Peace Prize and Obama’s Afghan Quagmire
Obama may want to avoid talking too much about the Afghan crisis, but if he offers some sort of olive rranch to the Taliban it will be good news. Ideally I hope he will state that he would appreciate if countries like France or Russia offer to mediate, if the Taliban would agree, but this might be asking too much. I think he won’t do, and I think shouldn’t do. is to state that he will move back to secure areas of Afghanistan and fight from there like much of the peace movement was suggesting before his early speech on sending 30,000 more troops.
Obama’s earlier Afghanistan War speech devastated me, but I still think he is a positive hope for peace. What upset me in that earlier address is that nowhere did he offer the olive branch to the entire al Qaeda that he did to the ones willing to side with the Americans. Clearly there is a crisis with US policy in Afghanistan. Those who hoped that Obama would have instead pull back to defend strategic areas, have forgotten (or the ones speaking out have forgotten) all the good Obama did to drastically reduced tensions with Iran and with Russia, and since the world was furious at the US over Bush’s economic meltdown, at least he prevented the rest of the world from economically getting even with the US. He also cooled economic feuds between other countries, whether or not his attempts to cool tension between Israel and its neighbors will get anywhere.
So now we have the Nobel prize ceremony, and some of the US antiwar movement are in a very disagreeable mood. Please people, please join me in urging Obama to negotiate, and join me in celebrating, and pushing Obama at the same time.
Negotiations over US withdrawal, could lead to the Taliban distancing themselves from al Qaeda, even under certain circumstances arresting them, like Iran has done. Maybe some Muslim country could surround Kabul for a month or two to give time for anger that might lead to retaliations to cool.
The choice to escalate or withdraw to strategic areas wasn’t the choice the US peace movement thought. Most Americans are happy with Iraq, but militants are terrified that it will end like the US’s almost 60 years of bases in South Korea, with the difference that Muslims continue to be dying, but like in South Korea, the US continuing to spread its culture around. I think it is shameful that the peace movement called withdrawal to securing strategic areas to be peace or a step in the direction of peace. Does anyone remember the early Vietnam Protest signs “Negotiate Now?”
As less and less ordinary Americans paid attention to Iraq, the more Nidal Hassan did. The thought of permanent US presence in Iraq is one of the major things that set him off, before the Fort Hood rampage. Bin Laden, if anyone remembers was upset, before 9/11, that the Saudi Government seemed willing to have a permanent US presence on the sacred Muslim soil that of Mecca. Bush did withdraw US troops in 2003 like bin Laden wanted. Somehow Americans imagine that al Qaeda members are day in and day out, dreaming of large attacking America even though, in most cases, it would lead to massive US retaliation. The al Qaeda are, for the most part, just happy to encourage the US to spend huge military dollars while heading toward bankruptcy, as long as we keep spending for the military, with drastically increased expenditure, they will likely be smug on having no need to risk a terror attack.
Most wars end with a negotiated agreement. World War II, didn’t, because the Allies demanded unconditional surrender. The Vietnam War ended with the US leaving by helicopter from on top of the US embassy. It the Afghan war ends because Congress stops appropriating funds in face of a real depression, there is a real danger that al Qaeda since it is more interested in permanent war than victory, will attack the withdrawing US forces unless the Taliban can stop them. If the attacks on withdrawing US forces are gross enough the US might turn around and get back in, which would be ok with al Qaeda since al Qaeda’s goal is permanent war more than it is victory.
I think we need to put a lot of pressure on Obama, but it should be in the spirit of helping him do a good job, not in defeating him. I would like to see Congress put Negotiate First, mandates in future war supplemental funds.
When tensions between the US and Syria were strong during the Bush Administration, Senators
John Kerry Bill Nelson went to Assad to negotiate with him. So did Representatives Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Kucinich John Murtha and Keith Ellison. I would like to see at least one of them go to the Taliban to negotiate directly with them. It might be more possible to meet with the Taliban in Paris or Japan or some country not at war.
The anti-Afghan-War movement in Congress is small but it is broad. At one end is Dennis Kucinich and at the other end Senator Arlen Specter, who agrees with Obama that the al Qaeda is extremely dangerous, but believes the war in Afghanistan only helps empower them. Specter is much more likely to change Obama’s mind. I think it would be smart of the peace movement to stop referring to Kucinich as the leader of the Anti-Afghan War movement, and instead insist that it has to leaders, one representing the progressive wing, Kucinich and the other Senator Specter, representing the conservative wing of the peace movement.
Specter is already in an interesting reelection primary fight with Joe Sesek who is more liberal than Specter on social issues but who unlike Specter supports the war in Afghanistan.
I discuss this in my earlier posting. In that posting I also wrote a potential Nobel speech that Obama could make, it might to helpful to look at it, before watching what Obama does say. If Obama says something good about ending the war in Afghanistan it might be subtle. If you look at my strong suggestion, it might be easier to note his more subtle points. For that suggested speech, and more info on the opportunity Specter presents, go to,
I am Richard Kane at,