Obama’s war speech: An unconvincing flop

by Justin Raimondo


After 92 days of waiting for the Word from on high, the nation received its marching orders from our commander-in-chief — and it was a flop of major proportions. As his West Point audience looked on disdainfully — applauding only twice, and then tepidly — President Obama tried to make the case that his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is really just a prelude to withdrawal. But is it?


Imperial blues

Our Future Blog
by Robert Borosage


President Obama made the best possible case for dispatching more troops to Afghanistan last night. But his speech left me with a haunting foreboding. Surely this is the way that great imperial powers decline. Their soldiers police the ends of the earth. There is always another enemy, always a threat — sometimes imagined, often real — that must be faced. And meanwhile, the productive economy declines, the rich live increasingly off investments abroad, the poor depend on public sustenance, the middle declines. No battle is so costly that it cannot be afforded; no battle so unimportant that the nation must not be mobilized. The soldiers become professionals, ‘volunteers’ in our terms. The institutions of the Republic — the Congress, the Senate — are scorned, often deservedly so. The executive decides the questions of war and peace. The secret state expands. The country finds itself constantly at war...


Dodging the real questions on Afghanistan

The American Prospect
by Tim Fernholz


The debate is over, the speech delivered, and 30,000 more American soldiers are headed to Afghanistan at the behest of President Barack Obama. He didn’t look too happy about it. No one should be surprised, especially not his supporters. This was the candidate who called Afghanistan the good war, promising to nearly double the number of troops there. Now, after last summer’s fraud-riddled presidential election and the contemporaneous increase in the Taliban insurgency’s strength, he is trebling America’s military commitment to the conflict. … Afghanistan is not an easy case. … Beyond policy disagreements, the politics, both domestic and international, left the president painted into a corner. But his speech Tuesday night didn’t add much energy to his case for escalation because he did not leave the narrow confines of conventional wisdom on Afghanistan — conventional wisdom that many, even in Washington, have questioned...


Obama’s war begins

by Fred Kaplan


When Bush left office, the United States contributed slightly less than half of the allied troops in Afghanistan. By the time Obama’s escalation takes hold, this share will have risen to 70 percent. This is becoming more, not less, of an American war. It is also not yet clear why President Obama picked 30,000 as the magic number of troops. Was it a compromise between the 40,000 recommended by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and some lower number reportedly suggested by Vice President Joe Biden? Was it driven, at least in part, by budgetary factors? More to the point, what will they do once they get there?


The Obama surge

Mother Jones
by David Corn


Prior to the speech, polls showed that about half of the American public was skeptical about the Afghanistan war. Presumably, these Americans already know al Qaeda’s plotters are evildoers. So this speech is not likely to sway millions. But what’s been said a few thousand times in the past few days is definitely true: Obama has now made the Afghanistan war his own. This speech was just the opening shot in what will be a never-ending campaign to explain and justify a war that itself may be never-ending...


Time to leave

USA Today
by Christopher Preble


Our social-engineering project in Afghanistan is a costly folly, one we could have avoided by heeding the proper lessons from the disastrous wars in Vietnam and Iraq. The president’s decision to double-down in Afghanistan parallels the Bush’s administration’s notion that unstable areas such as Afghanistan must be made ’safe for democracy’ or they will inevitably threaten U.S. national security...


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp




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