Monday, December 07, 2009

Afghanistan "Surge" (1)

The invaluable Andrew Bacevich writes about how the Afghanistan War has become Obama's folly Los Angeles Times 12/03/09. He characterizes the nature of Obama's escalation decision well:

Through war, Bush set out to transform the greater Middle East. Despite immense expenditures of blood and treasure, that effort failed. In choosing Obama rather than John McCain to succeed Bush, the American people acknowledged that failure as definitive. Obama's election was to mark a new beginning, an opportunity to "reset" America's approach to the world.

The president's chosen course of action for Afghanistan suggests he may well squander that opportunity. Rather than renouncing Bush's legacy, Obama apparently aims to salvage something of value. In Afghanistan, he will expend yet more blood and more treasure hoping to attenuate or at least paper over the wreckage left over from the Bush era.
And he describes the obstacles that Afghanistant presents:

What Afghanistan tells us is that rather than changing Washington, Obama has become its captive. The president has succumbed to the twin illusions that have taken the political class by storm in recent months. The first illusion, reflecting a self-serving interpretation of the origins of 9/11, is that events in Afghanistan are crucial to the safety and well-being of the American people. The second illusion, the product of a self-serving interpretation of the Iraq War, is that the U.S. possesses the wisdom and wherewithal to guide Afghanistan out of darkness and into the light. [my emphasis]
A false version of the Iraq War holding that The Surge of 2007 represented a brillian military success by our glorious generals has already established itself as a "lesson of Iraq" to guide policymaking. And Obama's Afghanistan "surge" is predicated on that false version of the Cheney/Petraeus/McCain Surge of 2007 in Iraq.

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