Xeni Jardin at 10:10 am Mon, Nov 30, 2009
ADVERTISE AT BOING BOING!
Has anyone, anywhere ever defined ‘finish the job’?
what do you mean by ‘defined’, Hank?
Right. Or just define what was the ‘job’?
It doesn’t appear that it includes catching bin Laden, putting Al-Quaeda out of commission or actually reducing the terrorist threat.
C’mon people! This job has to be finished! How else are we going to get to all that lovely copper, zinc, silver, gold etc if we don’t control Southern Afghanistan? http://www.bgs.ac.uk/AfghanMinerals/docs/Copper_A4.pdf Why do you think the Russians kept at it for so long? If the US pulls out, then the Chinese will get in there! This cannot be allowed to happen!
pitching it as a way to reduce heroin supply is probably a more voter-friendly strategy. I would guess it causes greater hardship in the west than the mad mullahs in their caves ever have.
Has anyone in the Obama administration even bothered to read McGeorge Bundy’s, ” Lessons Learned, the Path to War in Vietnam”. Obama is making a colossal strategic error by doubling down on a failed strategy and corrupt Afghan Government. Unlike President Kennedy in 1961, he in his naivete, has bought whole cloth the strategy of the Dogs of War, his National Security team. In 1961, with the Pentagon, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Service Chiefs, CIA, State, and his own National Security Chief urging him to commit American combat forces to stabilize Vietnam, Kennedy decided not to follow their advice and rather amp other kinds of assistance. His view was that the South Vietnamese had to own their own problem for success – not the US. Further, he wasn’t inclined to support another weak government with American combat forces. Sound familiar….??? Most importantly, he listened to his NS team, especially the Pentagon and military with great skepticism. After all these were the same people who had urged the Bay of Pigs as a cake walk. Later Johnson, when faced with a similar situation, and not wanting to appear a coward, accepted the advice and doubled down, ignoring the humiliating defeat of the French and before them the Chinese ouster . The rest is history as they say. I’m sure if I live long enough Obama’s decision may prove to be the same.
Before becoming VP, Biden thought our policies there would create hatred, and pushed to have schools opened up to really help the country out. (Source: my wife.) Hopefully, that is part of the job.
@Hank, aye, there’s the rub.
I dunno; it might help. It probably would’ve really helped 8 years ago, but Rumsfeld preferred to let bin Laden go free and Bush was just itching for a chance to invade Iraq.
It indeed involves finishing what you started. A job my country has been doing for yours since 2002.
… and there’s the exact reason we should have just left you holding the bag years ago.
Boo. I know that “giving up” on a war is career suicide for politicians of any party but I would rather Obama was a one-term President who made sound decisions than a two-term President who staged a full-scale reenactment of Vietnam.
Well, at least in Iraq American troops deposed a dictator instead of propping one up. The same can’t be said for Vietnam. Popular opinion and politics (among Vietnamese) seems a very large portion of why U.S. involvement there was such a fruitless task. If you keep a standing army in place to support an unpopular government in a foreign country, “until peace is restored”, you’re eventually left with the realization that the troops stationed overseas are just the outsourced boot-heel of a martial-law dictatorship.
In Iraq we’re not quite so clearly supporting a cause the citizens will reject, so myself I’m optimistic the results will at least be less devastating to everyone involved, and there is some chance of a relatively positive outcome.
It’s FUBAR, for sure, and using military to do a job that is essentially police work (albeit with military-caliber violence levels) is always going to be a failure in some substantial ways… but this isn’t as bad as Vietnam was, even if it’s similar.
We may have made the same sort of mistake twice, but it seems we’ve at least learned enough of a lesson to do far better damage control after making it, and we’ve screwed the pooch a lot less zealously without all the pomp and jingoism that comes with lashing out at communism. Without that, the potential for change in action and policy is a bit more lenient.
“Well, at least in Iraq American troops deposed a dictator instead of propping one up. The same can’t be said for Vietnam.”
Or Afghanistan, for that matter, if you take the recent ‘election’ as any indication.
Well, at least in Iraq American troops deposed a dictator instead of propping one up. The same can’t be said for Vietnam.
My “Vietnam” comparison was in relation to this latest escalation in Afghanistan, not Iraq (though that war was a terrible idea too.)
One thing that keeps getting lost in the discussion about Afghanistan is that as terrible and despotic as they may be, the Taliban is not our enemy. (Or at least they weren’t until we invaded their country.) The Taliban never attacked the U.S. or our allies, and it’s now clear that they probably didn’t have the ability to “hand over” Bin Laden and the rest of Al Quaeda if they’d wanted to. Sure you could make a case for the war on human rights grounds, but then why didn’t we invade Darfur?
I certainly think we screwed the pooch in both countries, for what it’s worth… and I can definitely see how Afghanistan could be fairly called Vietnam II: Slow Learner’s Edition
I doubt the average person in Afghanistan is at all thankful for what we’ve done to their lives or the least bit receptive of the people we’re throwing our weight behind… so yes, this is easily another glaring instance of us trying to win people’s support by dropping bombs on them.
It’s an inept sort of tyranny, nothing more.
Assuming that staying out there is OK in principle (I know!), it’s the vagueness of it all is what’s hard to accept. At the risk of falling victim to the same moral disease that so clearly afflicted Blair and co, I hope they actually have an idea of who and what to attack, some strategy for defeating the taliban rather than just “securing” parts of Afghanistan until something else happens.
I read in the papers that the fighting in pakistan offers an opportunity to hit the fabled “mountainous tribal regions” from both sides. Maybe this is the clincher for Obama — the possibility of actually scoring a straight-up military victory and going home before it bubbles up again.
Maybe once the pipeline is in place and secure, “the job will be finished.”
Anon. @ 12
“On the other hand, if it means that less canadians soldiers will die because Americans will be targets, this is the only silver lining this canadian sees.”
That’s a real great attitude buddy. I see no way to justify applauding the deaths of US soldiers stuck running patrol. I’m so impressed with you, you heartless douche.
Take any opinion on whether it’s appropriate to reup on Afg, but I protest the lack of disemvowelment on that comment. Boo and hiss and for shame.
I’m pretty sure he said during the campaign that he was planning on getting out of Iraq and focusing on Afghanistan.
Also, as a side point, the Taliban government started this when they refused to extradite or at least stand aside when we needed to pull Bin Laden et al in on charges stemming from the murder of 3000 people. None of this would have happened if they had realized that it was in no one’s best interest for much of the world to think that they and many Muslims were crazed psychopaths. But no, they had to do it the hard way.
Then throw in a moronic president who used this as a chance to settle an old score, and the new president has been handed an impossible plate to clear.
I’m a Quaker and a pacifist, so any war anywhere is bad news as far as I’m concerned. But in Obama’s defense I have two things to say: 1) this is exactly what he said he was going to do during the campaign, and 2) he is making an address to the nation tomorrow night, which he has stated will include a description of the exit strategy. I might recommend waiting to complain about vagueness until he’s actually had an opportunity to explain his thoughts on the matter. Complaining beforehand is empty (albeit trendy) cynicism.
Most estimates place the Taliban numbers at less than a thousand (1000). This sucks. This really sucks. On the other hand, if it means that less canadians soldiers will die because Americans will be targets, this is the only silver lining this canadian sees.
Clearly the act of a peace loving man who well deserves his Nobel prize!
When they bombed Serbia, did they try to occupy the country? After 2 decades supporting the mujahideen that we such a pain to the Soviet puppet Afghan govt, couldn’t they see what will happen when they try to put up their own puppets?
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