Get your war on

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Remember when the war in Afghanistan began 8 years ago?  I remember reading sarcastic cartoons on a site by David Rees called “Get Your War On.” Here are the first entries:

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Certainly something to think about given the announcement by the recent Nobel Peace Prize winner to send another 30,000 troops into Afghanistan.

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Glenn Greenwald had this to say about our President and his decision:

Comparing video clips of George Bush’s 2002 West Point speech on Afghanistan with the one Barack Obama delivered last night, Rachel Maddow argues that Obama has now embraced the fundamentals of the dreaded "Bush Doctrine":  namely, we will fight wars even in countries that are not posing any threat to us in order to prevent some future threat that may (or may not) emerge.  Rachel makes a persuasive albeit not conclusive case:  like most Obama decisions, last night he incorporated enough of every side and paid homage to conflicting principles such that it’s impossible to identify what he really believes ("civilian trials are a fundamental American value and now we’ll deny them to many detainees" is quite similar to: "Afghanistan is in our absolute vital interest and we’ll start leaving in 18 months").  He’s convinced his admirers that this is a form of noble "pragmatism" but, far more often, it appears to be a mishmash of political calculations bereft of principle and plagued by numerous internal contradictions that make it impossible to understand, let alone defend.  Everyone gets to read into it whatever they want to see.

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Michael Shedlock adds some relevant commentary of his own in his post “President Obama’s Trust Deficit”:

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Tonight as I listened to President Obama’s Speech On Afghanistan and why we need to commit more troops, I found myself asking "Where’s the trust? Where’s the credibility?"

His pledge to send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan while simultaneously declaring troop withdrawal in 18 months is bound to please no one.

Obama said "I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. … If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow."

Excuse me, but if the mission is vital to our national interest how can it possibly be correct to give a precise deadline to bring the troops home in 18 months?

Not that I am arguing for an unlimited commitment (because if it was up to me I would declare the war was won and leave), but let’s face it, if something is of "vital national interest", then deadlines are senseless.

Apparently Afghanistan is vital to our interests for the next 18 months, after which "who cares?"

Does that make any sense? The only way it can possibly make any sense is if he has no intention of leaving after 18 months unless the war is won. Given there is no mission statement, no measure of victory, and nothing but nebulous goals, there is absolutely no reason to believe the war will be won in 18 months.

Moreover, one cannot help but wonder if Obama simply does not want the rising unemployment that would undoubtedly accompany the return of all the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. If that is a possibility, then he is willing to commit troops in harm’s way, just to keep them employed.

Notice the connection between the war and jobs. Of course, the timetable Obama set out conveniently leaves him plenty of time before the run-up to the 2012 elections when he won’t want to run for re-election as a war President. In my view, this is the principal reason for the timetable – cynical political calculus.

I am with Ron Paul on this one: End the war in Afghanistan.

It doesn’t matter because we are going in. So, get your war on again, we’re doubling down on Afghanistan. The military-industrial complex wins again.

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Other commentary

Congress’s Tepid Reaction to Obama’s Afghanistan Plan – Jay Newton-Small

Obama Bets Big on Troop Surge – WSJ

Obama’s Afghanistan speech and strategy – Washington Post

Across Spectrum, Few Praise Obama’s Afghanistan Speech – Atlantic Wire

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