Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Betrayed By the Obama in Your Head

it seems that filmmaker Michael Moore has joined the chorus of people claiming that they've been betrayed if Barack Obama sends more troops to Afghanistan.

Well, Mike, as well as anonymous ex-Marine who began haranguing my wife and daughter at a gas station over their Obama bumper sticker, I don't know who you thought was running, but this is the guy I pulled the lever for:

"The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as President, I won't. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps, and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights." -Barack Obama, July 15, 2008

I've said since the beginnings of Dubbya's Wacky Iraqi Adventure that we needed to be concentrating on Afghanistan and that Iraq was going to be a long and costly diversion. And part of the reason I backed Barack Obama in the first place was that he felt the same way, and wasn't afraid to say so:

We need more resources in Afghanistan. I have been arguing for this since 2002, when I said that we should finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban instead of going into Iraq. I have called for at least two additional combat brigades to support our efforts there. "-Barack Obama, June 18, 2008

You can have disagreements as to whether or not this buildup is a good idea. Personally, I'm waiting to see the rest of the plan. By which I mean, "30,000 troops to do what, exactly?"

But for people to be weeping and wailing "OMG we are betrayed!" because Obama's sending more troops simply ignores history or worse, rewrites it to suit some image in your head. Leave that for the wingnuts.

UPDATE: The Rude Pundit provides even more Obama quotes on sending more troops to Afghanistan.


Andi said...

Thanks. I had some concerns that I was remembering an alternate universe so the quotes really help. I had remembered from the start that Obama's concern was that we'd gone into Afghanistan and then abandoned it as "problem solved" so we could go "liberate" Iraq. As, er, um, was mine, despite an almost lifelong concern about US military intervention. The day the Taliban destroyed the statues was the day I knew the country was lost unless someone did something. Sounds naive? I bet it does but that was the mark for me that the people in that country - esp the women - were in need of help. But HEY! We went, we saw, we left.
I really would love it most of all if we could withdraw all our troops. I'm a pacifist. I live in a dream world too, one where the military isn't needed. But your reality check about what this President IS, what he SAID, what is REAL is truly valuable.

JD Rhoades said...

Andi, I'd love to live in that world, too. But we don't. And in that world we have to at least try and clean out the safe havens where the people who actually attacked us live. And we need to be leaning heavily on Pakistan to do the same.

Pogonip said...

The problem, of course, is HOW do you win in Afghanistan. IIRC, there have been attempts over the last 1000 or more years, but no success stories. I am all in favor of clearing out all nests of vipers, but at what cost? Would it require scorching and salting the earth? How can they deal with the caves? I hope someone has the answers.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, J.D., for this post. Sadly, I think that there is a large segment of 'the left' that was poised to be 'disappointed' in Obama no matter what he did; it's no surprise to me that those people are now shocked that their imaginary Batman has left the building.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Do people still take Michael Moore seriously?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Dana King said...

Thanks, JD. I remember Obama saying exactly that during the campaign. I'm more concerned, as you are, with what exactly those extra troops are going to go. What's the plan? Throwing bodies at the situation isn't going to help. (Grim pun intended.)

I saw a quote last week about "finish[ing] the job." Sounded so much like what we heard during Vietnam that my skin crawled.

(My Word Verification is "unkil." Creepy.)

Peter Rozovsky said...

Yeah, talk of finishing the job reminds me of Bush talking about victory. What is the job? And what would constitute victory?
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

John McFetridge said...

Victory will be when women in Afghanistan have the same rights as men.

jph62 said...

John McFetridge, Do you seriously want somebody's son to come home with a huge dent in his head so that Afghan women will have the same rights as Afghan men?
Are you nuts?


John McFetridge said...

JPH62, no, of course not (and I'm Canadian, it could be my son, we've had troops in Afghanistan for years).

My phrasing may have been a little flippant, but equal rights for all individuals isn't a small thing and has a huge (maybe the biggest) effect on societies.

What I was really saying was that victory will be when Afghanistan is no longer a threat, when it's a "normal" democratic country, when all the citizens have individual rights and there's the proper rule of law.

And I know what a difficult task that is.

Gerard Saylor said...

I'm split on this. More troops and helicopters are needed to get anything done. But, what is the goal at the end of that 18 months. And will the Taliban and AQ just lay low until the draw down?

Afghanistan is a huge and varied country. How do you help the government pull it together into a cohesive whole?