I'm losing the battle...

Jeff Golden

Picture 5 ...to give the O Administration some benefit of the doubt.  I've tried to do that because 1) what O inherited on Jan 20 was a thankless task and a multi-dimensional mess that is FUBAR   2)  any criticism that might indirectly bolster attacks from the Limbaugh-Beck-Kristol-Gingrich axis is problematic  and 3) my four years in the modest job of County Commissioner taught me that things look much, much simpler from outside than they do from inside. 

    But I'm slipping.

Wednesday morning at the gym I subjected myself to 10 minutes of Limbaugh's raging about Obama's speech the night before on Afghanistan.  In the midst of a cascade of reactionary, rabidly ugly remarks, I heard one I agree with: "If you're not going in to win, DON'T GO IN AT ALL!"  It is painful to agree with Rush Limbaugh.  You're forced to reflect.

I don't think Obama's going in to win because he has the brains and informational resources to know that, like the dozen powerful invaders before us,  we can't "win" in Afghanistan, not in any sense of the word that most Americans would recognize.  The right-wing critique that it's lousy strategy to announce withdrawal dates as you're entering, that that tells your foes to wait it out and tells the civilian population it's too dangerous to help us, sounds right to me.

So IMJ this new strategy, if that's the word for it, makes no sense on the merits.  It makes sense only as a possible evasion of political conflict in the short run:  "If I ignore the generals and refuse to send in more troops, the Right will cream me; if I send in troops without announcing some end dates, the Left will."   And so we have the split-baby decision he announced Tuesday night. 

Except that these split babies, coming as they do from expediency rather than conviction or policy coherence, don't keep him from getting creamed just the same.  The same exact dynamic is playing out in the health care reform saga, and we're only just beginning to see how well that's working out.

George Will's syndicated column this morning on Afghanistan ends with the sentence "This will not end well."  He's another guy who's tough to agree with.

Comments

  • selective listening (unverified)
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    I think what the man said is pretty clear. It seems that many prefer not to fully acknowledge what was in fact said last night.

    there are those who oppose identifying a time frame for our transition to Afghan responsibility. Indeed, some call for a more dramatic and open-ended escalation of our war effort -- one that would commit us to a nation-building project of up to a decade. I reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost, and what we need to achieve to secure our interests. Furthermore, the absence of a time frame for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.

  • (Show?)

    I am still amazed by the number of people who seem to have completely missed President Obama said about this subject, repeatedly, during his presidential campaign.

    I think part of the reason why this country is in such bad shape is because there are so many, on both the right and left, who have become amazingly adept at selective listening. They hear only what they want to hear, see only what they want to see, facts be damned.

    And when the facts get so blatant that they can no longer ignore them, they immediately turn to petulant insults. In this case, posted on the front page of BlueOregon, the morph of Obama and Bush.

    The fact that he actually listens and tries to make the best of a bad situation is what is so different about President Obama. And the person who most closely resembles George Bush, at least in terms of mental maturity, and Rush Limbaugh fanboyism, is the author of this article, Jeff Golden.

  • (Show?)

    If the Afghanis weren't prepared to form an effective military and an effective ruling authority, they shouldn't have invited us in to topple their previous government in the first place.

    Oh, that's right . . . they didn't.

    I guess the only thing left is to apologize, offer to pay for the breakage, and leave.

    Ironically, before World War II, the idea that "winning" a war meant occupying a country and imposing a new government was not generally accepted. There can be several outcomes short of "winning" that could vindicate Obama's strategy in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    First, that picture is beyond creepy. Don't do that again, okay?

    Second, I understand your point. It does feel like Obama is trying to be all things to all people in many areas. But as you point out, that just sets him up to get slammed from both sides.

    Third, we will be in Afghanistan beyond July 2011...those "changing conditions on the ground" will require it. And by then Obama will be in the position of leaving "before the job is done" and thus being slammed for "cutting and running" or will extend our stay. If he pulled us out now, he could say that after careful consideration he feels that our continued presence in the country will cost more American lives and money than it is worth. But now that he's made the call he has, he's stuck. Yes, he inherited this mess....but now he OWNS part of it through his own decision-making. We'll be there at least until we have a new president, if not longer.

    And yes, I still support Obama overall...but this decision is, I feel, a mistake and will come back to bite him...and the Party.

