Sunday, November 29, 2009

Obama's 30000 mistakes

Do not be alarmed. You have not accidentally stumbled across some ridiculous top 30000 list written by the great minds of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. I am not going to spew out 30000 ways that Barack Obama is trying to kill your grandma and rob your paycheck. I'll leave that kind of hackish nonsense to the triumvirate of stupidity that dominate FoxNews. Instead, this is one last plea for President Obama to save his administration and his legacy from making the biggest mistake of his first term: calling for the deployment of 30000 additional American soldiers to Afghanistan.

As Jonathan Schell details in his fantastic article in the November 30th issue of The Nation, there were plenty of things that Johnson and his team knew going into the Vietnam deployments that, had the people known, should have changed the course of history in that unfortunate fiasco. It is all too likely that Obama's team of advisors are seeing a similarly pessimistic outcome from this Afghan troop deployment but for some reason, believe that it is the only way to defend against the salacious accusations that he is "soft on terror."

Democrats need to dig deep, find their balls (or lady balls where appropriate) and present a real alternative to the hawkish war mongering that has dominated this country for far too long. The most courageous step President Obama could take today, contrary to what Glenn "the weeper" Beck says, would be to withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan and urge our NATO allies to do the same.

By removing foreign soldiers from Afghanistan, President Obama would deal a momentous blow to Al Qaeda and other "terrorist" recruiting in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The vast majority of our "enemies" in those countries are either nationalists who are opposed to foreign occupation, mercenaries attacking the NATO forces for pay, or a mix of the two. If we removed the foreign occupier for the region then both the motivation, and the money (read Aram Roston's piece in the same issue of The Nation) would dry up.

Certainly, if someone proposes a full withdrawal some ill informed but well meaning person might scream "but what of the women?" Or someone else who recognizes that little progress has been made but still sees some women attending school and being set free from the captivity of the home might say "we can't just abandon those women who we have told to go to school." Sadly, that is exactly what we must do. Not just for our sake, or the sake of our soldiers, but for those women as well. By propping up a corrupt regime that passes laws that legalize rape and legitimize the oppression of Afghan women we are hurting the women more than most Westerners realize. Malalai Joya, who has spoken out against the current puppet government does not see any benefit for women in NATO's continued presence. As she says "Democracy never comes by occupation. You cannot give it with cluster bombs."

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