Sunday, August 21, 2011

Perpetual War

This "hopey-changey" thing really hasn't worked out very well for the progressives who worked hard to get Barack Obama elected. Oh, there have been some positive changes on his watch: "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been rolled back; the US and Russia have "reset" their relations after eight years of back and forth threats between the Putin and Bush administrations; embryonic stem cell research is back on line. All of these are good things and I was delighted to see them. But, let's face it, it ain't much, especially given what we were promised.

What is especially grating is that Mr. Nobel Peace Prize has got us hunkered down even more deeply in Iraq and Afghanistan, regardless of his assertions. We are still at war in both countries. We still have troops in both countries and will continue to have troops in both for years to come.

Mehdi Hasan, in a recent "Comment Is Free" column, noted the ongoing blood-letting going on in Iraq and Afghanistan and suggests that it will continue unless and until the US really and truly leaves both countries.

A decade on from 9/11, bloodshed and chaos continue to plague Afghanistan and Iraq. A US state department report published on Thursday revealed that the number of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan had jumped by 55% last year; in Iraq, attacks were up 9%. The US-led invasions and occupations of both countries have been a dismal failure – thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars squandered. The presence of western troops in Muslim lands has provoked more terrorism than it has prevented. ...

Putting more boots on the ground was a gross misjudgment. More US troops have died fighting in Afghanistan during Obama's two and a half years in the White House than in Bush's two terms in office – and, despite the recent decision to start bringing troops home, there will be more US military personnel fighting the Taliban at the end of Obama's first term in office than at the start.

Iraq, meanwhile, has become the forgotten war – yet an astonishing 47,000 US troops remain stationed there. Earlier this month, Obama told a group of supporters: "If somebody asks about the war [in Iraq] … you have a pretty simple answer, which is all our folks are going to be out of there by the end of the year."

Not quite. US military leaders expect to keep up to 10,000 "folks" in Iraq beyond the 31 December 2011 deadline, agreed by the Bush administration, for a full US withdrawal. ...

Nope, no change here.

We have always been at war with East Asia

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