  • Dan (unverified)
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    Oh please. Enough with the whining about President Obama's decisions. This guy was built up by some to be the Messiah. In reality, he's a janitor, cleaning up the mess he was left with from Bush. He said repeatedly during the campaign that Afghanistan was where we should have focused our military after 9/11 and that he intended to finish the job there. So why are you ready to throw him under the bus for doing what he said all along he would. And the mash up picture with Bush is just bush-league all the way. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    In reality, President Obama has had a good first year in office, especially if he can make progress on health care. Is the world perfect because he was elected? No, far from it. But, is it better? Hell yes! Read this piece from the SF Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2009/12/02/notes120209.DTL

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "... because 1) what O inherited on Jan 20 was a thankless task and a multi-dimensional mess that is FUBAR "

    "Inherited" is not quite the right word. He sought to take over where Bush left off on inauguration day and has continued a number of Bush's policies ever since. Bush added wagons to the gravy train for the military-industrial complex, and Obama has let the operators know he is either a willing partner or their obedient servant.

    When he was running for election, Obama did indicate that he would build up forces in Afghanistan. Many of his supporters thought he was just saying that to get elected and he would prove to be a man of peace after he became president. These supporters should now stand disabused of any high hopes they had for their "president of change."

    A candidate for the most bizarre element in Obama's speech came with the proposition (crumbs to the left wing) that in July 2011 if conditions warranted it, the United States would begin withdrawing its forces. All of McChrystal's forces (including IED fodder) won't be in Afghanistan until July 2010 so that allows for a year in which these forces will get adjusted to being in Afghanistan and its problems AND pacify the Taliban AND decontaminate the corrupt Karzai government.

    Hands up all who believe that scenario has a chance better than a snowball's in hell of being achievable.

  • (Show?)

    "He said repeatedly during the campaign that Afghanistan was where we should have focused our military after 9/11 and that he intended to finish the job there. So why are you ready to throw him under the bus for doing what he said all along he would."

    Because it was probably the wrong position then, and surely is now. One needn't be surprised or feel betrayed to be disappointed, dismayed and discontented by the order. It didn't disqualify his candidacy or his Presidency--but it certainly diminishes both.

  • james r. bradach (unverified)
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    I still want to believe he is a thoughtful man. The talking point of what was said in the election is so lame I would rather have to stare at a clever picture than hear it's nauseating repetition. So change was just an election slogan and our man got into office and saw all that Bush has brought on us and so we continue. The bottom line is this America sucks and you will have to foregive us that we were clining to tattered threads of hope to something different was going to be said.

  • Bobby Z (unverified)
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    Come you masters of war You that build all the guns You that build the death planes You that build the big bombs You that hide behind walls You that hide behind desks I just want you to know I can see through your masks

    You that never done nothin' But build to destroy You play with my world Like it's your little toy You put a gun in my hand And you hide from my eyes And you turn and run farther When the fast bullets fly

    Like Judas of old You lie and deceive A world war can be won You want me to believe But I see through your eyes And I see through your brain Like I see through the water That runs down my drain

    You fasten the triggers For the others to fire Then you set back and watch When the death count gets higher You hide in your mansion As young people's blood Flows out of their bodies And is buried in the mud

    You've thrown the worst fear That can ever be hurled Fear to bring children Into the world For threatening my baby Unborn and unnamed You ain't worth the blood That runs in your veins

  • Tim (unverified)
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    " if I send in troops without announcing some end dates, the Left will."

    So the Taliban wait until the end dates pass, the troops go home, Obama delcares victory and the Taliban move back in....

    That's not much of a strategy.

  • KenRay (unverified)
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    Bobby Z, about your poem. Do you have one that aims any vitriol at the islamo-fascists who murdered almost 3000 Americans? Or is it always America's fault when someone hates us?

    CNN Story

  • KenRay (unverified)
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    Bobby Z, do you have a poem aiming your vitriol at the islamo-fascists that murdered nearly 3000 Americans just over eight years ago?

    Or is at always America's fault when people hate us

    CNN Story

  • (Show?)

    Please don't "help", KenRay.

    First, those are the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song. Second, 3000 "Americans" didn't die in 9/11. The world trade center was an international office building. Large numbers of citizens from all over the world died in it. No where near 3000 Americans did. Third, while Islam sports plenty of fruitcake religious nuts, they are hardly the only religion to do so.

