by CWO3 Tom Barnes, USCG (Ret.)
In this morning’s Washington Post, we find an article entitled A test for the blocks needed to rebuild a nation that discusses our ongoing nation-building efforts in western and central Asia, specifically now Afghanistan.
President Obama will “discuss” this with us tonight from West Point I am sure. Here are the opening paragraphs of the article.
“The revised strategy for Afghanistan that President Obama will announce Tuesday is expected to focus new resources on training Afghan security forces and shoring up the central government, an approach certain to revive a debate about the possibilities and the limits of nation-building.
From Somalia, Cambodia, East Timor and the Balkans in the 1990s to Iraq today, world powers have at best a mixed record when it comes to establishing functional, stable governments in countries devastated by war. The efforts have been long and costly, tangible results often hard to measure, and support for a prolonged involvement difficult to maintain.
Congressional leaders have already voiced deep skepticism about pouring billions of more dollars into an American-led war that so far has shown little progress toward making Afghanistan self-sustaining.”
I don’t need to tell you Mr. President that a majority of the American people do not want this war. I am wondering, however, does it matter? Apparently not.
Another article, 34,000 troops will be sent to Afghanistan, tells us a few more details about the President’s plan and also says that he is asking allies for more troopers.
Here is an excerpt.
“President Obama will outline Tuesday his intention to send an additional 34,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials and diplomatic sources briefed Monday as Obama began informing allies of his plan.
The new deployments, along with 22,000 troops he authorized early this year, would bring the total U.S. force in Afghanistan to more than 100,000, more than half of which will have been sent to the war zone by Obama.”
Dana Milbank has written an article entitled The perils of being commander in chief and here is an excerpt.
“First, the good news: President Obama will not be wearing a flight suit when he addresses the cadets at West Point on Tuesday night. Nor will he wear a bomber jacket with the presidential seal on the chest, nor even, the White House promises, a windbreaker with the word ARMY in big letters.
“You can count on no military garb,” assures Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director.
Mission Accomplished? Not entirely.
One of the common complaints of George W. Bush’s presidency was his tendency to politicize the military and turn troops into props. The man seemed to make more appearances before military audiences than Bob Hope did. But now Obama is antagonizing many in his party with an expected announcement that he is sending more troops to Afghanistan, and, to rub it in, he’s making the announcement at one of Bush’s favorite military locations: the U.S. Military Academy at West Point — the very birthplace, seven years ago, of the Bush Doctrine.
Obama’s fondness for audiences in uniform is not yet in the same category as his predecessor’s. Beyond the infamous “Top Gun” landing aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, and the Thanksgiving turkey he served to troops in Iraq, Bush routinely used military-themed backdrops for his speeches: fighter jets, camouflage nets, American flags, military bands and, best of all, thousands of troops applauding or shouting “Hoo-ah” at the right moments.
Still, Obama’s flirtation with military imagery should be of concern to his allies on the left, who are already unhappy with the hawkish direction his Afghanistan policy has taken…”
Mr. President, the majority of the American people do not want this war escalation to go forward. Does it matter to any President anymore? Has the appeal of the “unified executive” that was the brainchild of the ultra-Reich wing nuts in the Bushite days swayed you into accepting its insanity in your own Administration?
Are we the Rome of ancient days?
Are the patricians in this country now so well placed that we plebians are simply expected to do as we are told?
Must we now offer up our sons and daughters on the Altars of Mamon so that they can be killed for money and oil and mineral rights, a wealth that eludes their own families but fattens the patrician class beyond reason? Try and remember, Rome had many violent coups as a result of slave revolts.
Just try and remember.
Speaking of the patricians, the New York Times is running an article this morning about U.S. energy cartel firms finally being allowed to bid on jobs in Iraq, but at far less advantageous conditions than the Bush White House promised. The article, Oil Companies Look to the Future in Iraq, shows us that the best laid plans of mice and men……
In a story filed at 3:00 am this morning, the Times tells us in Obama to Detail Afghanistan War Expansion that we will not get a specific timetable for an exit from Afghanistan tonight from the Emporer, I am sorry, I meant “the President”. Here is an excerpt from that story.
