Monday, November 30, 2009

Bush's Third Term Continues

Obama, the Peace Candidate. McCain is Bush's Third Term. Endless War. So many things I saw on bumper stickers 13 months ago. So many similar sentiments expressed by the left's bloggers. So much in the world of foreign policy that looks just as it would have had McCain won, or had Bush just stayed in office. Iraq was a quagmire and a failed war 13 months ago. We're still there. They hate us because we intervene, said the Left. Are we loved now for our intervention? Afghanistan is the real quagmire, as we should have learned from the Soviet experience, but we're getting ourselves in deeper. From CNN's report:
On Tuesday, Obama will travel to West Point, New York, to announce his decision on a request by McChrystal for up to 40,000 additional troops.

Obama is expected to send more than 30,000 U.S. troops and seek further troop commitments from NATO allies as part of a counterinsurgency strategy to wipe out al Qaeda elements and stabilize the country while training Afghan forces.

Ok, anti-war, anti-Bush folks. How does this rub you? How's that Change (tm) thing working out for you? Or, is it okay because your guy is leading the way?


Doug said...

Gotta say, the escalation in Afghanistan does leave me with a sense of "can't win; don't try."

I still think Obama is better than Bush or Cheney, but in more respects than I'd like, that's a difference in degree, not kind. We're getting escalation in Afghanistan. Goldman Sachs still seems to be running the financial show. We're teetering on the edge of getting health care reform that's so watered down and twisted around that even I am starting to suspect it will do more harm than good.

And yet, the alternative is a return to 1994 where guys like Steve Buyer, Bob Barr, and Newt Gingrich were ascendant and thinking that impeaching the President was a pretty good way to spend our time. Or to 2002 when we got into this full metal neocon business and Cheney was doing shit we're still trying to unearth.

The shit sandwich tastes better with half a loaf than with no bread at all.

Ringing endorsement, eh?

Doghouse Riley said...

Candidate Obama promised "to finish the fight with al-Qaeda". He famously promised to use hot pursuit into Pakistan. He voted to fund the Iraq war every chance he got. His "peace candidate" credentials consisted of one soapbox moment in Chicago in 2002 (endlessly replayed), where he opened his comments by denying he was a pacifist, before contrasting the Good War in Afghanistan with the bad one planned for Iraq.

People had the opportunity to vote for Paul, or Kucinich; they didn't. If this is a "gotcha" it's eighteen months tardy. Though I must say that in the circles I run in "The Left" is bitterly opposed to Surge II. When it comes to voting, Hope and Wishful Thinking are at least as protected as Greed and Self-Interest.

And apologies for my lack of conscientiousness, but did you support the war as constituted in 2001? What's changed about the mission since?

Mike Kole said...

Ah, the "good war" in Afghanistan. Ahem.

I wasn't blogging in 2001, but I was doing a radio show, and just to be sure I remembered my positions, I listened to the recordings from the shows immediately after 9-11-2001. Here were my thoughts:

1. Who do we go after? Who did this? It wasn't a nation invading. Moreover, the perpetrators *did* incinerate themselves when they flew into the Towers.

2. If we're going to invade a nation, even though that would appear to be an incorrect solution, make sure its a Constitutional war for a change, beginning with a declaration of war from the Congress.

As time passed, we got into war with Iraq. I was totally opposed.

Then, we got into war with Afghanistan. I had some pretty hot debates with fellow libertarian callers. Some believed this was the 'right war'. I disagreed. I still wasn't convinced that the target was correct. Afghanistan may well have been the launching point for the 9-11 attacks, and may well be a placed that harbored terrorists, but I still didn't believe that warranted an invasion, and I was damn sure it didn't warrant an occupation. I was not sold on any particular solution. It was one of those things that I accepted that I didn't know enough to call for a specific solution, but did feel I knew enough to discount a few solutions floating around.

My thoughts about Afghanistan were very much colored by the Soviet experience. I recall the widely slung critique that Iraq would become a quagmire. I was much more concerned about Afghanistan in that regard, nodding to the Soviet experience.

What has changed in my thinking? Nothing. I'm still not convinced of any "justice" coming out of either as a response to 9-11. Nor do I believe we are safer as a result. I was opposed to both of the wars. I remain so. Bush started them. Obama continues them. They look like peers to me.