    President Obama moving into Afghanistan isn't about vengeance after 9/11. It's largely about reconstruction - the same kind of reconstruction that we did in Germany and Japan after WW2. Anyone who studies that period in history knows that not all Nazis or Japanese Conservatives were killed in the war, and there were plenty of incidents in Germany and Japan that nowadays would be breathless reported as "terrorism". But it was very quickly snuffed out by keeping a U.S. soldier literally on every street corner.

    Which is what we're doing - finally - in Afghanistan.

    Anyone who thinks that adding 30K troops is going to cause massive increase in deaths has no clue about history. The real question is whether, after enjoying peace for the first time in 30 years, the pashtun will decide they like staying that way after we leave.

  • Mary Jones (unverified)
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    "In reality, he's a janitor, cleaning up the mess he was left with from Bush."

    Pray tell what messes has cleaned up.

    I see the old messes still festering (TARP, gitmo, black prisons, torture, transparency, deregulation) along with new ones being created (penalty-free recapitalization of banksters, ersatz health care reform, escalation in afghanistan, medicare cuts, voodoo economics tax cuts, cash for clunkers/house/appliances etc.)

    There is no question in my mind that this potus has performed worse than shrub this far into his first term.

    I fear for our nation.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "Bobby Z, about your poem. Do you have one that aims any vitriol at the islamo-fascists who murdered almost 3000 Americans? "

    The lyrics of that song said nothing, zilch, nada about America. Why, KenRay, did you infer it was directed at Americans?

    Try this War Prayer by Mark Twain. You'll find it easier to link Americans to the horrors of war; although, Twain seemed to be more opposed to war and its inhumanity than any particular nation when he wrote it.

  • Brian C. (unverified)
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    So "tough to agree with" = blind, knee-jerk partisanship vs. objective reasoning?

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    I'm sure our president is deeply hurt and troubled that Jeff Golden is displeased with him. And that undoubtedly weighed heavily upon him when he made the decision on how to best provide for the national security of the U.S. and to live up to his campaign promise to provide a winning strategy in Afghanistan.

  • alcatross (unverified)
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    Steve Maurer commented: 'Second, 3000 "Americans" didn't die in 9/11. The world trade center was an international office building. Large numbers of citizens from all over the world died in it. Nowhere near 3000 Americans did.'

    Steve, 90% of the 9/11 victims were American - ~2700 is certainly closer to 'nearly 3000' than 'nowhere near' 3000... Your point is taken that people from other countries also died on 9/11 but let's not start deliberately underestimating the exent of American casualties in some weird attempt to make it appear more of an international tragedy than an American one.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with the others that the attached photo is tasteless and does not belong on Blue Oregon from one of its bloggers. Kari, are you listening?

  • Jason Renaud (unverified)
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    Limbaugh is right. Wars need a noble goal to result in victory. Unfortunately he supported a president for 8 years who never intended to set a goal in Afghanistan or to win.

    What the 2008 election asked for, begged for, was a new set of eyes, uncorrupted eyes, to review every scintilla of evidence, every cockeyed scheme, every relationship, and tell us if further war in Afghanistan would benefit the world.

    We got what we wanted. An uncorrupted and new set of eyes on the problem, a complete review, and an answer. Now we need to support our president - the one we wanted.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "Now we need to support our president - the one we wanted. "

    As an old Chinese proverb warns: Be careful what you ask for. You may get it.

  • (Show?)
    But it was very quickly snuffed out by keeping a U.S. soldier literally on every street corner. Which is what we're doing - finally - in Afghanistan.

    Actually, it's not. The number of US and NATO troops in Afghanistan after the announced deployment will still be less than we had in Iraq at the height of the surge, in a country with a larger land area, more difficult terrain, and a population of a similar size.

    According to a study from the Army's Command and General Staff College in 2006 ("Boots on the Ground: Troop Density in Contingency Operations" [pdf]) the Army had 15 soldiers in occupied Germany for every 1,000 residents. The figure for Japan was 8 per 1,000. And that was in the post-war phase. The figures in Iraq and Afghanistan have never gotten anywhere near those figures, even with active combat operations (we sent over half a million soldiers to drive Iraq out of Kuwait). We'd need about 400,000 troops in Afghanistan to match the troop:population ratio of postwar Germany.

