Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Let me say from the outset that I was on the fence on Afghanistan. I saw the arguments from both the "stay" and "withdraw" camps and I wavered from one to the other. I both supported going into Afghanistan and participated in protest marches against it (for me it was not against why we went, I protested the general "Bomb it all" approach of the Bushies).

Then the President made his case on Tuesday, December 2nd. My response immediately after the speech was, "OK. He sold me."

Boy, did some of my fellow progressive tweeters give me hell for that. Some even said they felt "betrayed" by the President because he announced more troops for Afghanistan and didn't say "OK, we're outta there starting right now."

Well, better look at this then: Obama Campaign Promises: Afghanistan

What he said in his speech is what he ran on in 2008.

Now, about why we need to be in Afghanistan - first, remember this?

The right says we forgot all about it and we don't care about terrorism anymore. Well, I certainly do remember and real terrorism threats matter to me. Same goes for the President.

It doesn't matter that the terrorists who did this were Saudis or anything else - what matters is that they trained and were sent out to do that from.....Afghanistan.

Here's the deal, folks. A lot of the criticism from the left is saying that what Obama is doing is exactly what Bush did and the Soviet Union before him and will fail just like they did. Sorry, but I don't see it. I've put this challenge out before and it's still out there: I'll give you that point.....the second you've shown me anything President Obama has said about regime change, taking Afghanistan over, occupying it or anything else Bush and the Soviets did.

OK, it's a trick question: Obama never said anything like that, either when he was campaigning or now. If and when that changes, I'll jump right over to the Withdraw Now camp. Right now, I'm still with the Prez.

Now, it's a given that if Bush had finished the job I and every Democrat in the Senate and all but one in the House supported, Obama would never have had to have given that speech or send 30,000 more troops into Afghanistan. However, this doesn't mean we can now leave the job he failed to do undone.

That's just not acceptable.

The President also said on Tuesday that Afghanistan is not in imminent danger of falling to the Taliban and the number of Al Qaeda there now number between 100-200. Also true...right now. If we just packed up and left, that'd change in a hurry.

Imagine a restored Taliban-controlled Afghanistan giving Al Qaeda the green light to re-open their terrorist training camps then turning their attention to gaining control of a nuclear Pakistan as well. Then look at the picture above and imagine that happening again in America, maybe much worse. And no, this is not the same "excuse" the right used for staying in Iraq. There is a major difference that needs to also be remembered: there were no terrorist groups in Iraq before we invaded and occupied it. There most certainly were and still are in Afghanistan. Imagine them rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of getting their safe haven back.

Withdraw now and you won't have to imagine it for very long. It'll all be very real and in a very short time.

I understand some of this reaction - Obama hasn't been in office for even a year quite yet and we haven't quite gotten that nasty Dubya taste out of our mouths yet. You can see that in the reaction to the fact that non-SuperObama hasn't changed all the bad things and made America a paradise on Earth yet and it must mean that's because HE'S JUST LIKE BUSH!

Oh please. We did not elect a photo negative version of W - not even close.

This also means that the way Obama will conduct the war in Afghanistan will be anything but JUST LIKE BUSH! We're there to do two things militarily - make sure that terrorists don't come back in and set up business and tamp down the Taliban to a level where the Afghanis can handle it on their own. Then we get the hell out. Diplomatically and financially, we'll supply the aid to repair the country and establish a stable government there that was promised by the Bushies then promptly forgotten in their urge to get into Iraq.

Iraq was an unnecessary war sold by lies - this doesn't mean that every war we do is the same. Sometimes, even with the terrible costs that go with it, a war is necessary. Afghanistan is that war. The threat coming from inaction isn't the ravings of a Rush-driven neocon after a day of Fox Noise lies, it's real this time.

President Obama may have inherited this war but he'll end it after the job is done.

I stand with our President.

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