Alright, I’ve thought about Afghanistan for the day, and here is where I am right now. I understand the country is a mess, and I understand that many believe the real problem is what is going on in Pakistan. I understand that Obama has always thought this is the good war, and to the extent that Al Qaeda is who hit us, I still agree with that sentiment.
But here is where I am now- in my gut, I just don’t think there is much of anything we can do. We could send 150k more troops there for ten years, and all it would do is bleed us and run our military further into the ground and cost billions and billions more (and this doesn’t go in to the money we need to spend on our injured and dead and the annual budget). As soon as we leave, the same folks will come back and re-assert their authority. Just like they have for centuries.
Now I know this is not drinking the American exceptionalism kool-aid, and thus makes me a traitor, but at this point I believe that Obama and his commanders honestly believe they might turn it around, but in reality, it just strikes me that what we are doing is very much like the surge in Iraq. We’re going to calm things down, declare victory, pretend we have won, and leave.
Although we aren’t really leaving that quickly from Iraq, now, are we? I’ll support the troops and the President, and I’ll keep paying my taxes, but I have no faith in what is about to happen and am prepared for a lot of American and Afghan dead to no good end.
Politically, I expect the neocon right to continue to offer back-handed compliments while the rest of the right slowly starts to undermine the mission by suggesting withdrawal might be the best option, while the liberal hawks cheer and the political left fights Obama every step of the way (for good reason). Then, as 2011 approaches, and nothing has changed but the cost and the body count, and the commanders on the ground have been given their chance but the facts didn’t change, Obama will begin to withdraw. At that point, expect every Republican to call him a quitter and an appeaser (the ones siding with withdrawal will switch in a NY minute), the left will tell him “I told you so all along,” the country will be sick of war and disillusioned, and we’ll just have nothing to show for it but more dead and wounded, a continued expense, and a dead domestic agenda.
And that is where I am today. Maybe I am completely wrong and talking out my hindquarters as I am prone to do, but I am just not very hopeful right now.