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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/25/10

Obama, "Change in personnel, no change in policy." An opportunity gone wanting.

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President Obama did what he needed to do yesterday, acting decisive when it counted in firing General Stanley McChrystal. The latter acted stupidly with arrogance and hubris and deserved his sacking.

After reading the story by Michael Hastings in "Rolling Stone" that cast McChrystal and his staff entourage openly discrediting and ridiculing Obama and most of his key staff advisors, it became clear the McChrystal removal was necessary.

It was hoped from this quarter that with McChrystal gone Obama would use the firing as the basis to conduct his own reevaluation of the Afghan war. But that hope was dashed almost immediately when he said, "This is a change in personnel, but it is not a change in policy," while naming General David Petraeus the new American commander replacing the discredited McChrystal. Well so much for "change you can believe in."

Petraeus, made famous for the successful "surge" strategy in Iraq (though in fact it was his co opting of the Iraqi Sunni inspired "awakening" movement and its turning against al Qaeda which Petraeus "Americanized" six months later and made it his own) will just head up and inherit the same failed policy that Obama has hitched his wagon to.

For what we have in Afghanistan is an unnecessary war fighting against an enemy (the Taliban) that never attacked us and where al Qaeda, which did attack us, is no longer located (presumed to be holed up in the Tribal areas of Pakistan). A country that has a hopelessly corrupt and quisling Hamid Karsai as its leader which the majority of Afghans do not support and have no allegiance. And in a country whose people are known to fiercely resist and successfully overcome all foreign invasions and colonial occupations whether it is the British, the Soviets and now the Americans. Our continued presence is absurd.

As we once were in Viet Nam, we are in a hopeless quagmire in Afghanistan. Changing the general in charge in Afghanistan is tantamount to changing the guard at Buckingham Palace. At least the ceremony in London is worth watching; rather meaningless but enjoyable. The ceremony anointing Petraeus as our new commander in Afghanistan was solemn and distressing. It just meant the continuation of more unnecessary death and dying for us and the Afghans.

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