Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Grim Truth May Be that Obama Has Fallen Under the Influence of Conservative Military-Financial Interests

By Eric Margolis

President Barack Obama has missed two sterling opportunities to wind down the ugly Afghan morass he inherited from George W. Bush.

First, Obama could have hit the pause button on the war when he first took office. A thorough evaluation should have been done at that time.

Second, during all the heavy-duty strategy meetings over Afghanistan this November. The new president could have announced a cease-fire in the war or sharp reduction of military operations, then called for genuine peace talks under Saudi aegis with Taliban and its nationalist allies.

Instead of a sensible pause, Obama’s made the tragic decision last week to enlarge and prolong the eight-year war in Afghanistan.

The ugly, messy conflict Obama inherited from George W. Bush now fully belongs to the "peace president" and his unhappy party.

President Obama faced a choice between guns – $1 trillion for the next decade of warfare in Afghanistan – or butter – his $1 trillion national health plan.

The Nobel Peace Prize Laureate chose guns.

What Obama should really have been concerned with was Osama bin Laden’s vow to first bleed the US in Afghanistan and Iraq, then break America’s domination of the Muslim world by luring it into a final battle in Pakistan, a nation of 175 million, 90% of whom see the United States as their country’s primary enemy.

The president also heard alarms from his field commanders and CIA that Taliban and its allies were taking control of much of Afghanistan and threatening the big cities. As US Afghan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned, the mighty US even faced defeat at the hands of lightly armed mountain tribesmen – the same humiliating fate that befell the Soviet Union and led to the collapse of its empire.

So, as expected, Obama will rush 30,000 new troops into the Afghan quagmire, and arm-twist reluctant NATO allies to contribute 10,000 more mostly token forces.

Obama, with his eye on the Afghan War’s growing unpopularity among Americans, confusingly promised some of the 105,000 US garrison there will begin withdrawing in 2011. But Obama’s aides almost immediately began backtracking on this pledge, which made no military sense at all.

Senator John McCain and fellow Republican hawks had a field day shredding Obama’s foolish proposal.

Many Afghans, however, listened and concluded that the US, like the Soviets, would one day decamp. Those Afghans working for the US will quickly begin hedging their bets by making discreet side deals with Taliban, as I saw them do with the mujahidin during the Soviet era.

The president insisted his objective remains destroying al-Qaida. But al-Qaida hardly exists in Afghanistan. Only a handful remain in Pakistan, likely no more than a dozen men.

President Obama’s insincerity on this issue is very disturbing, undermining his reputation for veracity and clear thinking.


  1. He is from the Chicago political school. Bloomberg ran an interesting piece on Chicago's sewer bond:


    It paid local underwriters/advisers a premium and got less for taxpayers than a Texas bond.

  2. Robert, that last sentence is a joke. Obama's the guy who said approve the $700 billion+ bailout and we will keep unemployment from exceeding 8% - it is now 10%++. The guy who said I don't want to run the auto industry and then he fired GM's CEO and turned bankruptcy laws upside down in order to give Chrysler to the unions. The guy who said I don't want to run the banking industry and then gave Wamu to JP Morgan Chase. The guy who said we need cap and trade to prevent global warming and when the underlying science is shown to be questionable he supports the EPA to implement its own regulations anyway. The guy who said I don't want to run the health industry and there will be no "death panels" but is ready to sign a 2,000 page bill to do exactly that.

    When did he establish a reputation for veracity?

  3. @Efinancial

    Not everyone has been as hip to Obama from the start as us. Be thankful he is coming along.