Thursday, December 3, 2009


I have to admit: I have no idea what the US should do in Afganistan and I don't have a strong view on Obama's decision about this on Tuesday. And judging from reading the million and a half comments about it in the last few day, nor does anyone else really. Given the insane mish-mash of entirely contradicting elements of the genesis of the war, the current situation and the variety of possible ultimate goals, it's impossible to have an answer that will be entirely satisfying to anyone - and so the critics abound.

Meanwhile, I like the analysis of the Tuesday speech put forth in this TNR article:

"the rhetoric does, I think, help to answer a question that a lot of pundits have been puzzling over for the past year: What, exactly, is Barack Obama's overarching worldview when it comes to foreign policy? For a long time, I've felt I didn't really know. After last night's speech, I suspect Obama doesn't really know either. A politician who is capable of sounding such dissonant notes in the same speech is a politician who is still figuring out his first principles of foreign policy. This might help explain some of the more confusing things about Obama's first year in office: how, for instance, a president who has found his way to a human-rights-friendly policy on Afghanistan could have seemed so cold to human rights in his approach to Iran and China; or how a candidate who once spoke forcefully about the need to address genocide in Sudan has proven to be such a disaster on the issue now that he is in office."

On a slightly different note, I really enjoy the proposal to institute a war tax to pay for this insanity. And not because I want to pay more taxes, but because it exposes the hypocrisy of proponents of escalating the war who at once want to send more troops, but don't want to pay for it with tax hikes, even thought they are allegedly fiscally conservative (yes, I'm talking about Republicans here). And, in a sense, it will put the question to the nation as a whole: is this war worth paying for and if it's not worth paying for, why is it worth fighting?

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