(Le Temps, Switzerland)
All of these steps, these combinations
and permanency, is the road to hell
--Czech president Mirek Topolánek
(EU President Blasts US Spending)
Democracy is a pathetic belief in the
collective wisdom of individual ignorance
--H. L. Mencken
No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody's gonna mess me round
--Highway to Hell, AC/DC
It's a sad state of affairs when a European realizes AC/DC is your national prophet of doom.
Since Mirek is a Pink Floyd fan, we'll also give another musical hat tip, from that group's "Heaven and Hell": Did you exchange/A walk on part in the war/for a lead role in the game?
Those lyrics, Mr. Topolánek, describe most of our vaunted political leaders today.
The Obama administration is looking for an international bailout in its continued Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) in Afghanistan and beyond.
"The extra troops he is ordering to in combat and advisory roles can make a difference, as can additional U.S. civilian specialists to help Afghanistan build governing competence.
"But even those U.S. approaches have risks and limitations, as Obama made clear in explaining why he must overcome skepticism in Congress about spending billions of dollars more on State Department and foreign assistance programs.
"'Make no mistake, our efforts will fail in Afghanistan and Pakistan if we don't invest in their future,' he said" (New war Strategy Will Require Outside Help.)
The President of the U.S. is not and should not be the proponent of Afghani or Pakistani governments. Hey Mr. President: the American people need and deserve investment in our lives and our economy. You are here because of Mr. Bush's failures in this department -- take note.
There is no time for Obama, Clinton and Gates to play politics with insoluble problems in the sandbox. We cannot afford to invest in Afghanistan if we cannot invest in America.
Obama says the war in Afghanistan is crucial to protecting Americans against a repeat of the 9/11 attacks, yet no proof is offered that al-Qaeda possesses this operational capacity. Justifying his latest moves, he spoke Friday of an "uncompromising core" of the that is beyond reconciliation and must be defeated militarily."
The last statement is so innocuous and blandly accepted that it is easy to miss its extreme significance to the PWOT rationale. It says the U.S. is committed to a culturally-based war and is willing to utterly destroy the Taliban elements of Afghan society. It says that U.S. policy is as intransigent as that of the Taliban.
The U.S. is willing to destroy their way of life to protect our way of life. But. . . this is not what democracy is all about. Killing people is not an exercise in freedom -- it is the most extreme form of discrimination. The Taliban cannot be defeated militarily, only culturally, and that is not achievable this side of genocide.
The "Afghan government" is a figment of a neo-con frame of mind. Even the AP reports it is, "(R)ife with corruption and unable to extend its authority beyond the capital, Kabul." Afghanistan can not be "reconstructed" as that implies a precondition of being constructed. This is the illusion of COIN, financed by hard-earned tax dollars.
Obama describes al-Qaida as "a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within." Is it al-Qaeda, or Taliban, or a combination thereof? And how has this become a U.S. strategic interest? Are we so big we cannot fail? Will we continue to fight open-ended wars until we achieve our victory? Will the fight for Pakistan, Korea and Taiwan finally bankrupt a national treasury based on sleight-of-hand?
The accelerated war in Afghanistan is the same old thing, packaged as a winner. What will it take for our leaders to focus on our daily realities? Terrorism is far less a threat than the decaying economy. While they sanction boogeymen-chasing in mountain passes of Afghanistan and Pakistan -- places you will never find on a AAA vacation tripych -- Americans are losing jobs faster than you can say "mujahadeen".
America today is like a leper. We pretend we are a vibrant, viable superpower, but the dead tissue indicates otherwise.
The U.S. cannot afford the safety the PWOT is supposedly providing.