Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flailing Wars

Some might say that I am being extreme, but to me Obama’s reasons and strategies for the war in Afghanistan are becoming as numerous and feckless as were Bush’s for the war in Iraq. They change from day to day, and none of them make any sense if given any real thought.

As Tom Engelhardt points out in Obama’s Flailing Wars,” which strikes me as a particularly apt title, just two months ago we were cozying up to Pakistan and making veiled threats against the government of Afghanistan, and today we are making open threats against the government of Pakistan and giving the Agfhan president the red carpet treatment in Washington. Talk about a bizarre flip flop.

Yesterday we were fighting in Afghanistan to “deny al Queda space in which to plan their attacks,” and today we say that al Queda is not in Afghanistan but is doing its attack planning in Pakistan. Yet we are still at war in Afghanistan and are building a $1 billion embassy in Pakistan.

Obama is talking about negotiating with the Taliban, but not right now. We have to make military gains against them first so that we can “negotiate from a position of strength.” Given a moment of thought, that means we are not going to negotiate with them until after we have defeated them, in which case why do we need to negotiate with them?

The enemy is al Queda in Pakistan so we are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan, and when we make an offensive push in the South the Taliban attacks us in the North. That is happening now for the third time by my count, and we are still surprised by it. The Taliban call it “go where the enemy’s strength is not,” we call it “whack-a-mole,” I call it an exercise in futility. Which of those phrases sounds more intelligent?

Which brings us to the Times Square bombing attempt, which the Obama Administration says was fomented by the Taliban in Pakistan. Pakistan claims that is not the case, but the Obama Administration says that Pakistan is lying. If so, then Obama is treading very dangerous ground.

First, the group attacking us has always been al Queda. If we are now being attacked here at home by the Taliban, as Obama claims is the case, then the war on terror has widened considerably, and that has occurred on Obama’s watch.

Secondly, we have been at war for more than eight long years and have lost 1000 lives in Afghanistan because an attack on New York City was planned there. If this attack on New York City was planned in Pakistan, as Obama claims it was, then how does he avoid going to war in Pakistan? Failing that, how does he continue to justify the war in Afghanistan?

Blaming the Taliban in Pakistan is just more flailing around in a feckless effort to justify the unjustifiable.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Oh, Sh** where do we even start with this one?

What about the "go where the enemy is not"... I think Patton called it "grab him by the nose and kick him in the pants". But this is a time honored military and guerrilla strategy for hundreds of years and we don't know this already?

I have often felt that it is a "don't quit, because that means you've lost" mentality - and thus it goes ever on and on. Well, somewhere it needs and is going to stop. The question is the cost in human lives, reputation and resources?

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