Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Good War and You

There's one aspect of the Obama Nobel Award story that I haven't heard much about. I haven't heard the usual suspects like Greenwald, Digby, Chris Floyd, etc., ask the question, "Now that a president can win the Peace Prize despite escalating a dirty war, is the Bush Doctrine here to stay?" You know the Bush Doctrine (because you're not Sarah Palin): It's our post-9/11 ad hoc foreign policy of preventative war (and preventative detention and torture). There was a brief debate about it pretty early on because Bush and Co. was trying to distract the public from another debate that should have been taking place: whether or not the Iraq War casus belli was complete crap. Anyway, I know Afghanistan is the "good war" and all, but frankly I feel really, really, viscerally enraged with the conduct of this administration, so I'm searching for a way to compare this Afghan escalation to the Iraq invasion. Won't you join me?

Disclaimer: Before I proceed, don't tell me I should not have been surprised by this escalation, because I'm not. I'm enraged; there's a huge difference. I voted for Black Jesus because Hilary was channeling Giuliani in the Primary and McCain-- well, if McCain were President we would all be in Iran right now, and it might look something like this:

Battle of Jerusalem - MyVideo

(Only I don't think McCain knows his way around scaffolding and siegecraft. I could be wrong though. He is old as fuck.)

In his speech on the escalation, Obama actually addressed his liberal critics, trying to convince them of how Afghanistan is not Vietnam. The reasons he gave were surficially reasonable: 
Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action.
Correction: They recognized-- past-tense-- the legitamacy of our action. Now how gung-ho are they? Not very. Except perhaps for Britain, to the dismay of its people
Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. 
Correction: How do we know? Soldiers aren't getting killed as much as they were in Iraq? Whatever. Obama might add that we're not facing the armed forces of another country, which North Vietnam was. I think they earned the right to call themselves a country once they kicked the French out.
And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now – and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance – would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.  
Correction:  He's basically saying here that if we don't fight them there, they'll kill us here. That argument was bullshit when Bush made it, and it remains wet and steamy to this day. The Taliban were not "harboring" Al Qaeda. That's like saying Woodstock harbored the brown acid. If we're going to blame the Taliban for harboring Al Qaeda, then when are we going to blame Saudi Arabia for nurturing the reactionary, theocratic cultural environment that produced the 9/11 hijackers?

Vietnam and Iraq were all about sending a message (Specifically, "Suck on this.") to our shadowy enemies. We settled for those pitiful actions because we can't very well attack shadows-- only send them stern messages. Now tell me: how has this eight-year-old Afghan war not reached the point where we are vainly and haggardly trying to get our terrorist enemies to "suck on this"? 

Now what about this Bush Doctrine? I think I've shown that Afghanistan, at this point in the war, is basically the same as Iraq and Vietnam. However, I also feel that it's necessary to throw the Bush Doctrine albatross around Obama's neck for good measure. But I can't. I've realized that there was no such thing as the Bush Doctrine. It was just a euphemism for wild ejaculation and feces-tossing. The real villain in American foreign policy has always been imperialism, which is of course nothing new, except that now they give out Nobel Peace Prizes for it.

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