Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Step Closer to Peace in Afghanistan

Antiwar activists, foreign policy realists and fans of Woodrow Wilson's principle of national self-determination should celebrate as the New York Times reports that many within both the Obama Administration and the military are skeptical of General Stanley McChrystal's plan to escalate the eight-year-old war in Afghanistan with a massive new commitment of additional troops and resources. It seems that the president is considering other options for moving forward in Afghanistan, including focusing a smaller number of troops on fighting terrorists rather than a directing larger number of troops to undertake a long-term project of nation-building with a necessarily imperialistic character.

I am ecstatic at this news. It shows that the White House is realistic about its approach to the Middle East but more importantly it demonstrates that there are people in the Obama Administration who are seriously opposed to an indefinite occupation of the Middle East on the basis of muddily defined national interests. I find it refreshing to see that the mainstream foreign policy establishment in Washington seems to have learned some lessons from making the terrible mistake of going along with the faith-based imperialism initiated by the Bush Administration just over six years ago. The neocons dug us into a very deep hole when they got a chance to run the country. General McChrystal and Admiral Mike Mullen have determined that the best strategy moving forward is to keep digging. Fortunately, more thoughtful leaders have begun to consider that it's time to start figuring out how to get out of the hole.

I want to single out that other old political star and US Senator from the state of Massachusetts for praise:
In an interview, Senator Kerry, who met with Admiral Mullen last week, said that he had not made up his mind about the troop buildup, but that in Vietnam, “the underlying assumptions were flawed, and the number of troops weren’t going to make a difference.”

The fraudulent elections in Afghanistan that apparently "reelected" the US-backed corruption hound Hamid Karzai should recall chilling memories of the illegitimate governments propped up by the US in South Vietnam. Senator Kerry is exactly right to pay close attention to the underlying assumptions of this proposal to escalate our involvement in a violent quagmire.

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