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Still Crazy After All These Years

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The Obama gave his much-anticipated military escalation speech yesterday, and while our mainstream pundits were busy falling over themselves to provide “strategic analysis” as to whom he pandered to when, they paid very little attention to what he actually said.

For those who are interested then, a brief dissection of Obama’s remarks last night. He begins:

We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station.

As opposed to the way the US took the lives of innocent men, women and children with regard to their faith/race/station? Specifically, we “took the lives” of oh, 100,000 Iraqis and who knows how many Afghans, the majority of whom are poor and Muslim. So let it not be said that the US murders indiscriminately! We tend to prefer the poor, the Arab, and the Muslim.

A cheap shot with which to begin this discussion, but it sets the tone for the rest of Obama’s speech. He follows that gem with:

Under the banner of this domestic unity and international legitimacy — and only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden — we sent our troops into Afghanistan. Within a matter of months, al Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed.

Such mendacity appalls. As The Smoking Gun revealed in October 2001, the Taliban did agree to “turn over” bin Laden – that is, they agreed to extradite him to a third country (Pakistan), where we would later pick him up. The deal never went through because the US refused to show the Taliban the evidence it had gathered against bin Laden, asking them, in effect, to “trust us.”

In their words:

Taliban Ambassador Zaeef said, ‘We are not ready to hand over Osama bin Laden without evidence’.

One wonders what the outcome would be if, say, Saudi Arabia demanded we turn over one of our wealthiest citizens while refusing to give us any evidence of his culpability. I imagine we would say “No.”

Not to mention, of course, that under NATO law the Afghan war is illegal, as Afghanistan didn’t attack anybody.

Later, Obama gushes over how we’ve come a long way, baby:

Since then, we’ve made progress on some important objectives. High-ranking al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed, and we’ve stepped up the pressure on al Qaeda worldwide. In Pakistan, that nation’s army has gone on its largest offensive in years. In Afghanistan, we and our allies prevented the Taliban from stopping a presidential election, and — although it was marred by fraud — that election produced a government that is consistent with Afghanistan’s laws and constitution.

Wait… What? The election was “marred by fraud”, yet is still “consistent with Afghanistan’s laws and constitution”? Surely you jest, Mr. President! And the Afghan election deserves a stronger verb than “marred”, I think. Fully one-third of Karzai’s votes were fakes, according to the CS Monitor, and the United States blatantly pressured Karzai’s rival to drop out of the race, essentially making it a one-candidate ballot. Is that what Obama means by “consistent with Afghanistan’s laws and constitution”?

Apropos his decision to escalate the war by 35,000 extra soldiers, Obama remarks:

So, no, I do not make this decision lightly. I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. This is no idle danger; no hypothetical threat.

Sure. Except that none of the 9/11 hijackers were from Afghanistan (15 of them were from Saudi Arabia – you know, our best friend in the Middle East – and two were from the United Arab Emirates, our other best friend).

So anyway, according to Obama:

These facts compel us to act along with our friends and allies. Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.

That’s a nice bit of alliteration: but what does it mean? “Disrupt, dismantle, and defeat” – is Al Qaeda some sort of nefarious robot or something? Actually, according to Marc Sageman (whose recent book, Leaderless Jihad, caused quite  a stir last year), “Al Qaeda” and “The Taliban” don’t even exist, as such. Instead of cohesive, top-down organizations, these catch-all terms refer instead to what Sageman calls “bunches of guys”, decentralized pockets with no general leadership and wide, disparate goals. If Sageman is correct our entire “counter-terrorism” paradigm is wrong, and our efforts to “kill or capture Al-Qaeda leaders” have almost no effect on “their” ability to operate. And 35,000 soldiers can do nothing about that.

And now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what’s at stake is not simply a test of NATO’s credibility — what’s at stake is the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.

With evidence that our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan have precipitated a seven-fold increase in worldwide terrorism, one wonders exactly what Obama is talking about.

The days of providing a blank check are over. President Karzai’s inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction.

His speech sent the right message? Well what kind of message did his massive electoral fraud send? Shouldn’t we listen to that one?

The Obama ends (finally!) with:

America — we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes. (Applause.)

*Sigh* Well, what more can one say?

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Written by pavanvan

December 2, 2009 at 2:46 pm

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