To Win What?

I admit that I know little about foreign affairs (after all, I can’t even see Canada from my yard), so I usually leave the subject alone.   And I was going to leave the subject of Afghanistan severely alone until Obama actually gave his speech on the subject (as of this writing, it hasn’t taken place yet).

But I also admit something else: I have never understood what purpose is served by endlessly having our troops in Afghanistan.  Particularly when I read reports like this one, (which actually is about Iraq, but ties in with the situation in Afghanistan at least in a few ways), I get mighty puzzled.

The only thing that would tend to make sense is that if Obama annouced that he were pulling all our troops OUT of Afghanistan, the right-wingnuts would be jumping up and down and saying, “See!  See!  He’s UnAmerican!”  And those who don’t think about things much, which includes a distressing number of ordinary Americans, would be nodding their noggins in agreement.  And Obama’s popularity would go ever so far down.

Other than that, nothing in this scenario makes sense to me.  We aren’t going to win anything in Afghanistan except for further proof that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it (or however that saying goes).

What history?  I still think that their own war in Afghanistan did far more to bring down the Soviet Union than Ronald Reagan ever did.  It was for them an unpopular war without end, one that drained their economy and needlessly shed a lot of Soviet blood.  Sound familiar?

At the very least, it should be food for thought.  But I’ll leave further judgement until the time when I have something to judge.

UPDATE, 12/2: Okay, where have we heard this before?  A surge and then a withdrawal.

Listen, Mr. President…the problems in Afghanistan predate this war by almost a thousand years (at least).  It is a country trapped in its own past, to which the modern world seems nothing but a threat — you know, kinda like what the Dominionists and others want for this country (albeit without the historical precedent). 

We are not going to solve those problems by shooting the Taliban.  Frankly, if anyone shoots the Taliban, it should be the locals.  And if they don’t want to do that, we can’t help them.  You know, sort of like what’s going on here in the U.S. with the religious right.

As for Al Qaeda, they will also be allowed to exist as long as they are valuable to someone else.  They were valuable to George Bush (he used them to excuse invading Iraq).  Now they are valuable to…someone, I don’t know who.  The moment the propaganda value goes away, though, so do they.  They have no other reason to exist.

You know we’re going down the wrong path when the peanut gallery weighs in, and so it has — Sarah Palin has apparently just congratulated President Obama for following her advice.  And I admit that it’s bad enough that it could be her advice.  However, we are talking about Palin making yet another grandiose claim here.   That’s what she currently does for a living.

I have only one thing to say, and this is it: As if, Ms. Palin.  Now shut the hell up.  We have serious issues to attend to and you are not one of them.

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