    But, of course, that's the kind of talk that got Gen. Shinseki into trouble back in 2002 when he was testifying to Congress that we'd need several hundred thousand troops to stabilize Iraq after an invasion.

  • Nick P. (unverified)
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    Afraid to criticize the Imperialist in Chief and not a word about how this will impact the people of Central Asia...

    BlueOregon wins again!

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)
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    I heard Candidate Obama saying things that made me cringe during the campaign, but I was hoping he'd veer left after the election. Instead he veered right. I was hoping his Constitutional Law background would play a bigger role in the decisions he made. I was even hoping for some prosecutions of the likes of Dick Cheney. Instead we have Bush Officials roaming the countryside actively bragging about the war crimes they committed. There is also a movement to get Dick Cheney to run for President. Wouldn't that be lovely? I don't blame anyone who supported Obama. America needed a lucky break. We needed to have a great leader show up in the nick of time. The feeling was that America could not withstand another terrible president, so it was worth getting our hopes up. From what I've seen so far, we didn't get a great leader, and that is truly scary. My hope now is that America will still endure long enough to self-correct, but the chances of it falling completely apart are greater than ever. I'm going to do a tribute to my Mom here for a second and come up with a completely unrealistic way this could still work out great. George W was a moron. Our best hope with him was that he would lose interest. Maybe Barack Obama will have a moment where the light goes on and he realizes just getting to the White House means nothing unless he does great. He needs a leadership epiphany. That's really our best hope because right now he is blowing this right out his ass.

  • (Show?)

    Obama is not the problem -- what it takes to become president is. For too long dollars have spoken louder than common sense.

  • tim albert (unverified)
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    Jeff, President Obama's strategy is twofold. His first objective is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. If that is succesfull the political payoff would be off the scale. If the first scenario fails, he still wins since he went with his General's best plan and gave it a good effort. Either way he wins.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    "President Obama's strategy is twofold. His first objective is to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. If that is succesfull the political payoff would be off the scale. If the first scenario fails, he still wins since he went with his General's best plan and gave it a good effort. Either way he wins."

    Goody for him....what about our soldiers? What about those who die so Obama can "win" and their families? This isn't the Oregon Civil War Football game. Staying in Afghanistan is folly. I said so when Obama was running and stated his intentions. I stand by it now.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)
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    The Democratic Party strategy was to use the anti-war movement to retake Congress in 2006, but then rather than choke off funding for Iraq, just go along and use the anti-Bush sentiment to win the White House in 2008. The strategy worked and the Dems finally had the power to end these wars by blocking any legislation that would continue funding them. So what happens next? The President whom the young anti-war types worked so hard to elect, has turned into a Republican hawk. And the Dems who didn't bother to stand up to Bush after 2006, are now faced with huge losses in 2010 because they didn't do the right thing when they had the chance. At some point, acting like a hawk, because you don't want to be criticized, just means you're a hawk yourself. The Bush administration was horrific, but isn't it worse in a way, to pretend you're the answer and crush the hopeful spirit out of the long suffering American People? I mean Bush threw us off the yacht and we were treading water in open seas. We only had a short time left to be rescued from drowning, when along came a ship with Pelosi and Obama, and the rest of them, and we were joyful and relieved. Their ship slowed down, and we reached out our hand, and then the ship just sailed away.

  • james r. bradach (unverified)
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    I think we have evolved to the point that we should play full contact war here at home. All the benifits without the shame of killing children. I can see no reason to involve the worlds peasantry in our blood sport. If this is absurd, all you smart folk need to take a deep breath of reality. We have wasted 10 years being frightened because men with poor ideas like to yell.
    Grasp this, bin laden is more at ease than you are and forever will remain so. Post 9/11 thinking NOW!

  • (Show?)
    My hope now is that America will still endure long enough to self-correct, but the chances of it falling completely apart are greater than ever.

    Well, there was the whole Civil War thing, Bill (and I don't mean Ducks and Beavers).

    I've got a little project that addresses your "acting like a hawk" comment that you might find amusing, if I ever go ahead and launch it.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    Check juancole dot com's December 4 posting for informed comment on the latest bungling step in Afghanistan.

  • KenRay (unverified)
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    Notwithstanding the Bob Dylan lyrics didn't actually mention "America," the lyrics are on a blog ranting and raving about war-mongers and an imperialist America. Hmm, how could I possibly infer any nuance of meaning out of that?

