I didn’t watch the GOP debates; it’s far too early and too many of the candidates yet-to-announce actually weren’t there.
But McCain missed the point with his isolationism shtick.
We have been in Afghanistan for the better part of a decade, and there’s no end in sight. The government we’ve installed is weak and corrupt. We even allow the continued production of heroin. And that’s American blood on the ground over there.
We’ve been in Iraq for several years, and we can’t seem to find a way to leave there, either.
But no one wants to stay. No one wants to stick it out.
And that’s because we don’t know what “sticking it out” actually means, or looks like.
At this point, it seems to look like permanent combat. And presumably, no one supports that.
So, we only seem to have two choices:
Continue to send our kids into the region forever; or get out now.
As a result of what was said in the debate, McCain throws a fit:
"I wish that candidate Romney and all the others would sit down with General Petraeus and understand how this counterinsurgency is working and succeeding," McCain said Sunday on ABC News' "This Week."Well, we’re not going to do that. Oh, we may move troops into that region, but it won't "finish" a damned thing.
"And it still has enormous challenges; the Karzai government, the latest problems with Pakistan. But for us to abandon Afghanistan to the tender mercies of the Taliban and radical Islamic extremists, I think, would be repeating the mistakes we made before."
McCain, ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the counterinsurgency strategy was succeeding, and that he was in support of a modest withdrawal of 5,000 to 10,000 troops.
"It's clear that we do need to move into eastern Afghanistan and finish this fight with one more season," he said.
The problem I have is that “moving into eastern Afghanistan” isn’t going to finish spit, as long as the extremists continue to crank out more jihadists for their meat-grinder.
I believe the American people have come to realize that we really don’t have a plan. We are becoming increasingly aware that we really don’t have anything approaching a successful exit strategy, because we won’t do what has to be done.
We want out because we cannot see where anything we do, particularly based on our cowardly lack of political will, stands to make any difference.
“Finishing the fight” means doing things that no one, including McCain or Lindsey Graham, who with equally bumbling mendacity, told us that if we fail in Libya, it will somehow be the end of NATO; want to talk about.
Victory in the region means ending the threat from Iran. It means taking out Assad in Syria, who continues to slaughter his people with impunity while NATO and the UN fiddle, proving, again, how worthless those organizations really are.
Exclusive of the now well-documented stupidity of Obama’s foreign policy, my question for Graham is this: When has NATO EVER succeeded… in ANY mission? Hell, they couldn’t even handle a Podunk outfit like Bosnia until we came in and straightened everything out. Who CARES if NATO collapses? They can’t do anything ANYWAY.
America needs what it does not have and cannot get: a clear, unambivalent foreign policy with well-defined goals and a basic, common-senses strategy on how to achieve those goals.
In Afghanistan, we can’t even install a government that isn’t corrupt. We can’t end the drug trade by destroying the poppy fields.
In Iraq, we’ve failed to punish Iran for killing hundreds, if not thousands of Americans through surrogates and directly providing arms and technologies aimed at combat losses… meaning that for Iran, the issue is just a matter of time, of wearing us down, of forcing us out.
In World War Two, the strategy and the goals were clear. They were measurable. The balance between American blood spilled and proximity to those goals was easy to understand and articulate.
The American people were united behind achieving those goals, because they could see it and understand it.
And that was the last war where we were unified in its execution. It’s the last war where almost everyone sacrificed something through rationing, war bonds and defense work.
Now we fight our wars like Rome. And the outcome may likely be the same.
Here’s my take: I’m continuing to work to keep my son out of the military because the mission is senseless. As it is now, it seems to me that our only purpose in Afghanistan is to kill the bad guys… while doing nothing to our OWN bad guys, failing to understand that without a major policy shift, the SUPPLY of bad guys will be endless.
Graham (Who I’ve met and spent some time with a decade ago as part of GOP staff) is a very smart man. Articulate and aware. But when he says things like this:
"It is in our national security interest to make sure the Taliban never come back. If we fail in Afghanistan, they will kill every moderate who tried to help us, and no one in the future will step up. It will destabilize Pakistan beyond what exists today. It will be a colossal national security mistake," he said.I have to wonder. Because so far, no one, including Graham, has provided us with a vision or scenario where this is not the inevitable outcome.
In short, like Graham, I want to avoid this vision as well, but what Graham fails to do… what McCain fails to do… is to provide us with any clue as to how we are to avoid that outcome with the conditions we have now.
If we were to make every member of the Taliban or al Qaida vaporize this instant, the corrupt nature of the Karzai government would doom Afghanistan into continuing tribal warfare as well as continuing on as a fat prize for the pickings for the others in the region who view it like a sick water buffalo trying to cross a river full of crocodiles.
In Iraq, Iran continues to expand their influence and soon their power, because the United States, which can’t even keep those whack jobs from building a nuke or dozen or so, hasn’t done a damned thing about it.
McCain and Graham tell us we must stay. But they seem to blow through the psychotic foreign policy of the empty suit where one dictator slaughtering his people gets NATO intervention in an area that isn’t our problem (HELLOOOOO…. IS THERE SOME REASON THE ARAB LEAGUE COULDN’T HANDLE LIBYA?) and ANOTHER DICTATOR IN AN EVEN MORE IMPORTANT REGION, DOING THE SAME THING, DOESN’T GET THE TIME OF DAY?
Yeah. That’s a foreign policy the whole world can get behind…. Right?
So, no. Unless McCain and Graham can articulate, with some level of specificity, how we accomplish this, then no… we need to get out.
The alternative is just to stay there to kill people… because these morons are going to keep coming. Their religion breeds them. And unless the strategic plan is to wipe out the source of those willing to blow themselves up in pursuit of their goals; unless we can say for a certainty that our presence has made a difference… a PERMANENT difference… then it’s time to go.
Because, unfortunately, unlike World War Two, we’re fighting a nebulous, implacable enemy. And with the Moron-in-Chief we have, we’re doing it with one hand tied behind our collective backs.
Insanity has been frequently defined as doing the same thing, repeatedly, while somehow expecting a different outcome. Tell me again how we win this thing, Senators. Tell me again how we win when our president’s stated goal is just get out. Tell me again how we keep the Taliban and al Qaida from just laying low until we leave, and our program of Vietnamization is complete?
And by the way?
How did that work out for us?