Thursday, December 03, 2009

War is Hell

Of all the times I've wanted to be Barack Obama's girlfriend, mini-me or clone, this week would not be one of them.

Let's discuss Afghanistan, and let's be honest: there is no way to a clear victory in that country. Old Man McCain offered his supremely helpful input that 'success is the real exit strategy." Thanks, Uncle Cranky Pants, but what the hell does that MEAN? How many American lives to achieve "success"? And what is your definition of success? Some have said it would be a return to conditions pre-Soviet involvement. Um, that was decades ago--and predating the Taleban and al-Qaeda. So I'm going to say that's well-nigh impossible in this post-9/11 era. Others say that success means getting out right now before that con man Karzai can swindle us out of one more US dollar. Also moronic. Others have ignored success metrics and instead slammed Obama's speech, counting the number of times he used the word "I" (44) and the word "victory" (0). Most moronic of all. First of all, counting the number of "I's" in a speech and equating them to narcissism is juvenile. (I am so awesome vs. I am delighted to honor these Special Olympians today = same number of "I's" = vastly different speech). Secondly, no president in his right mind is going to go on record promising, vowing or claiming "victory" in fucking AFGHANISTAN. You're familiar with Afghanistan? Warlords. Tribes. A constant state of civil war since the 1970's. Bordered by Pakistan (the real place we need to clean up, but--again--how the hell do you do that?), China, Turkmenistan, et. al. A country in which the West has meddled and fiddled since the 19th century. This is not a country that lends itself to "victory" in a way that Americans like to see it, with ticker tape parades and hot GIs kissing sassy dames at train stations. Afghanistan is work--and plenty of it. So you'll forgive me for being glad Obama didn't don a flight suit and declare mission accomplished to appease the Cheneyites of America.

My personal opinion is that Obama's plan has pissed off enough people on both sides that it is probably somewhat the way to go. When Michael Moore and Bill Ayers essentially disown you for becoming a "war president?" You're probably doing something right. When Robert Kagan, himself no stranger to cheerleading surges, says that Obama's decision is a lonely one, and one that he (Kagan) would not know how to make? You know you're probably doing something right.


Geoff said...

I can only imagine what McCain and the other Republicans are saying about Canada's exit strategy.

Provided that they even remember that our soldiers have been there the whole time.

Afghanistan is a mess, and there's no denying it. Our exit strategy pins a firm date in 2011, as decided by parliament vote.

Success? This is one of those situations that's in such a moral gray area that even the word success is convoluted and nearly meaningless. We've deposed a government and replaced it with a democracy that's already shot through with corruption. We've taken a country and shaken it apart, and attempted to rebuild it from the ground up.

"Success," as it could be imagined, will only become apparent long after we're gone, troop surges or no. Either the house of cards stands, or it topples over again.

St said...

Someone on Twitter said that the time table gives us a chance to hold him accountable in 2012. That's ballsy.