Thursday, July 17, 2008

Of Afghanistan And The Surge

There is something about the mess in the Persian Gulf I don't understand.

On tonight's (7/17/08) episode of MSNBC's "Hardball," guest host Mike Barnicle led a discussion with public relations consultant and Repub strategist Mike Paul and Democratic strategist Steve McMahon. Recent ads by Barack Obama and John McCain were shown, followed by comments by Paul and McMahon. One such ad was put up by "Vets For Freedom," a third-party endorsement of Mccain in which various individuals emphatically asserted that the "surge is working." McMahon argued soldiers "on their fourth tour" are not anxious to remain in Iraq and "there's a political situation over there that hasn't improved very much."

True enough, and kudos to McMahon for asserting what is, or at least was before the presumptive Democratic nominee's obfuscation, the party's position on the war.

But in reports of 6/30/08 and 7/2/08 The New York Times noted:

the White House shifted its sights, beginning in 2002, from counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan to preparations for the war in Iraq.... Current and former military and intelligence officials said that the war in Iraq consistently diverted resources and high-level attention from the tribal areas (of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan). (Now, there is) a strengthening Taliban insurgency that has menaced NATO forces and reclaimed control over some southern and eastern parts of the country.... (and) more American and coalition troops died in Afghanistan last month (i.e., June) than during any other month since the American-led invasion began in 2001.

So has the "surge" diverted resources from the war in Afghanistan to the war in Iraq? And if so, why haven't opponents of the Bush-Rice-McCain war policy (especially with Obama's emphasis on Afghanistan) not argued that: 1)the military success has resulted from diversion of resources from Afghanistan and 2)the Pakistan/Afghanistan front- not Iraq- is home to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda?

1 comment:

Dr. John Maszka said...

Taking the war to Pakistan is perhaps the most foolish thing America can do. Obama is not the first to suggest it, and we already have sufficient evidence of the potentially negative repercussions of such an action. On January 13, 2006, the United States launched a missile strike on the village of Damadola, Pakistan. Rather than kill the targeted Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s deputy leader, the strike instead slaughtered 17 locals. This only served to further weaken the Musharraf government and further destabilize the entire area. In a nuclear state like Pakistan, this was not only unfortunate, it was outright stupid. Pakistan has 160 million Arabs (better than half of the population of the entire Arab world). Pakistan also has the support of China and a nuclear arsenal.

I predict that America’s military action in the Middle East will enter the canons of history alongside Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Holocaust, in kind if not in degree. The Bush administration’s war on terror marks the age in which America has again crossed a line that many argue should never be crossed. Call it preemption, preventive war, the war on terror, or whatever you like; there is a sense that we have again unleashed a force that, like a boom-a-rang, at some point has to come back to us. The Bush administration argues that American military intervention in the Middle East is purely in self-defense. Others argue that it is pure aggression. The consensus is equally as torn over its impact on international terrorism. Is America truly deterring future terrorists with its actions? Or is it, in fact, aiding the recruitment of more terrorists?

The last thing the United States should do at this point and time is to violate yet another state’s sovereignty. Beyond being wrong, it just isn't very smart. We all agree that slavery in this country was wrong; as was the decimation of the Native American populations. We all agree that the Holocaust and several other acts of genocide in the twentieth century were wrong. So when will we finally admit that American military intervention in the Middle East is wrong as well?

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