Democrats & Liberals Archives

Response To Afghan Speech

President Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan is a worrisome crack in his façade of “change”. He not only closed the door on being able to blame Bush for the war, he now claims responsibility for it. It is his decision to send more Americans to die for no reason in a place where any true victory is impossible.

His decision to dial up the death toll in Afghanistan shows that he has no idea of the realties that surround our presence in Afghanistan, or the Middle East. If President Obama truly wants to prove that candidate Obama wasn’t just blowing smoke up everyone’s skirts he has to make a real break from tradition; the tradition of prolonging wars ad naseum to some ambiguous unattainable end.

For someone who seemed to represent a real shift away from typical American infantile thinking to a more evolved state of logic and reason, his decision to escalate the Afghan war is evidence that he simply does not have the fortitude to stand up for what is right.

What makes President Obama’s decision even more woeful is framing any sort of timetable for exiting the war along side a troop surge. By adding more troops he is saying that more force is necessary to attain victory. But in laying out a timetable, even if it is just a vague set of endgame benchmarks, he is making the claim that the only hindrance to victory is a lack of troops. He is actually making the same decision for the same reasons and with as little logic as Bush did when he announced his “surge” in Iraq. I did not agree with Bush’s decision and I agree even less with Obama’s. What happens when the clock runs out and we haven’t “won”?

I applaud the President’s action to end the war in Iraq. It was a tragic mistake and a failure. But the Afghan war is also a failure. It was a failure at its inception because the powers that be actually thought you can fight an idea with overwhelming firepower. The president even said that we must keep pressure on our allies. But for how long? Do we hold them at bay by staying at war forever?

Unfortunately it is too late to “save” the war. We lost our chance when the person who started it treated it like a game of cowboys and Indians being played out in a backyard sandbox. The only viable option is to leave, but that opportunity has now passed. Victory in this instance is a romantic notion that only exists in the fairy tale delusion of pseudo-patriotism. I believe that the President wants to win this war for America, but as admirable as his intentions are they will be in vein. If it turns out that his strategy is successful then I will be the first to applaud him. I am elated that he at least mentioned the huge economic millstone this war is and how it directly impacts conditions here at home. But the idea that we can wrap up the war in two more years makes me wonder if he has any real handle on the situation.

If President Obama had decided to end the war today the critics who already call him a Muslim Nazi Socialist couldn’t become any more virulent in their disdain for him than they already are. He wouldn’t have lost anything and would have gained quite a lot. But now the war is his. The surge is his idea. And the blood of the troops that continue to die in a fruitless, worthless, aimless war is on his hands now.

Posted by Michael Falino at December 1, 2009 8:19 PM
Comments
Comment #291823

ITA, great article, but I bet it gets bumped off the top off the page by another writer pretty quickly. Are we at war with Pakistan too now? Because people there are starting to wonder about that. BHO mentioned Vietnam, but he might want to ponder about Cambodia a little. War is evil, and if you spread war, then you’re promoting evil. We’re going to be more involved with people whose business is growing crops that make narcotics. When will we ever learn?

Posted by: ohrealy at December 1, 2009 9:00 PM
Comment #291832

MF
To say BHO has no understanding of the conflict is simply a lie. Not reaching the same conclusions as yourself,given a considerably larger amount of information, does not make him incorrect. It does not mean that he does not attempt tp stand up for what is “right”.
No country can allow another to act as a staging area for major terrorist attacks,period.If the Talaban again gains control,that is exactly what will happen.
If the Talaban again gains control. women will again be denied education and the ability to earn a living. They will again be flogged for such crimes as showing their faces or leaving their masters homes un-escorted.
If the Talaban again gains power they will again desecrate the artworks of millenia.They will again blow up anchient Buddhas. They will again murder Christians,Buddist and Hindues. There is never likely to be some great victory parade. The victory will be denying the Talaban power over a soveriegn state. To do so will not be cheap in lives or treasure and it will not be quick. BHO gets that. He also gets that great powers do have responsibilities not only to its own but also to the world and allies.

Posted by: bills at December 1, 2009 10:37 PM
Comment #291833

I agree with the blog. I would also like to point out the Preisent Obama failed to tell us how much will this new direction cost and who will pay for it. America is staring at a trillion dollar deficit, how can we afford to spend more money on a long and unpopular war. What should be considered is going back to the idea of gaining the confidence of the Iraqi and (now) Afghan people and train their military to take over their own country. You can’t gain support and victory with brute force.

