Sunday, March 29, 2009

Afganistan - Is Obama Another American “Cowboy?”

Barack Obama - Houston Chronicle

The Arab Press is weighing in on Barack Obama’s proposal to increase troops in Afghanistan in an interesting article that compares Afghanistan to the Viet Nam War – the analysis draws some stunning parallels, the most significant thesis being that American’s will, once again, be fighting against an ideology, which proved to play a significant part in the Viet Nam Saga.
The Washington Post reports today, that Obama will be seeking NATO support for an increased US presence in Afghanistan, however, on March 10th, when Vice President Biden visited NATO leaders regarding the addition of 17,000 US Troops in that theater, the reception was one of "wait and see" - European members have ruled out sending more troops to Afghanistan, rather suggested there may be other ways to assist the effort.

Obama appears conflicted - he offered an admittance that there exists a quagmire of sorts in Afghanistan:
“But nearly eight years after the Taliban were driven out of Kabul, Obama has conceded that the United States was not winning the war and suggested talks with the militia's moderates to promote a political resolution.”

First, refer to the comparison to Viet Nam - and the prophetic Boston Globe article:from the 28th of March, "Afgan War to Take Years, Obama Declares"

The view from the Middle East is hardly encouraging: The Arab Times outlines how Afghanistan would be a tougher task that Iraq quoting a military source:

Major General Rick Olson, the former operational commander for coalition forces in Afghanistan, warned that just sending more troops would not bring stability to a population far more rural and dispersed than Iraq's.
'The conditions that favored success in Iraq are conspicuously lacking in Afghanistan,' he wrote in The Christian Science Monitor.

From Al Jezeera March 28, 2009:
“However, the Taliban told Al Jazeera in a statement on Friday: "Obama is repeating the mistakes of [former Russian leader Mikhail] Gorbachev.”

Russian Troops Afghanistan 1988 -

Evan the Iranians have weighed in on Obama’s proposal: From Iranian TV this article suggests that Obama’s plan will only increase the violence in Afghanistan Go Figure.
Meanwhile, the President is even using “Bin Laden” to bolster support for his Afghanistan Policy, arguing Bin Laden is planning attacks on the U.S. from inside both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

One has to ask: What’s the point? On the one hand, the President is increasing the US presence in Afghanistan, while suggesting a diplomatic component, in an area where violence is the norm and diplomacy has yet to work. The Bush Administration preferred to fight in Iraq (history is yet to rule on that strategy), maintaining minimal forces in Afghanistan, where primitive tribal politics and a forbidding terrain make any military incursion a long, drawn out affair. Since the forces in Iraq are being drawn down, Guantanamo is on the chopping block and those “combatants” deemed less than dangerous are finding homes in the United States, the reasoning to continue in Afghanistan, of all places, seems more politically contrived. It is not as if the United States does not have the tools necessary to track “terrorist” conversations, both at home and abroad, the intel necessary to locate Al Qaeda in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the technology to take out those “soft targets” without putting one boot on the ground. Obama ran as the “anti-war” president, yet suddenly finds it necessary to one-up his predecessor: using Cowboy language regarding Al Qaeda and the Taliban: "disrupt, defeat and dismantle" What’s next - An Obama “Axis of Evil’? Either Obama secretly admires George W. Bush, or something else is afoot.

President George W. Bush - Sept. 11

(Will the Press react in the same manner as they did when Bush uttered "Dead or Alive", vis a vis Bin Laden)

1 comment:

Eric said...

The contrast between the two images is interesting. Bush seems quite comfortable while Obama's expression conveys otherwise.

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