Thursday, February 12, 2009

Afghanistan Surge

The so-called "anti-war" President is going to escalate the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan and Pakistan by 23,000 in the coming months. The total number of soldiers from Western military powers in Afghanistan will then be around 100,000. Plans to increase the number of soldiers in stages are in the air, this being the second phase in a plan that already increased the number by 4,000 since Obama took office. 50,000 U.S. troops will remain in Iraq after the first 16 months according to the "pull out" time-table.

Have you noticed that Obama has never criticized the invasion of Iraq because it was illegal, immoral, unjust, or imperialist, or for any of the reasons you might expect from an anti-war President? Look at the criticism he does raise, and one perspective stands out. Obama's reasons for opposing Bush's policy in Iraq come from a decidedly chauvinist viewpoint of what's best for America - that is, the U.S. empire. He gives us the cost-benefit analysis, saying on television that the costs of excess U.S. presence in Iraq have outweighed the benefits for America.

America knows Iraq won't fit in her pocketbook. This is why the U.S. is moving further East: the central front in the War on Terror are small mountaintop villages nestled among rocky, sparse passages. The Kandahar province and the Southern provinces in Afghanistan, and on federally-administered tribal lands in Pakistan is where the Pentagon, Barack Obama and the New York Times, says the new global war on terror is located.

As Obama said in the Presidential debates, the reason why America should stay out of Iraq is not because it's wrong, not because it destroys peoples' lives, not because Iraq was only about oil. It's because America cannot control the people there.

"I warned that the invasion of a country posing no imminent threat would fan the flames of extremism, and distract us from the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban."

And in his own writing, he says the mistake the U.S. made was to stretch out its power and spend its money unwisely.

"More than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched."

"The situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted."

"Nearly every threat we face—from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran—has grown."

"Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been."

So Obama is talking realpolitik, and Obama right about one thing: his position on the war on terror has been consistent; his position has always proceeded from the interests of U.S. imperialism.

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