The Afghanistan speech that President Obama should give

| November 24, 2009 | 5 Replies

Tom Dispatch writes the Afghanistan speech that President Obama should, but won’t, give.  Here are three excerpts:

We have no partner in Afghanistan. The control of the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai hardly extends beyond the embattled capital of Kabul. He himself has just been returned to office in a presidential election in which voting fraud on an almost unimaginably large scale was the order of the day.

. . .  I have decided to send no more troops to Afghanistan. Beyond that, I believe it is in the national interest of the American people that this war, like the Iraq War, be drawn down. Over time, our troops and resources will be brought home in an orderly fashion, while we ensure that we provide adequate security for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Ours will be an administration that will stand or fall, as of today, on this essential position: that we ended, rather than extended, two wars.

But we must not be scared. America will not — of this, as your president, I am convinced — be a safer nation if it spends many hundreds of billions of dollars over many years, essentially bankrupting itself and exhausting its military on what looks increasingly like an unwinnable war. This is not the way to safety, but to national penury — and I am unwilling to preside over an America heading in that direction.

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Category: The Middle East, War

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Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich and his wife, Anne Jay, live in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where they are raising their two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Afghanistan jackpot | Dangerous Intersection | January 13, 2010
  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Michael Brenner hits it head on in his sharp criticism of Barack Obama:

    "The White House deceived the country in advertising a root and branch critical analysis of the reasons for our engagement in Afghanistan that never took place. Also, the White House deceived itself in making believe that endless discussions over variations of the same strategy addressed core issues. All of the participants shared the same key assumptions that never have been questioned. Petraeus, Gates, Hillary, Jones, Biden, Holbrooke — and Obama — take as received wisdom four basic postulates: 1) the very existence of al-Qaeda's remnants constitutes a grave threat to American security; 2) the Taliban's agenda is fundamentally no different from al-Qaeda's, so they must be eliminated as a force in Afghan politics as well; 3) both groups can be suppressed by generous applications of military power; 4) the huge risks and costs of trying to do so are eclipsed by a dire threat to the United States. All of these highly dubious postulates have never been frontally addressed and debated."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brenner/afg

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, on why it is absurd for the U.S. to preach that it is in Afghanistan to spread freedom and democracy:

    "Who are we to seriously be preaching [such] a crusade?" he asked. "We have a financial sector that is voraciously greedy and exploitative, to put it mildly. We have a Congress which is not immune to special interests. And we have an electoral system that is based largely on private donations which precipitate expectations of rewards. The notion of us going to the Afghans and preaching purity is comical… I think we should just quit that stuff."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/02/brzezins

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Michael Moore to President Obama on Afghanistan:

    I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/an-op

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Obama has wisely abandoned the notion that the U.S. is in Afghanistan to bring freedom to that country:

    "Obama did not even mention — let alone hype — the issue of women's rights in Afghanistan. There were no grandiose claims that the justness of the war derives from our desire to defeat evil, tyrannical extremists and replace them with more humane and democratic leaders. To the contrary, he was commendably blunt that our true goal is not to improve the lives of Afghan citizens but rather: "Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda." There were no promises to guarantee freedom and human rights to the Afghan people. To the contrary, he explicitly rejected a mission of broad nation-building "because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost and what we need to achieve to secure our interests"; he said he "refuse[d] to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests"; and even vowed to incorporate the convertible factions of the Taliban into the government."

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald

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