Posted by: J.D. Vail at December 1, 2009 10:52 PM
Comment #291835
Not reaching the same conclusions as yourself,given a considerably larger amount of information, does not make him incorrect. It does not mean that he does not attempt tp stand up for what is “right”.

And what did you say when you didn’t reach the same conclusions as Bush again…? What makes you think he was not attempting to stand up for what HE thought was ‘right’ but was different than what you thought?

Oh yeah, you wanted him impeached and thrown into the Hague…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 11:15 PM
Comment #291837
If the Talaban again gains control. women will again be denied education and the ability to earn a living. They will again be flogged for such crimes as showing their faces or leaving their masters homes un-escorted.

That doesn’t seem to be motivation enough for us to interfere in other countries with the same situation, or even THIS country before 9/11.

If the Talaban again gains power they will again desecrate the artworks of millenia.They will again blow up anchient Buddhas. They will again murder Christians,Buddist and Hindues.

And all of the things that Saddam did wasn’t enough for us to be in Iraq, but now it is enough to be in Afghanistan? Saddam was starving millions of people each year, torturing and killing dissedents, some with chemical weapons, but the Taliban is destroying some artwork so we need to send in another 30,000 troops?

I’m intrigued…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 1, 2009 11:18 PM
Comment #291852

President Obama is trying to do the right thing. I thought we was a bit tentative, but it took courage to stand up to the lefties.

It is interesting that when a smart guy like President Obama gets better informed he starts to act in ways that annoy the left wing. Maybe actual understanding is what drives someone to the right.

There is that old saying that if you are not a leftist when you are twenty, you have no heart, but if you are still a leftist when you are forty, you have no brain. I know this is not always true. I have known some smart leftists over forty and some very compassionate young rightists. But the general idea of the saying is sound. As you learn more, your opinions change.

As President Obama got better informed he made different choices than the ones he advocated as a less informed candidate. I only hope he has the courage to carry out what he knows is right.

Posted by: Christine at December 2, 2009 12:25 AM
Comment #291853

Or perhaps he’s too weak to change the course of the machine and just isn’t capable of being the one to break the cycle. Just a thought…

Posted by: Mike Falino at December 2, 2009 12:26 AM
Comment #291859

Rhinehold,

And all of the things that Saddam did wasn’t enough for us to be in Iraq, but now it is enough to be in Afghanistan? Saddam was starving millions of people each year, torturing and killing dissedents, some with chemical weapons, but the Taliban is destroying some artwork so we need to send in another 30,000 troops?

I’m intrigued…

Ummm, 9-11…….remember that one? Jeez.

Christine,

The only problem with the better informed theory is that Obama campaigned on this. Refocusing on Afghanistan and winding down Iraq. Remember?

I guess we need to up the dosage in the old folks home again.

Posted by: gergle at December 2, 2009 12:56 AM
Comment #291866

It’s telling that the first complaint made about Obama’s decision is that it closes the door on being able to blame Bush and means that he (a Democrat) is now responsible for it.

Democrats not being able to blame Bush? Democrats having to take responsibiliy? Big problems indeed. I’m not sure how Democrats can even survive under such conditions.

Posted by: Phillip at December 2, 2009 1:23 AM
Comment #291871

gergle
Thanks. Many forget that the move on Afghanistan recieved near complete support from all sides of the political spectrum. They were involved in a direct attack on the US. And focusing on Afghanistan was indeed part of BHO’s election platform. Another grim promise kept.

RH
Just can’t bring youself to give BHO any support for anything,it appears.If Bush belongs in this discussion at all it to remark at his incredible incompetence in dividing forces and focus. This war has lasted longer than WW2 already.We were there for 5 years under Bush.If you wish to continue defending him have a ball but do not expect to be taken seriously.

Christine
This “lefty” supports BHO’s and I am far from alone. This was part of his campaign platform.

Phillip

Where do you get that stuff. It was Democrats that got us through WW2. BHO by the very fact of running for president accepted responsibility to take action. Blame Bush? Not just him. Whats Cheny’s bitch with this? Not enough billion dollar contracts for Haliburton?

Unlike the Iraq invasion,the war in Afghanistan is NOT imperialist agression. This is very different that our usual pattern. I know the neo-cons have a great deal of trouble understanding the concept of a war with no big pay off in oil or territory but perhaps they should get used to a country actually trying to do the right thing.

