Quick Reax to Leaked Obama Afghan Plan


Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    Bleah. I don’t like Obama’s plan. Then again I didn’t like any of the other plans that have been offered short of just getting the hell out. Here’s hoping scenario #1 takes place.Report

  2. Avatar Patio Furniture says:

    Let me quote from Melissa Harris-Lacewell’s recent article in The Nation (http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion/502243/psalm_137):

    “As a candidate, Barack Obama made it clear that he believed Afghanistan, not Iraq, was the most important theater in the war against terror. Strategically, I am not distressed by the decision. Even as he deployed more soldiers, President Obama, unlike his predecessor, offered clear objectives, an exit strategy, and a timeline for withdrawal. Politically, I am less worried than some on the Left, who perceive Obama’s decision as equivalent to Johnson’s choice to escalate in Vietnam. The parallels are not as straightforward as televised versions of American history would lead us to believe.”

    For me personally, I couldn’t agree more with her assessment. Throughout the entire campaign, Barack Obama constantly spoke about how we got “our eye off the ball” and that direct, clear action needed to be taken in Afghanistan. We as readers and the pundits we read can continue to sit back from the stands and preach or offer insight, yet I am seeing exactly what I was looking for back then. I basically dismiss almost all conservative pundits on the Afghanistan war nowadays, because they still can’t come to face reality that for years, this “front” on the War on Terror was neglected and forgotten. Now that its shifted from Iraq back to Afghanistan, everyone’s up in arms. Gimme a break.

    As North says above me, I too hope for Scenario #1.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes in reply to Patio Furniture says:


      I agree with you that Obama did say he was going to focus on Afghanistan. I believed he would do it then and so I’m not surprised (in general) either. I never believed this line that during the campaign he was only using Afghanistan as a ploy to look hawkish so he could be doveish on Iraq.

      My question is whether this counterinsurgency strategy is the best way to re-focus on Afghanistan. I’m not positively against, but I’m not convinced either.

      I can appreciate MHL’s point that the objective is more narrowly defined, but in the end it still (to me) bespeaks a mindset where “we” set the agenda on them and war conforms to our categories and strategies. War is chaos and Afghanistan has been for many previous occupiers, a graveyard for their schemes and well thought out military plans.

      Not to mention that Afghanistan is a pawn in a regional game–a game which I don’t think Pakistan (really the Pakistani Army) is willing to change, however much money we give them. They want groups in power in Afghanistan who are anti-Indian/pro-Pakistani. No amount of “pressure” on our part is going to change that. iow, I don’t see any way the Pakistani Army ever goes after people like Haqqani, Gulbuddin Hekmatyr, or the Afghan Taliban. Those dudes don’t represent any existential threat to Pakistan. The Pakistanis might not actively support them as much as they did in the past, but they won’t go after them.

      Those guys won’t be dealt in until after the occupying forces are gone. So at the end of the day various players in Afghanistan are going to decide that country’s political future not us (I don’t think). At most a surge and COIN strategy there re-jiggers the playing field a bit in the meantime and possibly gives a bit of a stronger hand to the side we support.

      But as long as there is a sanctuary in Pakistan (and there will be), the insurgency will wait out the occupation. I could be wrong about that but I doubt it.

      But this whole notion of an anti-corruption campaign is utter nonsense. My guess is that after we leave the various players will make some deals and possibly (probably?) some of them will still have ties to al-Qaeda. It just depends I guess on how strong/effective/operational any such ties are.Report