Sunday, December 20, 2009

War Birds

George Bush and his kettle of hawks must be feeling pretty smug about now. They were taking the rap for having gotten us into a no-win quagmire. Their ill-conceived invasion of the Middle East had turned into a monstrous albatross. The Chicken Hawk-in-Chief was stuck with terrible legacy.

Then along comes President Obama with this terrific speech on Afghanistan. He was eloquent, thoughtful and thorough. His speechwriters really strutted their stuff. And with that speech, he took that dead rotting bird and hung it around his own neck.

General McChrystal and his cohorts were able to sell the President on their testosterone-fueled fantasies about taming Afghanistan. Our Middle East foreign policy was hijacked by the military/industrial vultures and national security theorists who play war games with other people's lives and money.

Their foolhardy attempt to conquer Afghanistan has nothing to do with enhancing our national security. It’s an American intrusion into a civil war they don’t understand and can’t use military force to control.

This new troop deployment and its huge cost will have no impact on the insignificant number of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. It won’t keep the Taliban influence from growing. And unless we’re prepared to dump billions more into the illegitimate Afghan government, it won’t make any significant contribution to rebuilding Afghanistan.

Most independent analysts believe it will take at least 10 years to turn Afghanistan's illiterate and corrupt security forces into anything resembling competency. And cost us three to four billion dollars a year to do it.

The President’s contention that Afghanistan is a "war of necessity" is false. This is a war of his choosing.

I had hoped we elected a leader who would reject the same old interventionist mindset of those who profit from permanent war. But his Afghan policy shows he’s not that leader. He's a hawk in dove's feathers.

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