Posted by: bills at December 2, 2009 6:04 AM
Comment #291873

Phillip, I was just making a point that the war is now Obama’s and Obama’s alone. You’re sarcasm is out of line because you are presuming that Democrats are the only party who refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

Posted by: mike falino at December 2, 2009 7:28 AM
Comment #291874

Bills, I agree that the Afghan war is at least different in the sense that it isn’t an example of American trying to rule the world. It doesn’t make this war any more possible to “win”, but it is an important distinction.

Posted by: mike falino at December 2, 2009 7:30 AM
Comment #291875

Bill and Gergle

Good. If I was mistaken the left will support the war in Afghanistan, although don’t we already hear a lot of complaining?

You guy are honest. I suspect many others were not. They supported Afghanistan because they wanted to stick it to Bush in Iraq. They really didn’t support doing what we need to win in Afghanistan, now especially because it is the strategy we used to succeed in Iraq.

Posted by: Christine at December 2, 2009 7:30 AM
Comment #291877
Ummm, 9-11…….remember that one? Jeez.

Apparently not, I wasn’t aware that Afghanistan attacked us on 9/11, nor did the Taliban. We removed them from power because they wouldn’t give up Osama and were protecting him.

Is that why we are still there? Why are we still there? What is ‘winning’ this war? Aren’t we just an occupying force at this time?

Will we not stop until every last stinking Talibani is dead?

I guess I would just like to see people asking and getting answers to these questions, the same ones people were rightfully asking about Iraq…

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 8:35 AM
Comment #291879
Just can’t bring youself to give BHO any support for anything,it appears.

I have no problem giving him support when I think he deserves it, but I am not understanding why we are still in Afghanistan at this time. Perhaps YOU can answer that one for me?

This war has lasted longer than WW2 already.

Yup, why are we still there?

We were there for 5 years under Bush.If you wish to continue defending him have a ball but do not expect to be taken seriously.

There is a difference between defending Bush for being in Afghanistan OR Iraq still (I have been calling for the end of both engagements since 2005) and acknowledging that *BUSH* thought he was doing the right thing and didn’t have a nefarious alternative motive.

Bush thought he was right, Obama thinks he is right. I think they are both wrong, but apparently questioning Bush and coming up with all kinds of ‘motives’ is ok, but questioning Obama is wrong?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 8:42 AM
Comment #291889

First, I think that doing anything in either Iraq or Afghanistan that is getting out now is a mistake. Neither of these wars were wise to start in the first place. However, these wars were fought in such an unwise fashion by the Bush administration that there no good options left to Obama, especially in Afghanistan. If we leave now, we leave an illegitimate and corrupt government in place. We leave anyone who doesn’t conform to the insane standards of the Taliban open to the horrors that those self-righteous thugs will subject them to. We leave a country that will be just as much of a haven for extremist groups like Al Qaeda as it was in 2001. If we ramp up our military efforts we may kill some more of these thugs, we may close off the escape route for the thugs that are in Pakistan from coming back if the Pakistani government decides to actually do something about them. Though we will also kill many more innocent Afghan civilians and many more US soldiers. In the end, I don’t think that we can leave the Afghan people in a much better state than they are in now no matter what we do. It is awful, it is sad no matter how you slice it.

I hope Obama is right and this will give the Afghan people a fighting chance to make something better for themselves than they have now or than they have had in the past. I hoped Bush’s wars would have yielded a more free, more democratic, more stable Iraq and Afghanistan but was skeptical. I wouldn’t want to be in Obama’s position having to make this incredibly tough choice of bad options. I am skeptical of the path he has chosen. I don’t think he made this choice for politics, to look tough, or because he was forced to. I think he made this choice because he thought it was the best of the bad choices in front of him. I just disagree.

Rhinehold - you are making a false analogy in this increase in force in Afghanistan to George W. Bush’s ill informed decision to start a war in Iraq. Blundering into an optional war without fully considering the ramifications (Bush’s Iraq decision) is a lot different than trying to make the best out of an awful situation handed to him by the previous administration are not comparable.

Who really needs to shut his fat, bloated, troglodyte mouth is Dick Cheney. He is, as much as anyone responsible, for dropping the ball in Afghanistan creating the situation that we have now. He has been disastrously wrong so many times on Middle East policy that it is hard to imagine a scenario that is more wrong than he has been. He failed the American people, the Afghan people, and the Iraqi people. He “dithered” on Afghanistan for 6 years while it got worse because he was focused on a stupid war in Iraq. He is perhaps one of only 3 or 4 people in the world who no longer deserves an opinion in this matter.