“WASHINGTON (AP) — After months of debate, President Barack Obama will spell out a costly Afghanistan war expansion to a skeptical public Tuesday night, coupling an infusion of as many as 35,000 more troops with a vow that there will be no endless U.S. commitment. His first orders have already been made: at least one group of Marines who will be in place by Christmas.
Obama has said that he prefers ”not to hand off anything to the next president” and that his strategy will ”put us on a path toward ending the war.” But he doesn’t plan to give any more exact timetable than that Tuesday night.”
It is very hard for me to understand why I worked so very hard to place this man in “office” at this point. He is acting like a man with “divine right of kings” mentality.
This is a federal republic and the will of the people is ignored at great peril to all of us. A president stepping out on his own and acting like a king will not be suffered for long in this democracy.
Even FDR would not attempt something like this without a blatant attack from an enemy on American soil. And even today, he is godlike. I cannot imagine what his ghost is doing today in the White House. Probably rolling all over the upstairs floors in his ghostly wheel chair wondering what the hell happened to his Democratic Party.
Unless Mr. Obama has something Earth shaking to say tonight that will completely change the paradigms that all of us have been operating under since the Bushite Wars were placed in our lives, this was a bad political gamble.
Finally from the Counterpunch Blog we have this article written by Professor Gary Leupp of the History Department at Tufts Univesity entitled “A Necessary War for a Gas Pipeline, Its Obama’s War Now” and it is a very good historical background piece to the mess we are about to enter. And it just won’t be overseas. There will be civil war inside the Democratic Party now. That is inevitable.
The Democratic Party is not like the Republican Party. It is not a focused, laser-like vector that encompasses the will of the members to constantly move in the direction of free markets and expanding economies and limited government and endless, mindless, forever-expensive and expansive military expenditures for everything and anything under the sun. No, that is not who Democrats are.
The Democratic Party is a huge umbrella party encompassing populist ideas and forever enshrining the concept that the “people rule”, that their will is supreme, that the Republic belongs to them. It is made up literally of hundreds of camps and sub-camps that come together, usually reluctantly, to stand united against the powers that would otherwise swamp the will of the people.
Democrats are not easily united even under the best of times and under the best of conditions. That is because they represent so many different political points of views from so many corners of this nation so that compromise is the very basis for their existence as a Party.
This decision to vastly expand an unpopular war that is not clearly understood or supported by his own Party or the American people as a whole is a political nightmare for this president. If he is going to wage this war, it had better be a lightning war with a quick resolution and very quick exit.
Americans will not suffer a “President’s War” that goes on for more than a few months more.
The people have had enough of this constant and never end catering to the whims of the patrician class and their ever-expanding need for market manipulation at the expense of those of us who wear the leather belt of the Plebian class. The load is too heavy now.
The patricians do not serve in these wars that they manipulate and direct. They simply command action and get it from the government, regardless of the Party in the White House. The patrician class is too well connected for our democracy to be healthy. That must now end if this Republic is to survive.
Even in Rome, the patricians had to send sons into the legions to fight for her expansion. That is not happening here. They pay no price for their war mongering riches.
There will be blood in the streets if this war is not executed and ended within just a few weeks. That is my reading on this situation. Americans may be slow, but they are not idiots.
I hope Obama Satraps Maximus, Caesar in Potomac Flumen, sees this danger and makes adjustments as quickly as possible. Even the Caesars ruled only at the indulgence of the Imperial Guard.
By extending this war he may very well have made himself a lame-duck president less than a year into his first and only term of office.
Barring a completely unexpected new set of information that directly relates to our national defense in an immediate sense, about half of the American people will give little support to this President for this escalation of a senseless war. Since one out of eight of us is now on food stamps in order to eat, we are literally talking about butter vs. guns. This is never a healthy thing in a government.
Speaking from West Point in front of young cadets will be patriotic in the visual sense but slightly empty and manipulative and even goofy in the delivery and background given the context of discontent over these wars in the country now.
Caeser has now crossed the Rubicon. All of Rome now waits for the civil discord to start.
You will have to excuse me now, I have to go and find my old denim jacket with the peace signs sewn all over it. It has just been called back to active duty.