My grandfather used to say there’s no such thing as confusion, it’s just not liking your options. The United States’ war in Afghanistan is very confusing. There are no good options. Just a bunch of pretty crappy choices: Stay forever. Leave now. Leave later. Same troops. More troops. Less troops. Help the corrupt government. Build things. Burn poppy fields. Occupy hearts and minds. It’s been eight years. No victories. Just a vast, mountainous, money pit.
There’s not any new strategy that will redeem the past eight years of mismanagement and neglect.
Wars used to be waged in order to gain things; land, gold, slaves, converts – freedom. Able bodied youths were sacrificed in order to receive tangible things useful for prosperity. The war in Afghanistan is akin to shadow boxing. It’s like a waitress tipping a customer so they won’t walk out on the check. It’s tragically stupid, tiresome and ultimately pointless, so no wonder we’ve collectively ignored it.
Afghanistan is the foster care system of foreign policy. It is the issue we all know exists, but it’s really sad and depressing and there’s no good solution so we push it out of our minds. We focus on other things like Tiger Woods, the Salahi party crashers, the Palin Vortex or Balloon Boy.
So now a new president who campaigned on change has given the war in Afghanistan – god forbid – some thought. And what Barack Obama has come up with is diplomacy, more troops and an eventual withdrawal date. So out of a slew of crappy choices – he picked – wait for it – some crappy choices. Choices destined not to make anyone happy.
So maybe the problem is that we want a war strategy that will make us happy. Because suddenly we were reminded we’re a nation at war and now we want the problem solved by a bumper sticker before the 11 o’clock news so we won’t lose any sleep.
There’s not any new slogan that will redeem the past eight years of mismanagement and neglect.
“As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests. And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces. I do not have the luxury of committing to just one,” said a strikingly non-swaggering Commander-in-Chief on Tuesday at West Point.
In analysis after the speech, the self-appointed pinhead-pronouncer Bill O’Reilly declared to his partisan pork rind pal, Karl Rove, “The problem with Obama is that he’s an academic.”
Yes, it was said. The problem with the most powerful man on earth is that he’s not a moron. That’s like criticizing a pilot for having too good of vision. “I prefer my man in the cockpit to be cripplingly nearsighted – who’s with me?”
The problem with the right-wing is they’ve been protesting against Obama, claiming he is a tyrant. They don’t know what a tyrant is, they just know that Thomas Jefferson said that the tree of liberty should be watered with their blood and they like the idea of dark men with weird names being fertilizer. So therefore the shoe fits. They’ve been protesting against tyranny when what they really want is a tyrant. Albeit a white one who agrees with them. One who tortures evil-doers, locks up homos, kills abortionists, funds abstinence, deports foreigners, bombs terrorists, hangs dictators, digs guns and never apologizes because everything they do is American because they say so.
That’s patriotic, dude. Love it or leave it, bitches.
As we’ve seen with the health care debate when Republicans want “bipartisanship” they really mean “only their way.”
The right-wing is like a rescue pit bull, yes they’re not bad per se as a breed but they’ve been beaten so they’ll attack and if you don’t take a firm upper hand, they’ll maul you. Meaning, the right has issues. Creepy, dark issues. They will never like Obama or anything he does. The horrible part is watching him try to reason with mouth-frothers. Especially when they want Alexander the Great, save the getting it on with dudes part. Of course, if he made it cool…said it was American…then…
The left is pissed because they want to witness the right’s comeuppance. They want to feel smug and vindicated that they were correct in their dismissal of George W. Bush and their clear precognition of his total and utter failure as a president. They want the spoils because they see themselves as the victors. And here’s this awesome guy with this cool exotic name they got elected and he’s – gasp – not bashing the right’s brains in and outing their wives who disagree with him. He’s not mean enough. He must be more forceful to unite the country.
So the right sees too much change and is unhappy and the left doesn’t see enough change and is unhappy. Confusing, no?
This brings me back to the war in Afghanistan. There was no way Obama – the man the right hates regardless and the president who the left wants to avenge them but isn’t – could have put a pretty glow on the quasi-quagmire we’ve ignored for eight years. It’s an impossibility. Much like a rosy outcome in Afghanistan.
And we as Americans are unhappy because there’s nothing that will redeem the past eight years of mismanagement and neglect.
This piece originated at True/Slant