Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama's Lethal Afghan Cocktail: Conservative Scorn & Liberal Bile

As feared, President Obama is upping the ante in Afghanistan by sending 30,000 additional troops on a fool's errand with some vague mutterings about an exit strategy from a conflict that was lost almost as soon as it was declared because boots, resources and attention were diverted to Iraq.

Looking back on those wars and the first Gulf War, it is apparent that conservative Republicans (are there any other kind?) are really good at talking the saber rattling talk but really bad when it comes to using those sabers effectively. In the case of the first Gulf War, that meant getting the job done and not letting Saddam Hussein off the hook because what had been a cakewalk might get a little dicey on the dusty road to Baghdad.

So the question then becomes whether those selfsame conservatives support Obama since he is now doing exactly what they demanded? Of course not.

Obama has doggedly pursued an non-partisan and non-ideological course on Afghanistan for naught.

This is because in yet another stunning instance of group amnesia, Republicans are blaming him for what is entirely George Bush's fault and as Dick Cheney warns will pile on the scorn if the situation on the ground gets worse, which it most assuredly will. Then there is the bile of the liberals who helped elect Obama and are screaming blue-blooded murder because they correctly feel that they've been betrayed.

The first big takeaway from all of this is that Afghanistan is a lose-lose situation for
the president and America because in the end the war will be a bloody failure by any standard, let alone Obama's apparent view that security can be handed over to the Afghan army given a few more troops and a little more time.

The second is that an unwinnable war may sink Obama's domestic agenda, as well.

* * * *
The Innertubes are crackling over a report commissioned by Senator John Kerry that articulates in the clearest manner yet that had the search for Osama bin Laden in Tora Tora early in the Afghan war not been so half assed, the leader of Al Qaeda probably could have been killed or captured.

Well . . . yes. But aside from the report being a timely reminder of how totally the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld troika screwed things up, The Bearded One just doesn't seem to matter much anymore.

The Taliban are resurgent and the Pakistanis are up to their usual tricks, so the game on the ground in Afghanistan probably would be little different today with or out OBL.

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