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Going Up Country

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In the battle in Washington, D.C., between the war hawks led by US and NATO commander General McChrystal and those opposed to the escalation of Bush's terror wars, Obama has finally chosen a side and has shocked and disappointed many of his staunchest supporters.

The question, of course, is what difference the troop surge in Afghanistan will make? As has been discussed myriad times on the Mike Malloy program and other programs, the 2,000+ year history of the region clearly indicates that no foreign invader has successfully subdued or organized whatever tribal governments were in power at the time. Given that Obama is not thick-as-a-brick as was our former fearless leader -- and is not some "Rapture Ready Righty" who hopes the increase in carnage will hasten the return of the "Messiah" -- then there must be some rational explanation for this seemingly horrible decision to throw more innocent bodies into an historically un-winnable fight. So, when Obama speaks of "finishing the job" in Afghanistan, what could he possibly mean?

Why set up our nation for another costly (in terms of both lives and resources) failure? And why present the war hawks and Palin supporters with such a gift?

Even the Afghans aren't too keen on this idea. '"One American soldier costs about $1 million a year,' says Jabar Wafaie, a security guard from restive Uruzgon Province working in Kabul. 'The troops that are already here, they can do well now, if they wanted they could destroy the Taliban.' Across ethnic lines, Afghans interviewed in Kabul have concluded that foreign troops must not be working hard, or perhaps prefer to have an excuse to occupy."

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And remember why Bush-the-Dumber refused to give a timetable for troop withdrawal? Seems some Afghans have similar concerns. '"For the Taliban, this is good news,' says Waliullah Rahmani, director of the Kabul Center for Strategic Studies because the insurgents can wait out the 18 months and feel confident they can prevail if the US begins to leave. 'If the Afghan government [remains] in the same situation that it is in today, it cannot remain in power for [even] a month when the US leaves.'"

So the mystery remains. Perhaps Obama's planned escalation is designed to pull more coalition forces into the fight, and thus ease the pressure on the global image that this is strictly an American war against a Muslim nation. Or, does the President hope that a final military push -- with emphasis on training the Afghan forces -- will quieten his critics and allow us to leave the country with a "we did the best we could" attitude? If you believe the Bush mythology, US forces have attempted to train the Afghans for almost a decade with little success. Soldiers regularly abandon their units, or use their body armor as a BBQ grill. Do these people want to be trained to fight the Taliban? Seems they assume the Taliban is ultimately unbeatable, and will take complete control just as soon as US forces finally withdraw.

Even more perplexing is Obama's own apparent flip-flop on the rationale behind the surge as he now embraces an argument he once rejected. Gareth Porter had this to say today on commondreams.org:

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Obama said the escalation was for a "vital national interest" and invoked the threat of attacks from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, asserting that such attacks "are now being planned as I speak."Despite Obama's embrace of these new national security arguments, however, he has rejected within the past few weeks the critical link in the national security argument for deploying tens of thousands of additional troops -- the allegedly indissoluble link between the Taliban insurgency and al Qaeda . . .But during September and October, Obama sought to fend off escalation in Afghanistan in part by suggesting through other White House officials that the interests of the Taliban were no longer coincident with those of al Qaeda. In fact, intense political maneuvering between Obama and the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, over the latter's troop increase request revolved primarily around the issue of whether the defeat of the Taliban was necessary to U.S. anti-al Qaeda strategy.

And remember, Obama recently rejected the McChrystal troop increase because he felt the uncertainty around the disputed Karzai election had damaged the legitimacy of the Afghan government, therefore making any effort to prop up that government an exercise in political cynicism not lost on the Afghans -- or us. But that matter was not even mentioned in his Tuesday speech. Nor did Obama address the change in position from the statement he made on Face the Nation in September, that "We're not going to put the cart before the horse and just think that by sending more troops we're automatically going to make Americans safe." Uh. . . and now?

The Senate Armed Services committee is now considering the President's plan, and is expected to approve the measure. The nagging question of what the hoped for outcome actually is remains unanswered. How will we know if the surge is successful? And, if not "successful," is the proposed date for withdrawal of U.S. troops worse than meaningless? What is the so-called "end game" in Afghanistan? Or, in the age of Bush's endless terror wars -- as in Orwell's battles among Eurasia, Eastasia and Oceania -- is it no longer necessary to have an exit strategy?

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www.mikemalloy.com
Kathy never expected a career in radio as a talk show producer. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Kathy was completing her nursing degree when in 2001 - in an emergency - she was asked to fill in as the producer of Mike's program. Within a few (more...)
 

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