The NEW Illustrated Guide to Mendacity and Folly in the 21st Century.
Posted on | December 4, 2009 | No CommentsWell, the root canal is still a bit sore but the stomach virus has, shall we say, eliminated itself, so we are back here a day late. Obama’s speech to West Point–which Mr. Matthews stupidly characterized as “the enemy”–has already passed out of the news to give way to more important rumors about Tiger Woods and his many woods…which appear to be quite a few more than he carries in his sack. President Obama has, as was expected, elected to escalate whatever it is we’re doing in Afghanistan. I mean, what ARE we doing there? Is it a war? I thought that was over eight years ago. Is it a mission? If it is, I’d like to know what the mission is. Or was.Or will be. Because the only way you can end a mission is by accomplishing something and after 8 years of being in charge, we haven’t seemed to have accomplished much. Was it to catch Osama bin Laden? That’s what the advertising was back after 9/11. Well, hell, we let him escape to Pakistan. That’s one mission UNaccomplished. Was it to eliminate the drug trade? Hell, there are only two industries IN Afghanistan, rugmaking and opium poppies, and opium poppies is the one that brings the most cash into the country. Besides, if that was our goal, we should have just left the Taliban in charge–they’d brought opium production down to a minute fraction of what it had been. What’s 18 months gonna do that the last 8 years hasn’t?
To be fair, back during the election, Obama kept saying that Afghanistan was the GOOD war and Iraq was the BAD one and he was going to do something about it. But lots of us must have figured that was just to impress Fox News. And as it turns out, this is one of the few things he wasn’t blowing smoke about. Gays? Wait around. Patriot Act? You know, there are some awfully good things in there. Secrecy in government? Shhhhhhhh, let’s not talk too much about that one. Single Payer? Why, that would destroy our health insurance industry! So I can’t blame progressives for being surprised that he IS keeping his promise about this one. But, if we haven’t accomplished our mission yet, just WTF is it?
FOX NEWS knows what our mission is–since they seem to have become the fourth branch of government since Dick Cheney abdicated–it’s to “WIN”. That’s one word we didn’t hear in Obama’s speech, Fox newsies said with stuck record regularity, WIN! Well, Fox–and its subsidiary, the Republican Party–has always had a football game mentality to both war and politics, which I suspect are the same thing to them. No such thing as a draw, only winners and losers in their books, so if you didn’t win, you’re a loser. But — we won. We did that eight years ago. What we’ve been trying to do for the last eight years is figure out what the hell it was we DID win. True, we got rid of the oppressive Taliban government, but what did the Afghani get in return? Karzai–and his brother, Mr. Opium King? Who managed to hold an election in which hundreds of thousands of votes were cast in non-existent polling stations? I’m no fan of the Taliban but Cheeses and Crackers, couldn’t we have done a little better than Hamid Soprano?
Winning, as far as I can see, consists simply of keeping al-Qaeda and the Taliban out. Well, the Taliban, there’s only about 100 al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan at the most generous estimate, see Bilal and Yussuf in the illustration, but we always have to say “al-Qaeda and the Taliban” so that our “mission” looks like it still has something to do with 9/11. Where did al-Qaeda go? To the hills of our “ally” Pakistan. So why are we in Afghanistan? To keep them from coming back in. WTF would they go back to Afghanistan when they have a safe haven in Pakistan? I mean, it’s not like it’s their ancestral homeland. They have just as miserable conditions in Pakistan as they had in Afghanistan. Well, we have to stay to keep the Taliban out. What for? To keep up the opium trade? To prop up a government that is so corrupt it even makes the Bush administration look beige? We’ve had eight years to Kabul together a government in our own image and likeness and all we did was screw around. We ain’t gonna do it by getting serious for another 18 months.
But I think Fox News has a point, one that they don’t even understand–which isn’t saying a lot, since understanding things is less important to them than having an opinion. We have to have a surge to make it look like we’re taking some kind of action. Then we’ve got 18 months to figure out what we can say we accomplished so we can declare our mission “WON”. Then we can “draw down” before the ’012 election. Mostly. Like Iraq, we’ll be keeping a significant garrison in place because the only way to keep the Taliban out is to stay fighting them. And, like Iraq, where we still have 50,000 troops, we’ll be there for some time to come. At a million dollars a year per man because that’s what it costs to keep troops occupying another country. Just think what we could do HERE with a million bucks! Never mind we, think of what I could do with a million bucks. Hey, doesn’t the USA qualify for “too big to fail?”
Which brings me to my final point. The Soviet Union was only in Afghanistan for 10 years and that little adventure is credited with its downfall. We’ll be hitting OUR tenth anniversary in 2011 and remember, the tenth anniversary is TIN!