Archive for December, 2009

“”Officials Stress Long U.S Stay In Afghanistan (TIMES, 12/7/09)

December 7, 2009

          Well, that didn’t take long! Less than a week after the U.S commander-in-chief announced an exit strategy from a quagmire, his top advisors repudiated it. Plenty of U.S troops will be in Afghanistan as late as the 2012 presidential election.

           Will Obama be another one-term president? Will he even get the nomination from his own party? When will other Democratic presidential wannabes show that wan and hungry look? What a mess!

          Future historians will surely note how the deck was stacked against Obama, a candidate of the pathetic major party coming onto the scene after the shadow presidency of the despicable one. Hopefully they will be fair in their evaluation of his time in office.

          Meanwhile, it will be wiggle, wiggle, squirm, squirm, yet the grip of the quagmire remains firm.

“Inside the Situation Room: How a War Plan Evolved” by Peter Baker (TIMES, 12/6/09)

December 7, 2009

          Prominently printed on the front page of the Sunday edition, this news story certainly has the elements of a good drama, especially the quote concluding the piece that the President was “totally at peace.” One could almost hear the strains of “God Bless America” in the background.

          However, a lot of us are not at peace with the “forward strategy” in Afghanistan and think Obama had the opportunity of changing his original call that the war there is necessary. That isn’t so; the war can be terminated.

          To the reporter’s credit, he included the following sentence which reveals the probable motive for this mistaken policy: “Mr. Obama ran for president supportive of the so-called good war in Afghanistan and vowing to send more troops, but he talked about it primarily as a way of attacking Republicans for diverting resources to Iraq, which he described as a war of choice.” Precisely so! It was a weak-kneed compromise by which he put himself into a corner.

          The President had the opportunity to extricate himself from that blunder, but he missed it. Therefore, it makes little difference how much he sweated in doing so, or that he is at peace with himself. The fact is the USA is not on the path to resolving the problem of Afghanistan.

“The Analytic Mode” by David Brooks (TIMES, 12/4/09)

December 7, 2009

          The fiction of despair would have been a better title for the maunderings of David Brooks. Nowhere is this clearer than in his assertion that “all problems and policies have already been worked by a thousand hands and the clay is mostly dry.”

          Contrary to this conservative nonsense, genuine change can be made NOW. Obama doesn’t have to wallow in the quagmire made by the shadow presidency. After all, humans did leave their original cave dwellings, invented the wheel, etc., etc.

          Obama could have implemented an exit strategy for Afghanistan but he lacked the courage to do so. Instead, we got another miserable compromise that will avail the USA nothing but only postpone the inevitable showdown. Some poor bastard may even be clinging to the runners of the last helicopter out of Kabul.

          When a conservative columnist like Brooks, who attempts to prettify his reactionary views with the modifier “moderate,” supports Obama’s “analytic mode,” you know the president has made the wrong decision.

“Obama Team Defends Policy on Afghanistan” (TIMES, 12/3/09)

December 7, 2009

          The two-party minuet remains a dance of death to democracy in the USA. With each passing day U.S “democracy” continues to crumble in an atmosphere of empty words and false promises that confuse and anger our people. 

          Nevertheless, my congratulations to Elizabeth Bumiller’s revelation that there is no deadline for the withdrawal from Afghanistan. If the situation looks bad for a pullout in July 2011, the U.S forces will remain in place. That means Obama spoke out of both sides of his mouth.

          Obama is standing in quicksand up to his knees. The more he wiggles from side to side, the more he sinks into the mush of a Blue Dog policy. When that  arrogant war minister, Donald H. Rumsfield, boasted that he didn’t do quagmires, he was wrong.

          After that sorry speech at West Point, what will Obama’s next move be?

“Afghanistan Pullout (TIMES, 12/2/09)”

December 7, 2009

          Obama’s claim that the U.S commitment to Afghanistan is not open-ended isn’t quite accurate because his intention to withdraw beginning in July 2011 is not firm. Any U.S withdrawal is contingent on the “conditions on the ground”; i.e., a pullout will be delayed if the Taliban forces are maintaining a stiff resistance. Therefore, it is possible that U.S forces will not begin withdrawing in July 2011. 

          Obama painted himself in to a corner when he claimed that the war in Afghanistan was “a necessary one.” He was no doubt motivated by the desire to ease the rightwing reaction to his intention of pulling out of Iraq, the unnecessary war, but paint himself into a corner he did.

         The idea of so many politicians that they always have wiggle room can be a dangerous notion. A this-for-that tradeoff (stay in Afghanistan, withdraw from Iraq) is often shortsighted. 

          The price of such poor vision may soon be measured by the casualty figures. To date, 919 American service members “have died as part of te Afghan war and related operations.” What will that figure be in July 2011?

“A Tragic Mistake” by Bob Herbert and “Clear, Hold and Duct Tape” by David Brooks (TIMES, 12/1/09)

December 7, 2009

          The two columns were positioned correctly on the op-ed page, Herbert’s on the left side and Brook’s on the right, which says something for the editor.

          The superiority of Herbert’s position to the one held by Brooks seems obvious to me, but I’m a lefty who has been calling for a withdrawal from both Afghanistan and Iraq for a long time.

           Yet Brooks’ penultimate paragraph is so mushy as to make even the strongest stomach turn, and Obama is NOT “taking brave political risks.” Quite the contrary, he is capitulating to the superpatriots responsible for the quagmire that Afghanistan is. 

          And little talk of the financial cost of this disaster by a self-styled “moderate conservative” who counts every dollar spent on health care and other welfare services because such aid might undermine the “dynamism” of the “traditional” U.S social system.

         The death toll in Iraq today was listed as 4357 and it is fast approaching one thousand in Afghanistan. Brooks has not given even a moderate guess of what those figures will be when “COIN-lite” runs its course.

          With moderate conservatives like Brooks, do the warhawks need neocons?

“The Jobs Imperative” (TIMES, 11/30/09)

December 7, 2009

          It is good that Paul Krugman has joined the call to the Obama administration to pay more attention to creating more jobs because workers cannot wait much longer for “the economic recovery to trickle down to” them.

          However, I am disturbed by his assertion that “the recession is probably over in a technical sense.” First, when did it become a “recession”? It seems like a depression and is being called a “Great Recession” by the media. Second,what does he mean by claiming this economic downturn is “over in a technical sense”? Finally, doesn’t the dire unemployment situation contradict the notion that the economy is recovering?

          In times like these, we need straight talk from the TIMES.