When President Obama first announced his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan with an additional 30,000 troops, he couched it within a time line of July 11, 2011, that being the start date of withdrawal of those troops.
This brought immediate echoes of Lyndon Johnson's escalation of the war in Viet Nam in 1965 rumbling through this observers head. Of course it wasn't the withdrawal date in 2011 that was startling, as that was never believed from this quarter and was pretty much confirmed by General David Patraeus' recent statement to the House Armed Services Committee, "that July 11 is not the date when the U.S. heads for the exits" in Afghanistan.
No, to those of us who were around at the time of Johnson's war in Viet Nam knew it was Obama's fateful decision to escalate in Afghanistan that was most wrenching. For this presaged his long war, his inevitable quagmire and that his avowal to start withdrawing from it in 2011 was a baseless chimera not to be taken seriously.
Starting and escalating wars are relatively easy. It's getting out of them that are a whole other matter.
And now with the confirmation of $1 trillion worth of untapped minerals "discovered" (conveniently?) in Afghanistan and waiting to be exploited, the U.S. continued presence in Afghanistan is as sure as the Sun rising and setting each day.
Why do the American people continue to allow ourselves to be duped and suckered by official pronouncements (propaganda?) emanating from this administration or its abominable predecessor?
Our passivity is appalling, particularly those of us on the left who know better. Our failure to demonstrate against this war (and the one in Iraq) as we once did in overwhelming numbers over the Viet Nam war makes us complicit and enablers to the ongoing and unnecessary death and destruction being committed in our name.
We have become shallow, hollow reeds, weak and impotent in the face of official imperialism of our undeclared, illegal wars and occupations.
All we witness in "activism" are the brain dead far right wing "teabaggers" out there demonstrating their idiocy against a "socialist" Obama, he's not born here, he's a Muslim, against "socialized" health care, depicted so memorably by the deluded senior screaming at a Congressional town hall meeting, "Don't let the government take away my Medicare."
Is this what we have descended to? Ceding the megaphone to the mindless cacophony from the far right while remaining weak kneed passive on the left?For if we do not care enough to act and force our government to heed us and to right the wrongs it is committing in our name, it'll take a whole lot more than "God bless the U.S.A." to save us from our eventual ignominious downfall.
 "U.S. retreats on Afghan war review's importance", by David S. Cloud, "The Baltimore Sun", June 17, 2010.