Posted by: tcsned at December 2, 2009 11:01 AM
Comment #291892
you are making a false analogy

I am making no analogy like you suggest. My observation is that it is a little disingenuous to say that Obama is doing what he thinks is right but Bush wasn’t doing what he thought was right.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 2, 2009 11:19 AM
Comment #291896

Rhinehold - then I agree with you on that point. If Bush started wars with anything other than the purest intentions he belongs in jail. I hope no one would be so careless with human lives as to do that. This doesn’t make his choices wise or correct, which they weren’t.

Posted by: tcsned at December 2, 2009 11:28 AM
Comment #291906

But now the war is his. The surge is his idea. And the blood of the troops that continue to die in a fruitless, worthless, aimless war is on his hands now.
Posted by Michael Falino at December 1, 2009 08:19 PM

Very true Michael…and it will be interesting to watch the polls to see if his support increases or wanes with this decision.

Frankly, none of us knows how this will turn out and based upon our recent war history (since Korea) I believe we won’t achieve any kind of victory. More death, more lost treasure, and more disunity here in the US is sure to follow.

There will be no parades and no celebrating when we finally disengage and our country is further weakened and humiliated.

At this point I must support our President and pray for God’s help.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2009 1:48 PM
Comment #291911

RF, Obama defined our exit strategy openly for the public. He did not define it as victory in the sense of Germany or Japan in WWII.

When you say you don’t believe we will achieve any kind of victory in Afghanistan, what do YOU mean by victory?

Victory in the WWII sense is not possible in Afghanistan. To achieve that kind of victory would involve nation building which neither the U.S. nor the U.N. nations can afford in this time of our world history. Which is why Obama’s objectives are so laudably pragmatic and fine tuned to achieve security for the U.S. as the outcome of our effort their, by establishing power in Afghanistan independent of us, that is capable of keeping the Taliban in check, and al-Queda hunted and impotent in Afghanistan.

It is not about politics, or, fantasies of WWII type victories and nation building. It is about what is doable, practical, and affordable. And that is why Obama’s decision continues to be applauded around the globe. Even France’s President who previously said no more French troops for Afghanistan, has indicated he may now be willing to rethink that decision.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2009 3:00 PM
Comment #291918

Mr. Remer wrote; “…achieve security for the U.S. as the outcome of our effort their, by establishing power in Afghanistan independent of us, that is capable of keeping the Taliban in check, and al-Queda hunted and impotent in Afghanistan.”

Yes, that would be a victory and I don’t believe it is likely. And, I don’t believe Obama thinks that’s possible either. He intends to withdraw in mid 2011 and that is paramount to defeat. Does anyone in their right mind believe we can accomplish the goals you outlined using his timetable. Wishful thinking won’t “geterdone”.

His plan is political posturing…trying to please every one and no one. If one intends to win they go in with a clear objective and an irresistible force with no “timetable” for defeat.

Sending more troops pleases some on the right and in the middle and calling for a defined pullout pleases (I think) those on the left. Let’s see…isn’t mid July in 2011 right in the middle of the next presidential race? If succeeding he will get the nomination, if failing, and withdrawing, he will endear himself to the left which he must have to stand a chance at being reelected.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2009 3:36 PM
Comment #291919

christine - just can’t stop your constant unwavering love for bush can you?

as far as your personal attacks on dems. well, can’t really put it in print w/o it being taken down in 30 seconds.

obama is brainless? i will take the dems brainless over an “educated” repub any day of the week.

and as far as afghan - listen to the man’s words. he has always said afghan is the place to be. he didn’t wake up on 1-21-09 and say it, he was campaigning for it for 2 years.

and you write for watchblog? wow - really just scrapping the bottom of the barrel now to find repub supporters.

Posted by: bluebuss at December 2, 2009 3:47 PM
Comment #291925

RF said: “And, I don’t believe Obama thinks that’s possible either.”

Ah, now it is you who claims to be able to read the mind of Obama, like Bush could see the soul of Putin in his beautiful eyes.

RF is full of illogical projections writing: “His plan is political posturing…trying to please every one and no one.”

There is no political gain in what you project, RF. Only the illogical structure in your projection.

In case you hadn’t noticed, RF, our military is stretched dangerously thin. We don’t have the manpower for a WWII type victory in Afghanistan, nor the years of drain on our economy and budgets.

