Dude, Where’s My Anti-War President?
In the words of my favorite legendary ESPN sports anchor (and fellow Buffalo Bills fan) Chris ‘The Swami’ Berman:
“Come on, Man!”
As someone who has been to the region and actually flown directly over the Durand Line (the 1,600-mile-long border between Pakistan and Afghanistan) nearly a dozen or so times in my life thus far, I am still sighing and scratching my head as to why President Barack Obama (who ran on an anti-war platform) would officially announce an additional 30,000 troops in his speech this evening at West Point Academy for the war in Afghanistan; which is known quite well to all knowledgeable global observers simply as the ‘Graveyard of Empires’.
Historically well-known around the world to global observers as the ‘Graveyard of Empires’, the central Asian feudal nation-state of Afghanistan has successfully cast off the historical imperialist likes of Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan (and the Mongol empire), the British Victorian colonial empire and most recently, the USSR Soviet communist empire, who were embarrassingly defeated by the Afghan mujahideen during the entire decade of the 1980s.
“No outside force has, since the Mongol invasion, ever pacified the entire country [of Afghanistan]…Even Alexander the Great only passed through,” once noted former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in an October 2009 article for Newsweek magazine on the historical and regional importance of Afghanistan within our greater geopolitical context.
As a strategic geographical crossroads within Central Asia, from its invasion by “Genghis Khan and his two-million strong Mongol hordes to the superpower proxy war [during the 1980s] between the United States and the Soviet Union, Afghanistan’s trade routes and land-locked position in the middle of the region have for centuries rendered it vulnerable to invasion by external powers.”
According to an official 2009 CATO Institute ‘white paper’ policy briefing on Afghanistan: “Although Afghanistan has endured successive waves of Persian, Greek, Arab, Turk, Mongol, British, and Soviet invaders, no occupying power has ever successfully conquered it…There’s a reason why it has been described as the ‘graveyard of empires’, and unless America scales down its objectives, it risks meeting a similar fate…”
Moving onto the overly-corrupt Hamid Karzai: “Without a legitimate and credible Afghan partner, that counterinsurgency strategy is fundamentally flawed. The current Afghan government is neither legitimate nor credible,” said Democratic Senator Paul Kirk of Massachusetts on the blatantly-corrupt Afghan government.
He added: “We should not send a single additional dollar in aid or add a single American serviceman or woman to the 68,000 already courageously deployed in Afghanistan until we see a meaningful move by the Karzai regime to root out its corruption.”
Seriously, Mr. President.
If Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the British and USSR Soviet Communist Empire could not successfully conquer Afghanistan, do we really think that an eight-year-old war started by a dyslexic rodeo clown named George W. Bush and his Darth Vader puppet-master named Dick Cheney could ever be a winning endeavor?
Thus, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that placing a ‘double-down’ on a pair of ‘Afghan Eights’ will end up ‘busting’ our bank; both literally and figuratively.
Simply put; just because a ’surge’ worked in Iraq does not mean a ’surge’ will work in Afghanistan. With the only commonality being that these are both Muslim nations, comparing foreign policy strategies between these two countries would be the moral equivalient of saying that what is good for California would automatically be good for Vermont.
Mr. President, just like Dan Quayle was famously told in a 1988 vice-presidential debate that he “was no Jack Kennedy”; I can also assure you tonight, sir, that Afghanistan is no Iraq.
Thus, with two ongoing (and seemingly never-ending) wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, until we see our new President concretely trying to end these wars started by a pro-war hawkish administration, over 66.8 million Americans who voted for ‘change that we can believe in’ will be left wondering the following simple question:
“Dude…Where’s my anti-war president?”