Afghanistan is the largest and the most difficult crisis Obama confronts away from home. And here the trap was fashioned largely by himself. He said, all through the presidential campaign, that Iraq was the wrong war but Afghanistan was the right one. It was ‘a war of necessity’, he said this summer. And he has implied that he would accept his generals’ definition of the proper scale of such a war. Now it appears that Afghanistan is being lost, indeed that it cannot be controlled with fewer than half a million troops on the ground for a decade or more. The generals are for adding troops, as in Vietnam, in increments of tens of thousands. Their current request was leaked to Bob Woodward, who published it in the Washington Post on 21 September, after Obama asked that it be kept from the public for a longer interval while he deliberated. The leak was an act of military politics if not insubordination; its aim was to show the president the cost of resisting the generals.
For Obama to do the courageous thing and withdraw would mean having deployed against him the unlimited wrath of the mainstream media, the oil interest, the Israel lobby, the weapons and security industries, all those who have reasons both avowed and unavowed for the perpetuation of American force projection in the Middle East. If he fails to satisfy the request from General McChrystal – the specialist in ‘black ops’ who now controls American forces in Afghanistan – the war brokers will fall on Obama with as finely co-ordinated a barrage as if they had met and concerted their response.
Phi Beta Iota: Read the entire brilliant piece, of which above are the conclusion. We do NOT agree that the leaking of the troop demand was insubordination–it was the first attempt, to suppress the troop demand, that was an impeachable offense, and thankfully the Secretary of Defense came to his senses and stopped being the cuckold. President Obama is in deep trouble because he lacks a staff capable of delivering the truth in strategic context. If he had a proper staff, he would recognize that his power is outside the partisan base, and that embracing the concerns of the 43% that are independent and the 70% that did not vote for him is the surest way to overcome the military-industrial complex–only one thing counts more than money in Washington, D.C. and that is populists onthe march. We the People can “Free Obama” to be the George Washington of the 21st Century. But does he want to be freed? THAT is the question.