Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Afghanistan

Those of you who have been dropping round here for the last few years know that I supported Barack Obama in his run for the Presidency. And that I didn't think he would be able to do anywhere near as much as he promised once he got the job. People who expected that he would, I said, were going to be disappointed.

I still support this administration, especially given the other choice, but that speech on the Afghan war last night was not a home run. In trying to please everybody, I'm guessing that he didn't much please anybody. Too hawkish for the doves, too dovish for the hawks, and too confusing for those in the middle, I think.

More than one empire has foundered trying to bend that hard land to their ends -- and here again, Santayana's Dictum holds sway -- if the Mongols, the British, and the Russians couldn't pull it off, why do we think we can? There seems to be a certain arrogance in that view that reminds me of a straight guy hitting on a woman he knows is a lesbian: Oh, sure, but I'm not like those other guys.

Many lives and much treasure have been spent in that part of the world, and in the end, we aren't going to have it our way. Just not gonna happen.

You step stupid, sometimes you get away with it. Sometimes, karma is a bitch that sucks you dry. What was Bush's War is now Obama's War, and I don't like his chances any more than I did when the Previous Occupant was running things. What defines "victory" has gotten really narrow.

Vegitus offered it: Those who wish peace should prepare for war. The road to the former is sometimes through the latter. But this war, and the one next door to it were and are more stupid than most, and I think that's saying something, since war is about the stupidest thing men do to each other.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course every once in awhile you get to sleep with the lesbians...

Joe said...

Choosing a direction for Afghanistan is impossible. At some point we'll have to declare victory and leave.

Scott said...

The Mongols did pull it off.

But I don't want the U.S. to model it's foreign policy on the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, you know? Big genetic changes in 12th century central Asia, because everywhere he went everybody died. I really hope that's not us.

redcode said...

I believe it's highly improbable that he'll win in Afghanistan, but not impossible. I do believe that America's methods are too much brute force and not enough finesse (i.e., intelligence.) You can't fight a tactic, you can only fight the people who employ it. Terrorism is too effective a tactic to believe that you can wipe it out. President Reagan made that mistake with the war on drugs.

AlanL said...

You forgot Alexander the Great

Bobbe Edmonds said...

Both Alexander and the Khan did what was necessary back then to subjugate Afghanistan: Utterly crush the army and the populace in a scorched-earth tactic. Alexander a little less so, but he still was much more brutal than we are now.

Not that I'm advocating brutality. I'm with Joe on this one, we either pave the whole country over & turn it into a parking lot, or cut bait and paddle off. "Winning" in Afghanistan has become a not-funny metaphor for total failure. The Russians must be laughing their asses off right now, while watching Rambo III on DVD.