The United States is a uniquely exceptional country in the world and always has been. Take the former Soviet Union as an example of how superior the US. is. The Soviets were silly enough to allow communist authoritarians to rule over them. The U.S., on the other hand, is a much more advanced society in which only corporate oligarchs can be our authoritarian rulers. The U.S. is a Christian nation and the former Soviets were only godless atheists bound for hell.
The Soviets were foolish enough to invade Afghanistan in 1979 where they experienced a nine year quagmire of futility, and then left in 1989, not able to complete their mission of defeating the cave-dwelling Mujahideen. It is widely held that the Soviets foolish adventure in Afghanistan led directly to their disintegration as a superpower.
The United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and are still experiencing a quagmire of futility 8 years later in what has been declared an attempt to defeat a medieval-Islamic group called the Taliban.
See? We're superior to the former Soviet Union. We're smarter. We don't make the same mistakes the godless atheists did.
The issue before the new American President is what to do now as we start our 9th year of quagmire. Having appeared 13 times so far this year on the Villager Sunday teevee morning shows, President John McCain, unelected but entitled to make our military decisions because....well...just because.....had this to say yesterday to Obama as 31 congressional members met with the elected President Obama to exchange ideas on our Afghan quagmire.....
Mr. McCain told the president that “time is not on our side.” He added, “This should not be a leisurely process,” according to several people in the room.
A few minutes later, Mr. Obama replied, “John, I can assure you this won’t be leisurely,” according to several attendees. “No one feels more urgency to get this right than I do.”
After the meeting, Mr. McCain warned against any middle ground. “Half measures is what I worry about,” he said. Citing the Bush administration’s experience in Iraq, he added that half measures “lead to failure over time and an erosion of American public support.”
Anyone remember the unelected President McCain chiding the genuinely-unelected President Bush about "half-measures" or "leisurely" approaches to Afghanistan when the genuinely-unelected President Bush was defrauding America into a new war of choice? Anyone?
McCain warns: "There's been this argument that the threat now is not Al Qaeda ... The fact is, we all know that if the Taliban come back, Al Qaeda will come back. And they will come back in Afghanistan and they will come back in Pakistan."
The unelected President McCain's speciality is military strategy and foreign policy....and when it comes to those specialities, McCain is really, really smart. As Digby points out from this report....
The Taliban now has a permanent presence in 80% of Afghanistan, up from 72% in November 2008, according to a new map released today by the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS). According to ICOS, another 17% of Afghanistan is seeing ‘substantial’ Taliban activity. Taken together, these figures show that the Taliban has a significant presence in virtually all of Afghanistan.
President McCain: "if the Taliban comes back".....umm, Maverick, they're back. And what of al-Qaeda whom Johnny Mac said emphatically, "will come back", if, you know, the Taliban comes back?
The head of U.S. Central Command said Sunday that Al Qaeda is no longer operating in Afghanistan, with its senior leadership having moved to the western region of Pakistan.
" I do not see indications of a large al-Qaida presence in Afghanistan now," McChrystal told reporters at the Dutch Defense Ministry, where he met military officials.
He said that according to the maximum estimate, al-Qaida has fewer than 100 fighters operating in Afghanistan without any bases or ability to launch attacks on the West.
Whatever the Villager Choir and the Just Say No GOP Chorus have been, and will be, singing near term about al-Qaeda coming back if the Taliban comes back......it simply is not so.
There may be legitimate reasons to continue to strike at the skeletal remains of al-Qaeda inside Afghanistan.....but the "return of the Taliban" is not one of them.
We need to remove as many troops from Afghanistan as soon as we can, even if the Afghanis choose to support the already-returned Taliban. Our mission was to destroy the al-Qaeda network. We've made great progress towards fulfilling that mission.
We won't do any of that, of course, because we, unlike the former Soviets, are uniquely exceptional. Even when we make tragic mistakes, we don't. So, expect the same hew and cry from the neo-conservatives and the same braying from the military-industrial complex supporters in Congress.....and a continuation of a no-end-in-sight quagmire in Afghanistan accompanied with loud cheerleading about how we're "going to win."
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