Afghanistan and at Home, We're Being Driven Off a Cliff
by Ron Smith
Previously by Ron Smith: Perpetual
War Is Here — and Americans Are Getting Used to It
have been quite taken by a recurring segment on ESPN's "NFL
Countdown Show" called "C'mon man." Inspired by former
wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, botched plays from NFL action are
highlighted, with the players involved being targeted for the "C'mon
stuff. But when President Barack Obama, after weeks of indecision,
prepares to tell the nation in a prime time address that tens of
thousands of more troops are going to be sent into the endless war
in Afghanistan, it's not so funny. It's depressing. It's revealing.
It's a decidedly serious "C'mon man" moment.
soon as Tuesday, the president will explain best he can why tens
of thousands of additional American soldiers and Marines are needed
to pursue a war soon to pass Vietnam as the longest in our history.
Some of our war fighters will be in their fourth or fifth tour of
duty in combat zones. The cost of the war there could top a trillion
dollars over the next 10 years, yet virtually all the generals and
admirals and think tank armchair warriors have concluded that a
military solution isn't possible.
says this is a war we must win. Retired Army Col. Andrew J. Bacevich,
a professor of international relations and history at Boston University,
who has written widely on military power and its limitations, says
it's a war we cannot win.
In a piece
earlier this year in Commonweal, Mr. Bacevich wrote, "Liberals
may have interpreted Obama's campaign pledge to ramp up the U.S.
military commitment to Afghanistan as calculated to insulate himself
from the charge of being a national-security wimp. Events have exposed
that interpretation as incorrect. It turns out apparently
that the president genuinely views this remote, landlocked,
primitive Central Asian country as a vital U.S. security interest."
that if moral considerations are at the heart of our foreign policy,
as many war proponents insist if it's nation building that motivates
us we should fix, say, Mexico, which is of far greater importance
to us than faraway Afghanistan.
So what can
be expected to be achieved? There are murmurings about staying until
a stable national government is in place in Kabul and the Afghans
themselves are able to guarantee their own security. But we know
there has never been a stable central government in that backward
land. It's a tribal society, largely rural and famous for its ferocity
and fearlessness, for a refusal to tolerate foreign occupation.
Ask the Russians.
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in The Baltimore Sun.
© 2008 The Baltimore Sun