggest problem was that LBJ never came up with a convoluted plan to send the National Guard overseas, and that left Johnson and Westmoreland with a military consisting largely of draftees.  Thousands of young Americans were pulled into military service to fight a war much of the country did not want.  You can be sure that were the draft still in effect, the country would have been out of the Middle East years ago — which begs the question of whether a war is worth fighting if we aren’t all willing to share in the sacrifice.

War, is serious stuff.  It’s not a video game.  People actually die, which is why the Bush/Cheney regime violated the First Amendment and blocked the press from taking pictures of our soldiers coming home in coffins.  And for what?  To get Osama bin Laden?  Mission accomplished, not by Bush, but by Obama.  Beyond that, the simple truth is that we can’t change the Afghan culture.  The Afghan culture will have to change itself.

We know better, you say?  Have you forgotten what so many of us learned in all those years of Bible school?  What was that verse from Proverbs?   Something about “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Mr. Obama, many people still believe in you even though you extended the Bush tax cuts for the rich and for many Americans taxes continue to be the lowest they’ve been since the 1950’s while our economy and infrastructure fall to pieces.   Mr. Obama,  that’s the ghost of FDR over you shoulder.  We’re almost under water here. Come on Barack. Time to come through with all those campaign promises.

We thought you were better than those other guys, who said whatever they needed to say to get elected and then changed course after the election.  Like George W. Bush, who told us he’d never get into nation-building and then proceeded to do just that.  Against the advice of people who knew better,  he took us into Afghanistan and Iraq with no exit plan.  The task of getting us out now falls to you.  Please do it sooner instead of later.  Help us get the ship of state back on a course of decency, courage and common sense, rather than ignorance, greed and fear.

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