We have left undone those things
which we ought to have done;
and we have done those things which we ought not to have done
--The Book of Common Prayer (1549)
An old Army joke says, "Flush twice -- it's a long way to the Pentagon." Let's paraphrase this: It's even further to the White House and Congress.
So now it is official -- the U.S. will add 32,000 more troops to the fray in Afghanistan. We guess it worked so well in Iraq, we had to try again. But to what useful, justifiable purpose, either military or political?
If one agrees with the new surge (not so much a surge, as a weak prostate drip), let us look at the two assumptions driving this wild optimism.
- The U.S. military machine might kill or suppress every Taliban and anti-government agent and imprison every supporter of these movements. But ... even if they do -- SO WHAT? How does this benefit the security of the U.S.?
- Most Afghans might sell us their hearts and minds, with enough provocation and bribes, like maybe the offer of modern townhouses with cable hookups in every mud hut village (at least, that's what our Rush-listening associates tell us might do the trick.) But ... even if every last Afghan citizen signs a pledge of love, SO WHAT?
The Republican talking heads are angry that General McChrystal only gets 3/4th of what he wants, yet the good General recently said there were only perhaps 100 operating Taliban in Afghanistan. So what's the goal?
If the basis of this war was to destroy al-Qaeda'a operational link to the Taliban, than this is all to the good, but at what cost? What if this projected achievement is simply spittin' in the wind, since al-Qaeda is international and can and will exist separate from Taliban complicity? What then is the point of further fighting in Afghanistan?
If we continue to follow the U.S. policy vis-a-vis the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©), then the American people can expect to be in the war-fighting and nation-building business from now to kingdom come.
NPR quoted from a Taliban pronouncement following Obama's speech last night: We will prevail, and you will only become economically poorer. It was sad, almost like a palm reader glad to take your money, but who realizes at the end of the day, you'll not get the thing you most want to hear. As with most hopeful suckers who sit before the crystal ball, it always ends badly. "Does she love me?" "Maybe, maybe . . . No."
The only thing to emphasize to the recipients of our largesse and love is, flush twice -- it's a long way to the White House. Oh, and here's some hand sanitizer . . .