Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama and Afghanistan

This could be the BIG and fatal mistake of the Obama administration!
by Charlie Leck

His failure to get what he wanted and promised us on health care reform will certainly be a major part of the Obama legacy. This alone may make his reelection impossible.

But, like presidents before him, a nasty and unnecessary war is what will doom him. The President has taken the bait and has been hooked into the hopeless and tragic war in Afghanistan. It is no longer George Bush’s war. Now, it is Barack Obama’s war.

And now, the war issue threatens to cream our current promising and talented President. A few weeks ago I wrote here about the hopelessness of this current war (Snagged or Snarled in an Unwinnable War).

One would think that history cannot be ignored. It has been.

War brought Lyndon Johnson’s Presidency down. It did the same to Richard Nixon. It destroyed George W. Bush.

Recently the President asked Congress to allow him to send more troops to Afghanistan.

“Hooray,” cheered all the Republican members of Congress.

“Wait just a minute,” howled the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a Democrat. This Senator knows how to read a tea leaf – or at least public sentiment. Public support for the war is declining dramatically. This doesn’t come as a big surprise to anyone who follows contemporary political history. We are supposed to hear a speech today, in which this Senator (Carl Levin, of Michigan) will express grave doubts about deepening America’s involvement in this tragic war.

What is the major complaint? It has to do with mission. Are we involved in another war without a clearly stated mission? When one does that, in either love or war, it is difficult to find end points. When there are no goals and purposes to fulfill, how does one decide the end has come? If you'll remember, we went into Afghanistan to get Osam bin Laden. Now we're there for reasons even God probably doesn't know. If I were in Congress, considering the President's request for more troops, I'd demand that he explain his precise mission for this war and what events would trigger the return of all our troops.

The Senator from Michigan carries great street cred! His abilities and knowledge on military matters are admired by Senators on both sides of the aisle.

Over in the House, the Speaker herself has warned the President that he will face significant opposition to any request for more troops.

“I don’t think there is a great deal of support for sending more troops to Afghanistan in the country or in Congress,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters on Wednesday.

The President has recognized that he’s in a hornet’s nest and he’s decided to delay his requests until he can build up more political support for what he wants to do.

In the meantime, polls show that public sentiment for supporting the war is declining rapidly.

There is clear evidence of a split in the Democratic Party. The progressives are getting snubbed on health care and now they feel neglected on the Afghanistan issue as well. This is a huge wing of the party we’re talking about and, without support from this group, the President’s productivity is seriously wounded or, perhaps, destroyed.

There are plenty of Democrats who are starting to wonder about President Obama’s persuasive abilities. In this case, it’s difficult to be persuasive when you’re wrong!

Late addition to this blog
After putting this blog to bed and scheduling its posting, I came across this extremely thoughtful column by Robert Scheer on Alternet: Obama's Quagmire Looks a Lot like Vietnam! Perhaps you should read it.

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