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Afghanistan the Betrayal

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by glynch, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. glynch

    glynch Contributing Member

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    A good article that pretty much says where I am with Obama. It also explains why though he thinks he is being tactically wise and may attract for awhile the type of silly, confused moderates who say can't decide in elections say between Gore and Bush or Kerry and Bush or Obama or McCain, it really doesn't help Obama politically. Unlike the author I will give him praise on certain specific matters if he warrants it.

    http://blogs.nybooks.com/post/265874686/afghanistan-the-betrayal
    ************

    Afghanistan: The Betrayal
    Garry Wills


    I did not think he would lose me so soon—sooner than Bill Clinton did. Like many people, I was deeply invested in the success of our first African-American president. I had written op-ed pieces and articles to support him in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books. My wife and I had maxed out in donations for him. Our children had been ardent for his cause.

    Others I respect have given up on him before now. I can see why. His backtracking on the treatment of torture (and photographs of torture), his hesitations to give up on rendition, on detentions, on military commissions, and on signing statements, are disheartening continuations of George W. Bush’s heritage
    . But I kept hoping that he was using these concessions to buy leeway for his most important position, for the ground on which his presidential bid was predicated.

    There was only one thing that brought him to the attention of the nation as a future president. It was opposition to the Iraq war. None of his serious rivals for the Democratic nomination had that credential—not Hillary Clinton, not Joseph Biden, not John Edwards. It set him apart. He put in clarion terms the truth about that war—that it was a dumb war, that it went after an enemy where he was not hiding, that it had no indigenous base of support, that it had no sensible goal and no foreseeable cutoff point.

    He said that he would not oppose war in general, but dumb wars. On that basis, we went for him. And now he betrays us. Although he talked of a larger commitment to Afghanistan during his campaign, he has now officially adopted his very own war, one with all the disqualifications that he attacked in the Iraq engagement. This war too is a dumb one. It has even less indigenous props than Iraq did.

    Iraq at least had a functioning government (though a tyrannical one). The Afghanistan government that replaced the Taliban is not only corrupt but ineffectual. The country is riven by tribal war, Islamic militancy, and warlordism, and fueled by a drug economy —interrupting the drug industry will destabilize what order there is and increase hostility to us.

    We have been in Afghanistan for eight years, earning hatred as occupiers, and after this record for longevity in American wars we will be there for still more years earning even more hatred. It gives us not another Iraq but another Vietnam, with wobbly rulers and an alien culture.

    Although Obama says he plans to begin withdrawal from Afghanistan in July 2011, he will meanwhile be sending there not only soldiers but the contract employees that cling about us now like camp followers, corrupt adjuncts in perpetuity. Obama did not mention these plagues that now equal the number of military personnel we dispatch. We are sending off thousands of people to take and give bribes to drug dealers in Afghanistan.

    If we had wanted Bush’s wars, and contractors, and corruption, we could have voted for John McCain. At least we would have seen our foe facing us, not felt him at our back, as now we do. The Republicans are given a great boon by this new war. They can use its cost to say that domestic needs are too expensive to be met—health care, education, infrastructure. They can say that military recruitments from the poor make job creation unnecessary. They can call it Obama’s war when it is really theirs. They can attack it and support it at the same time, with equal advantage.

    I cannot vote for any Republican. But Obama will not get another penny from me, or another word of praise, after this betrayal. And in all this I know that my disappointment does not matter. What really matters are the lives of the young men and women he is sending off to senseless deaths
     
  2. Dubious

    Dubious Contributing Member

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    Idealism is cool
    Reality is a b****
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    Don't be like basso. This could have gone in the other Afghanistan thread.
     
  4. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Agreed.
     
  5. justtxyank

    justtxyank Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure what people really expected here. Were you delusional enough to believe he was going to just yank troops out of conflicts we had already gotten involved in?

    I know this is a shocker, but no one rises to the position of president without certain character traits. Being able to dance with the devil with a smile on your face is one of them. If you thought Obama was going to be this peace loving idealist who would end a war that many people, both here and abroad, have a lot invested in, you need to stop voting in presidential elections.

    The Philosopher King will never be elected in America.
     
  6. DonnyMost

    DonnyMost not wrong
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    I'm not sure many people expected these interventions to end in under two years, but definitely by the end of his first-term.
     
  7. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Obama is doing exactly what I expected him to do in Afghanistan. If you were expecting him to pull out of this war, you weren't paying attention. There was always going to be a timetable for Iraq if there wasn't one by the time he was President, but that didn't mean he was determined to get troops out of Afghanistan. He promised to refocus those resources that had been devoted to Iraq to the "real war" going on in Afghanistan.
     
    #7 juicystream, Dec 3, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2009
  8. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Obama has a lot to learn from Hugo Chavez.
     
  9. orbb

    orbb Contributing Member

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    I think national interest should trump political calculation. Always.
     
  10. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    This sums up what is exactly wrong with politics. Politicians know they have their core group who will vote for their party line no matter what. The hard part is convincing the moderates of their rubbish. Its not hard to woo them over with "hope and change" over "experience and precedent". This is not about Obama vs. McCain, Bush vs Gore/Kerry. If voters would look at the actual candidates and not the party affiliation beside their name, We could keep the Bushes, Gores, Kerrys, McCains, Obamas and (H)Clintons out of office, along with all of their special interest groups.

    I guess the author has forgotten that Obama was the best man on the ticket for the job. Its amusing he has a realization that he was busy donating money to keep Bush out of office, when all along he was donating for a guy who continues the same polices.
     
  11. MojoMan

    MojoMan Member

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  12. mc mark

    mc mark Contributing Member

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    Mojorge your little cartoon finda flies the face of what glynch and most democrats are saying.
     
  13. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    ^ that's not what she said in 2008, this is what she said:

    Quite a bit of depth in that statement!
     
  14. Major

    Major Member

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    This is true, especially given that Obama - all through the last 2 or 3 years - said Afghanistan should be the focus and was the important war. If glynch feels betrayed by Obama focusing on Afghanistan, that's his own fault for projecting his own views onto Obama and then blaming Obama for not following them. Whether you agree with him or not, Obama here is doing exactly what he said he'd do for the past several years.
     
    2 people like this.
  15. rhadamanthus

    rhadamanthus Contributing Member

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    True. His epic fail is more centered on civil liberties and Iraq.

    And health care, although that's still in-work so I'll give him an "incomplete" at the moment.
     
  16. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    I barrack was supposed to be the most liberal senator on the floor. I would have voted for dennis kucinich.
     
  17. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

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    Major, why are left-wing kooks so disappointed Obama isn't one of them? My goodness, a person had to have been delusional and just completely ignore his campaign. Stuff like this makes the fringe left appear just as stupid as the fringe right. In this case, appearances are accurate.
     
  18. GladiatoRowdy

    GladiatoRowdy Contributing Member

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    My father voted for him in the primary in Michigan.
     
  19. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member
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    Considering that is what he campaigned on this should come as no surprise or betrayal. Frankly if you feel betrayed you weren't paying attention.
     
  20. Major

    Major Member

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    I totally agree - I don't understand it. As rhad pointed out, I can see people being disappointed by Iraq (though I think he's basically doing what he said there too) or civil liberties type issues. But on a lot of these things they are disappointed in, they shouldn't be. Same with the people on the far right - he campaigned on massive health care reform, but now they act shocked when he pushes forward on it.

    Despite all the screams about socialism and the like, his record has always pointed to this: negotiation, compromise, a move to the center, practical governing, trying to work with opponents (both domestic and international), etc.
     

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