Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Barack's War

How many American soldiers have "won" Purple Hearts since Barack won his Nobel Peace Prize? How many American soldiers have died serving their "Peaceful" President? About 300 since he won that meaningless award.

How many nuclear weapons have been dismantled since then? How has North Korea behaved? How have things been going in Israel/Palestine/Canaan lately? The only thing Barack has done to foster World Peace is to ensure that China never declares war on the US, for fear that their debts wouldn't get repaid.

The US isn't "losing" in Afghanistan. They're not being pushed back, driven out, and the causalities haven't been atrociously high. Then again, June saw the most US combat deaths than any of the other 106 months of the war. And October of '09, the month that saw Barack awarded the NPP, was the second bloodiest.

But the US isn't winning, either. How can I tell? Don't you think you'd be hearing Barack and the Democrats gloating if we were winning?

There's nothing stronger than a soldier of the United States armed forces. But the War in Afghanistan is more about public relations than strength of arms. It's more about not being offensive, as opposed to taking the offensive. It's more about tact than attacking. One or two more Wars like this one, and the US Army will attach Human Resource representatives to every platoon.

Would the Allies have defeated the Nazis if they were simultaneously trying to win the hearts and minds of the German people?

Barack should understand unwinnable situations by now. That's what his Healthcare Reform campaign turned into. And that's the kind of wall he was up against with Afghanistan.

He couldn't just pull out, and look like a soft President. After all, even Liberals have been supportive of our operations in Afghanistan. And it's much harder than you think to pull out of a war that hasn't yet been clearly won or lost. You get people asking "What did we sacrifice so much for over the last 8 years?" You get mocked for "cutting and running."

He couldn't just leave things as they were, and allow US soldiers to die as our grip on the region slipped away.

He can't stay there forever, either. No President could.

So he implemented a surge, threw out an arbitrary deadline, and turned an unwinnable political situation into one that he could not lose. He'll be lauded for trying, then lauded for either victory or for extracting us from the War.

He also fired a General for making fun of him in Rolling Stone. An interesting move for a Commander in Chief, to remove a theater commander for remarks made in a publication with this as the cover:

God Bless America!

It's much easier to pull out of a war after fully committing your resources to it and coming up short. People will get tired, and only the most sadistic of Hawks will want to "finish the job." But most people will realize that the job cannot be completed. They'll support a withdrawal.

Or he'll win. And won't that stick in the craw of Conservatives? Don't get me wrong, Barack definitely wants to win in Afghanistan. He's not just playing a game of political chess with the lives of American soldiers. But imagine if by some miracle the US wins this War. Come November, the Republicans wouldn't stand a chance in any contested election for any office.

But the US cannot win this particular War. It reminds me of so many other Wars in history, where even strategic triumph wouldn't result in any real victory. The American Revolution, for instance. Even if the lobsterbacks had annihilated the Continental Army, they'd have to govern America as subjugated territories, not amenable colonies. Washington's armies could have been crushed, but the anti-British sentiment in the 13 colonies was unbeatable.

And no, I'm not comparing the Taliban to the Continental Congress. But the situations are similar. To the average person living in the Afghan countryside, the US must seem like just one of many factions vying for dominance in the most geographically fucked up corners of the world. That tribesman doesn't care about 9/11, or his right to vote for some corrupt politicians. He just wants to feed his family. He'll support anyone that helps him do that, fight anyone that prevents him, and ignore anyone that does neither.

If enough of the people of Afghanistan wanted the Taliban out, they'd be out. The Army and Marines might physically be capable of destroying them, but not the ideas that have kept them in power. Nor can any military action CREATE a desirable government. And any obliteration of the Taliban would have to include the obliteration of many Afghan civilians. Warfare is an inexact science, which is why it should only be attempted when the victory is worth the total cost.

Meanwhile, North Korea, an actual threat to our interests and our allies, is getting bolder. Our armed forces and our people have grown weary of war, and I'm concerned that even if it becomes necessary on the Korean peninsula, the Nobel laureate will be either unwilling or unable to commit US forces to their 3rd war in 10 years.

I'll reluctantly defend Barack for his War in Afghanistan. But I'll also ferociously attack anyone who purports him to be a champion of peace.

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