Friday, June 18, 2010


By Ivan G. Goldman

All the bad news out of the Gulf of Mexico is masking another series of awful facts developing on the ground in Afghanistan that could put Rush Limbaugh and Co. over the top, making Barack Obama a one-term president.

Obama’s frightfully imbecilic Afghanistan policy is slowly fashioning him into a 21st century Richard Nixon. Both men inherited wars from their predecessors that they could have extricated themselves from at the outset of their terms, but neither had the guts. In our topsy-turvy politics it’s easier to ride a mindless war policy downhill toward disaster than it is to slam on the brakes.

Nixon, like Obama, tried escalation for awhile, turning the Air Force loose on Cambodia and bombing the hell out of a jungle filled with innocents in hopes that some of the ordnance would strike the enemy and disrupt his supply lines. Obama has upped his ante from approximately 35,000 troops to almost three times that amount plus lots and lots of extremely expensive private contractors doing jobs that used to be done by people in uniform. And casualties are climbing, with the U.S. death rate now approaching two lives a day.

Eventually Nixon, crippled by Watergate, began to disengage from his war under the cloak of “Vietnamization.” Still, we lost approximately 20,000 U.S. lives during his turn at the wheel. All for nothing.

The Nixonites used to put out the same kind of blather we’re hearing from Obama and Company. Really meaningless crap. If we’re to believe this Administration, the corrupt, blundering Hamid Karzai, a disturbed personality and a hopeless liar, will lead the Afghan people toward democracy. It’s just possible Americans will accept that incredible whopper for awhile, but tell it to the Afghans, who’ve watched this guy up close for eight years already.

We watched Bush for eight years. How many people at the end of his second term would believe he could suddenly turn into a fine leader making wise decisions at every turn? See what I mean? It’s all ridiculous insulting propaganda, junk food for foolish or preoccupied minds. Only one out of ten Afghan police recruits can read. Yet we’re supposed to spend billions and billions turning it into a Central Asian Nebraska? Don’t hold your breath.

Our poor troops on the ground are supposed to convince the Afghans that we’re going to stay. They’re not dumb enough to believe that either. Because at some point we will leave, and when we do, whether it’s tomorrow or ten thousand U.S. lives from now, the result will be the same.

It would be nice to civilize Afghanistan and bring it peace and democracy. But even if those goals were possible, the price would be much too high. The time to win there was right after Nine-Eleven, when we had Bin Laden trapped. But most intelligence people believe he’s been across the border in Pakistan for years. If we pursue wars wherever Al Qaeda establishes a safe house for a while we’d now be at war with the United Kingdom and Germany, among other countries.

Where do you think those 100,000 troops would do us more good? Fighting a stupid fight in Afghanistan or cleaning up the Gulf State beaches? I rest my case.

My recent novel Exit Blue (Black Heron; 2010) is available at Amazon and elsewhere.

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