By now we all realize that Obama was always going to increase our presence in Afghanistan. He campaigned on it, he even mentioned it in the debates. If you thought he was going to just pull out immediately you simply weren’t paying attention.
But that’s not new, that’s been all over the blogs / web.
But now we have his rationale for escalation. And no one is buying it.
However I’d like to point out there are people saying the plan is wrong for the wrong reasons. I’d like to take issue with Glenn Greenwald and his response to the speech found here.
Many Democrats (the self-proclaimed "liberal hawks") love to support American wars on the self-righteous ground that we’re going to drop enough Freedom Bombs to liberate millions and invade other countries in order to re-make other peoples’ cultures for their own good.
I consider myself a "Liberal hawk". I don’t mind using force for nation building if that’s really the goal. But this isn’t a valid reason to be against the strategy I feel.
I would feel much more at ease if we had a viable partner in this exercise. But this is not the case. Karzai is a corrupt warlord who stole an election. He’s not a partner we can work with. I’m not sure that makes the whole "Liberal hawk" ideology moot. I’m not really sure it has anything to do with the Liberal hawk viewpoint. Cenk Unger of the young turks was on Olbermann last night after the speech and his point was the fact that Karzai is corrupt is the problem. No tangents about the Liberal hawks, just a pure statement of fact.
But indeed this was not Obama’s rationale. the rationale was "maybe someday they might attack us again, so we need to deal with it now" I fail to see how that is the Liberal hawk policy.
I’ve written many times before why, on security grounds alone, I oppose escalation and even ongoing occupation. The greatest cause of Terrorism is our endless wars, invasions, bombings, occupations and other means of interfering in the Muslim world, and our escalation will only fuel the anti-American hatred and resentment that — as even our own Government has recognized — is the primary fuel of the threat we’re supposedly trying to arrest. For that reason, Obama’s escalation is, in my view, more likely to subvert rather than promote the security goals he cites to justify it.
I cannot disagree with this strongly enough. The primary fuel of the threat we’re facing is religion, pure and simple. That’s not to say that all religions are Al-qadia, but we cannot deny that their main motivation is religion.
It’s hard to get someone to blow themselves up if they don’t think they’re headed towards eternal reward. Remember, the 9/11 attackers were sure they were doing a morally just thing. they were under orders from their god.
I’m not attempting to say we’re not making it worse either. As a "Liberal Hawk" as Glenn puts so ugly a name on it I’m disgusted with the current strategy. If we’re not going to do it for real we should get out now. And yeah, if we’re doing it half assed (I use the dirty language for force, because that’s really what it is) that’s going to cause some problems because they don’t believe us.
But to infer that we wouldn’t be hated or under attack if we did nothing is foolish. And it’s not a good way to critizise this decision.
But if Obama’s approach — reflective of the Republican "realists" to whom he seems to listen most — slays the pervasive, preening "liberal hawk" fantasy that we invade and bomb other countries in order to help them, that will at least be an important value. With some extremely rare historical exceptions, governments start and wage wars in order to benefit themselves, not to "help" the people in the countries which are being invaded and bombed. We’ve proven so many times as to place it beyond dispute that we’re more than willing to support and empower foreign leaders who do our bidding regardless of how they treat their own citizens. That didn’t change when we had a swaggering, cowboy-hat-wearing, evangelical moralizer in the Oval Office, and it’s not going to change just because he’s been replaced by a charming, nice, eloquent, East-Coast-educated Democrat
More of the "Liberal Hawk" bashing. My only real response is to bring up Africa and wonder if Glenn doesn’t want us to go and try and help say ..Sudan. Should we not intervene in acts of Genocide? If he thinks we should his "liberal hawk" bashing is hypocritical at best.
But there are REAL criticisms to be lobbed at Obama. The above is smoke and mirrors.
1) Insistance on ending the "drug trade" in Afghanistan. It’s one you hear all the time right? They’re growing poppies therefore they must be evil. Problem is not much else grows in Afghanistan. After decades of war it’s hard to grow anything, but they can definately grow poppies and make decent money. But what’s wrong with stopping the drug trade?
Well thing is we need poppy plants. We use them to make legal painkillers used in hospitals. the US currently imports them from Turkey. Afghanistan desperately needs money to begin rebuilding the orchards and such to grow different crops. But instead of buying and using the poppies for legal purposes, we burn the fields and make the farmers go to the enemy.
2) 30,000 troops can do what in 18 months? What will the extra troops do that current levels cannot? It hasn’t been answered yet.
3) If Pakistan is the problem why are we bothering with Afghanistan. Why do we surge in the country that’s not the main problem? What are we actually doing ab out Pakistan, we didn’t get any answers.
4) "fake" timetable. The language used for the withdrawl was extremely vauge. And he even left himself open to "conditions on the ground" excuse for pushing the date back.
There are real things about this strategy to not like, but please let us not ignore them and push the fake reasons as the real ones.