2016 election

I, Virginia Bergman, pledge not to vote for a male presidential candidate in 2016 just because he's male.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Will the Afghan Quagmire Become Barack Obama’s War?

NY Times columnist Bob Herbert has begun to emerge from the euphoria common to Obama supporters since the president-elect first announced his candidacy by declaring himself the reincarnation of Abraham Lincoln from the steps of the old capital building in Springfield, Ill.

In today’s op-ed Herbert offers a sober critique of Obama’s campaign promise of a military surge in Afghanistan and explains how it might easily become Obama’s war. Herbert writes:

“The economy is obviously issue No. 1 as Barack Obama prepares to take over the presidency. He’s charged with no less a task than pulling the country out of a brutal recession. If the worst-case scenarios materialize, his job will be to stave off a depression.

“That’s enough to keep any president pretty well occupied. What Mr. Obama doesn’t need, and what the U.S. cannot under any circumstances afford, is any more unnecessary warfare. And yet, while we haven’t even figured out how to extricate ourselves from the disaster in Iraq, Mr. Obama is planning to commit thousands of additional American troops to the war in Afghanistan, which is already more than seven years old and which long ago turned into a quagmire.”

Herbert cites other sources in Times and Newsweek to make the point that escalating the war in Afghanistan forces radical Islamists over the border into Pakistan threatening to destabilize that nuclear-armed nation.

Herbert contends:

“Our interest in Afghanistan is to prevent it from becoming a haven for terrorists bent on attacking us. That does not require the scale of military operations that the incoming administration is contemplating. It does not require a wholesale occupation. It does not require the endless funneling of human treasure and countless billions of taxpayer dollars to the Afghan government at the expense of rebuilding the United States, which is falling apart before our very eyes.”

Noting the corruption of the Afghanistan government including President Karzai, Herbert maintains:

“If Mr. Obama does send more troops to Afghanistan, he should go on television and tell the American people, in the clearest possible language, what he is trying to achieve. He should spell out the mission’s goals, and lay out an exit strategy.

“He will owe that to the public because he will own the conflict at that point. It will be Barack Obama’s war.”


  1. My prediction is the draft will be re-instituted. That should sober up the kool-aid drinking youth. I have added you to my blog roll...I like your thinking.

  2. Thanks Puma for Life,

    I've linked to your blog from Katalusis - it's a pleasure!

  3. "Emerge from the euphoria" is quite accurate. Unlike millions of people who are ecstatic over the outcome of our recent election(?) of Mr. Obama, I have had feelings of trepidation since Nov. 4th. Even before that date. I get a feeling from Mr. Obama that he really does not know what he is doing. I am still waiting for evidence that the man has ever held an original thought of his very own. He makes me extremely uneasy. I have decided to listen more carefully to him when he speaks, but watching/listening to such an obvious rookie is not an easy task. Whenever he speaks, I can't shake the notion that he just does not know what he is talking about. Add to that his annoying habit of cutting off his questioners whenever he doesn't want to answer. These next few years will be interesting, and I don't believe that sending more troops to Afghanistan is in the best interests of the U.S. The human and dollar cost is too great a price to pay. Bring the money and the troops home and let us turn our attention to keeping peace and returning to prosperity once again...

  4. Hi Becky,

    Thank you for your comment. I share many of your feelings about Obama. Herbert's column reminded me of how arrogantly Obama behaved during the primary and general election regarding our combat forces abroad. Now that he's seeing reality up close, it appears he's having some second thoughts. And why not? He's flipped on every other campaign promise he made.

  5. Yeah, Virginia, I agree wholeheartedly. I came back to revise/correct my earlier comment re: watching Obama and listening to him. I tried, I really tried to watch his presser but I could not get through it. I subscribe to the "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" perspective, but you know what? ~ I just can't do it. He turns me off in such a virulent way. He cheated his way to where he is, and my mother and father taught me to never ever cheat or lie your way to ANY goal in life. I still subscribe to those words of wisdom, and no matter how much I try, I can not bring myself to accept Mr. Obama as my President. I know, I know, I am already on a list somewhere. So be it.
    In solidarity,