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Obama's Afghan Struggle

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Message Thomas Riggins
The above title is that of an opinon piece in Friday's Wall Street Journal that is so mendacious and factually inaccurate that it is hard to believe it was written by Fouad Ajami who is supposed to be an expert on the Middle East. He a professor at Johns Hopkins and a fellow at the Hoover Institution, but if he teaches his students the stuff and nonsense he writes in the WSJ they should demand their tuition back.

He doesn't say too much about Obama and concludes that he is apparently "undecided about Afghanistan." Well. I hope he is right and Obama decides not to pursue this fruitless war so fatally mismanaged by the Bushites as to be virtually unwinnable in any conventional sense.

The heart of the article is, however, a not so subtle defense of the neocon war theories that led to our catastrophic invasion of Iraq. He is still pushing the idea that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. To still be pushing this junk as if it has some merit is incredible, but sadly typical of the WSJ's editorial pages which are more and more resembling the editorial pages of its illegitimate (because artificially kept alive by stimulus money provided by Murdock) semiliterate sibling the New York Post.

Here is Ajami: "Plainly, our country has been living on its nerves since 9/11. It had not willed an Islamic imperium, but it has gotten one.[It got one by a war of choice, so the Bushites actually did will an imperium.] It was bequeathed this tribal duty by the upheaval in the lands of the Arab-Islamic world [what upheaval? neither Afghanistan nor Iraq were 'upheaving' until we attacked them.] and by the guile and cunning of a generation of jihadists [today's jihadists were yesterday's freedom fighters, I guess it depends on your perspective] and their enablers, who deflected the wrath of their people onto distant American power."

Those 'enablers' were in fact the CIA, the Saudis and ISI (their CIA) in Pakistan who created the jihadists to attack the Soviets and the socialist oriented government of Afghanistan. If ever there was a case of the chickens coming home to roost it was the jihadist "threat" to America. And there was no 'wrath' stirred up until AFTER Bush invaded Iraq. As for "distant power"--we had been bombing Iraq since the 90s, had military bases all over the place, a fleet on duty in the Gulf area, and were bankrolling the Zionist occupation of Palestine since 1967. So on all counts this passage from Ajami is just a big pile of baloney simply put out to deceive the readership of the WSJ. And there is more.

Next Ajami waxes eloquent over Bush's rendezvous with destiny, his answer to "history's call." "The country gave him its warrant and acceptance [because he LIED to us] and then withdrew it [we found out about the lies] in the latter years of his presidency." At least "he had a coherent worldview." Yes, it was based on making his own reality and just as silly as Ajami's reading of history.

"He took the war on terror into the heart of the Arab world. It was Arabs-- with their oil money, and with prestige that comes with their mastery of Arabic [Arabs speak Arabic, who knew?], the language of the Quran, among impressionable Pakistanis and Afghans [babes in the woods]-- who made Afghanistan the menace it had become." Don't forget the Pakistani ISI which funded the Taliban (to this day by all accounts) with the generous foreign aid moolah we dish out to friendly dictatorships we call "allies."

"Without Arab money and Arab doctrines of political Islam [we are talking about SAUDI ARABIA with whose King Bush has a hand holding relationship], the Taliban would have remained a breed of reactionary seminarians...." Well, is Ajami making the case that we should get tough with the Saudis? No! We should get tough with Iraq, which was actually a secular government hostile to the Taliban and to jihadists.

"It thus made perfect strategic sense," Ajami writes, "to take the fight to the Arab heartland of Islam. Saddam Hussein had drawn the short straw." Yes, perfect strategic sense to attack a country that was anti-Taliban, had nothing to do with 9/11, and would bog down our whole Army basically for years and years while the Taliban regrouped and the jihadists grew in power and strength all over the region.

It was the American people who got the short straw, as well as those unfortunate enough to take Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins.
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Thomas Riggins, PhD CUNY, is a retired university lecturer in philosophy and ancient history and the former book review editor for Political Affairs magazine.

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