Musings on the President's "Twelve More Years!" Speech from Afghanistan
–Executive Director Kevin Martin
(Field Director Judith Le Blanc will also post her observations)
The president spoke of the strength of the Afghan security forces. Yet he had to make this surprise trip to Kabul under cover of darkness because of security fears. Doesn’t this speak volumes as to how little we’ve accomplished after eleven years (our country’s longest war).
Three hundred seventy eight U.S. troops have died since Obama’s killing. For what? And the UN reported 2011 as the worst year for Afghan civilian deaths with 3,021 people killed. Again, this is the level of “security” we’ve attained after eleven years of war?
The best way this “stay until 2024 plan” can be described is “Quagmire Light.” Surely the president and the military establishment recognize the U.S. public won’t stand for another 12 years of full-scale war, so this seems to be there stab at calibrating the most they can get away with in terms of an enduring presence in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is ranked the third most corrupt nation on the planet after North Korea and Somalia by Transparency International. That would have been very inconvenient for the president to acknowledge, but does that sorry fact justify staying another dozen years?
What agreement? It has not been made public. This is the allegedly (or at least the self-proclaimed) most transparent administration in U.S. history. What are they afraid of? And why does President Karzai think he needs to get approval from his Parliament but President Obama evidently does not? Is this not in reality a treaty, requiring the advice and consent (usually called “ratification”) of the U.S. Senate (the very body the president and vice president served in until very recently)?
The president tried to paint this as the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of the war, but there’s no peace treaty, which is the way wars usually end, yes?
Instead of this agreement, and follow-up plans to be hashed out at the NATO Summit in Chicago in three weeks, the president should be announcing the withdrawal of all U.S. military forces as soon as possible, and a massive reinvestment of our tax dollars now wasted on war and militarism repurposed to job creation and human and environmental needs spending. This would be a political winner for him, as his base and swing voters solidly support a swift end to the war, and even Romney voters, by a slim majority, favor this as well.
John King on CNN noted 2024 is six presidential terms since the 9-11-01 attack. Think about that for a minute – six presidential terms. Anderson Cooper noted that the Taliban doesn’t need any training, why does it cost us so much to train Afghan forces? Journalism!