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On Afghanistan, Listen to Your Base, Obama & End the War

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A news story from the UK is suggesting that Obama has a "rogue general" on his hands. That can't be good.

I think I can sympathize with Obama here. How frustrating must it have been to have to call Gen. Stanley McChrystal to an "awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid" after a blunt speech he gave in London which angered and shocked his advisers.

Obama probably wanted to enjoy the moment of anticipation with Oprah and his wife, Michelle Obama, and yet he found himself in a situation where he had to call a general who in the past had been accused of running a secret camp that tortured prisoners and had been accused of shamefully covering up Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death.

Well, the Olympic bid was not awarded to Chicago and Obama returned to the United States with a war going on that could have been brought to an end months ago if he had not been swayed by policymakers and generals that there is in fact something America can gain from waging war in Afghanistan.

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Obama should begin to make decisions based on what the people think of this war. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted less than a month ago shows fifty- one percent of adults think "the war in Afghanistan isn't worth fighting" while 46 percent think it is.

This fifty-one percent no doubt consists of members of his base, which, despite his failures and shortcomings so far in terms of progressive politics, still want him to succeed (whatever that means). They stand ready to give Obama support when he makes decisions that may lead to a backlash from Republicans and others (like a decision to end the war in Afghanistan).

Sadly, as reported by The Observer in the UK, the Obama Administration will "brace" for a surge of protest instead of embracing it, instead of molding it into political capital like Republicans might do if it was their ilk who were out protesting. Obama will prefer to pretend groups like Military Families Speak Out, Win Without War, Code Pink, United For Peace and Justice and Iraq Veterans Against the War do not exist and are not trying to shape or impact what America does in Afghanistan.

As far as history goes, countries that continue to fight or wage war in Afghanistan have typically found themselves faced with the reality that they will have to engage in something tantamount to perpetual war. Private military contractors may favor this because of the long-term profits it offers, but individuals in the military on the their third, fourth, or fifth tour of duties and the American people do not support the continued ravaging and tearing apart of the country of Afghanistan which is a result of our actions and presence in the country.

Obama must know that Americans are not going to sit here and let a general tell Obama that we need to pursue a war in Afghanistan that may require up to 500,000 more troops in five years.

Americans from his base are going to become increasingly disgruntled with Obama if he goes ahead and gives McChrystal what he wants and further develops new strategy for continuing it, increases troops, and expands the scope of the war.

The base already has reason to be upset after Obama sold out to insurance and pharmaceutical companies on health care reform (which is now health insurance reform). Continuing this war just proves he is more interested in expanding America's interests than attending to issues of humanity and the American people.

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Consider that the Obama Administration cares little about the billions of dollars that get poured into a conflict in Afghanistan (and Pakistan) but worries tremendously about the cost of a public option. What does that say about those in power?

The administration is willing to stay in Afghanistan and fight and pay Taliban to not blow up bridges, but it is not willing to set up a single-payer health care system that could truly fix the burden on Americans and their families.

The number one cause of home foreclosure in America is medical bills. Foreclosures are happening, on average, once every seven seconds in America. Yet, the masters of war continue to play their game of RISK in Afghanistan and put in peril the lives of millions of innocent people.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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