Do you really believe the Russians didn’t want to win, and were just pussyfooting around there? Must be, by the reasoning of your current comments. And they are illogical and lack a basis in reality and the realm of the plausible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 2, 2009 6:01 PM
Comment #291926

bluebuss, your comment to Christine violates our rules for participation, in several ways. Your privileges here are suspended.

Posted by: WatchBlog Manager at December 2, 2009 6:03 PM
Comment #291932

Mr. Remer wrote; “Ah, now it is you who claims to be able to read the mind of Obama, like Bush could see the soul of Putin in his beautiful eyes.”

Unlike others, I listen to what the man says and measure it against what is prudent. Can you honestly tell me Mr. Remer that you believe an additional force of 30 thousand plus whatever our allies furnish (I have heard around 8,000), with this full force not due to be deployed there until mid 2010, that in one year this force can accomplish all that Mr. Obama has described in his plan?

Yes, we are stretched thin. Do we really need our forces in Japan, Germany, and other peaceful places around the planet? Of course not. A President with the will to win the goals Obama described would pull these forces and go in with an irresistible force and clean up that hell-hole quickly. Or, just withdraw and become known as a defeatist president. Oh wait…that wouldn’t be politically popular except among the libs.

I honestly believe that this was merely a political move by Obama and that he cares not a whit for our men or our national treasure. He is a purely political animal with an ability to speak well but no conscience to lead him to decisions that benefit us and the world.

We have watched as this man bows and scrapes before foreign potentates and thugs. And, with all his anti American speech making around the world he has not come home with a single result that is beneficial.

All his wonderful (in the mind of some) oratory in the campaign about dealing with Iran, Korea, Russia, China and others has come to naught. The man did well doling out public money in Chicago and that is where and to what he should return.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 2, 2009 7:22 PM
Comment #291963

Royal Flush asked: “Can you honestly tell me Mr. Remer that you believe an additional force of 30 thousand plus whatever our allies furnish (I have heard around 8,000), with this full force not due to be deployed there until mid 2010, that in one year this force can accomplish all that Mr. Obama has described in his plan?”

My answer, Royal Flush, is this. I served 3.5 years in the Army, leaving as an E-5 medic and psychiatric technician. Being college educated, I am aware of what I don’t know, and have not studied in depth, military science being among them.

I voted for Obama to maximize the military science resources at his disposal in coming to a decision as to the best course of action amongst a set of all bad and poor ones regarding Afghanistan, which would achieve the best balance of security for the U.S. at the least waste of American resources. He is privy to vastly better information and expertise than I am on this subject, and will trust my vote for him until he proves that trust is unwarranted.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 3, 2009 2:31 AM
Comment #291976

Christine,

Frankly, I don’t care if something that works comes from the right or left.

I’m not sure who the “they” you are referring to is, or if “they” are the same groups. There are peaceniks who believe that love is the answer and we should simply unilaterally disarm. Obama isn’t a peacenik, nor are most “lefties”.

Posted by: gergle at December 3, 2009 9:15 AM
Comment #291980

One of the most ludicrous things I heard out of Dick Cheney’s mouth was when he told Matt Lauer that the reason why they had not put more troops in Afghanistan was that things were going great until our awesome successes in Iraq caused the insurgents there to go to Afghanistan to fight us there. So he’s saying that Sunni insurgents magically transformed into Taliban insurgents and magically transported themselves to Afghanistan? Has he looked at a map? It’s not like these two countries have a common border. What, did they walk across Iran? Is there a secret tunnel? This man has zero credibility on anything. Is there anyone out there who still believes anything this man says?

Posted by: tcsned at December 3, 2009 10:35 AM
Comment #291988

Thank you Mr. Remer for your response. Like you, I served in the US Army being drafted in 1963. And, like you, I am not a military expert and rely on our professionals to make these hard decisions. I understand the faith you have placed in Mr. Obama our CIC.

I hope that his plan is successful and that would be a wonderful result. I believe it is just pollyannish to believe all this can be accomplished with 30 to 40 thousand more troops in such a short period of time. There is no historical record of such action that would lend credence to it.

It will benefit Mr. Obama and our military that our congress will, I believe, fully support this action with bipartisan approval and at least for awhile, our nation will be united in this effort. We have not had the benefit of unity in our military efforts for some time. Perhaps a show of unity will encourage our allies and discourage our enemies. At the very least, it will be good for the nation to unite behind the effort and stop the constant bickering for a short period of time.

Posted by: Royal Flush at December 3, 2009 12:01 PM
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