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)
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    Darrelplant, It's interesting that you bring up the Civil War, because I've read that one thing that could happen if our out-of-control debt eventually sinks us, is that various groups of States will break away and form new countries, as in the former Soviet Union. Gee, and they were in a pointless un-winnable war too...where was that again? Oh yeah, Afghanistan.

  • (Show?)

    The President whom the young anti-war types worked so hard to elect, has turned into a Republican hawk.

    No. The president stayed with the same Afghanistan policy that he ran on.

    Agree or disagree with the policy, but don't blame Obama for misleading. To the degree that anyone's surprised, it's their own listening skills that should be in question.

    Again, there are lots of Blue Oregon regulars that opposed the policy then and still oppose it. Whether I agree with them or not, they've taken the trouble to stay informed, unlike those suffering from the scourge of surprise.

  • (Show?)
    Gee, and they were in a pointless un-winnable war too...where was that again? Oh yeah, Afghanistan.

    The crazy thing is, the Soviets didn't even have to fly everything half-way across the world and cross countries like Pakistan to get supplies and troops in to wage a war in Afghanistan. Back in the day, they could just drive their tanks and fly their helicopters across the border. And they still went broke. I can only imagine that the Russians had to hold their guffaws in early this year when we agreed to pay them to let us use overland supply routes: "You vant to giff us dollars for qvagmire var in Afghanistan? Da! Da! Da! Kabul is that dat vey, tovarich!"

    I think we've got a ways to go before the US economy sinks to anything like what the USSR's was like before the breakup, but then again the Soviets started their withdrawal after less than eight-and-a-half years and were completely gone in just over nine. Under the current proposal, we're not even going to begin withdrawal until nearly the ten-year mark, and I hear there's still 100,000 troops in someplace called Iraq.

    If you've got a few minutes, you can't do better than at least listen to an interview from OPB's "Think Out Loud" earlier this week, when the host seems to have been a bit blindsided by Afghan-born Lewis & Clark professor Zaher Wahab, who was speaking to her from Kabul on the morning after Obama's speech (he starts about six minutes into the show).

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    The Real News Network - http://therealnews.com/t2/ - has an interesting interview on the Obama speech and "surge" with Lawrence Wilkerson.

  • (Show?)
    To the degree that anyone's surprised, it's their own listening skills that should be in question.

    Pat's right. Those people who voted for Obama and expected him to be anti-war were, indeed, stupid idiots sucked into the glitz and marketing with HOPE and CHANGE posters. Suckas! But as a famous man once said:

    There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.

    Sure hope the Democrats can count on those same idiots being just as fooled come the 2010 elections.

    Heck, every presidential contender to the right of Dennis Kucinich (which was pretty much everybody except Mike Gravel) laughed at and criticized Obama's foreign policy naivete when he openly said that he might pursue terrorists into Pakistan. It's not that they wouldn't have done the same thing (or that those kinds of operations weren't already under way), they just wouldn't have been so blatant about it.

    Obama again takes heat over Pakistan comment August 7, 2007 | 8:04 pm Hillary Clinton summed up the basic criticism that she, Chris Dodd and Joe Biden have been directing at Obama. "I do not believe that people running for president should engage in hypotheticals," she said. "You should not always say everything you think if you're running for president, because it can have consequences across the world." Dodd chimed in, saying, "It was a mistake in my view to suggest somehow that going in unilaterally ... into Pakistan, was somehow in our interest. That, I think, is dangerous." ... Obama also had been ready a few minutes earlier, when the Pakistan matter first came up. He provided a sound bite that in one fell swoop reminded astute listeners that Clinton, Dodd, Biden and another of the presidential contenders, John Edwards, all voted as U.S. senators in 2002 to authorize the Iraq war (Obama, a state lawmaker in Illinois at the time, had criticized the push to attack the country). "I find it amusing," Obama said, "that those who voted to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me."

    Of course, we don't know for sure that Iraq was the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation yet. There's still time.

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)
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    It's not as easy as getting fooled. I remember saying throughout the campaign that I just wanted to be disappointed by someone I liked this time. I'm way too cynical by now to be a sucker. I actually miss being as idealistic as you give me credit for, but those days are long gone.

    And yes, I heard the wiggle room in Candidate Obama's speeches, but I hoped it was there so the right wing wouldn't tag him with it.
    
    My take was that we had to have a great leader and McCain and Hillary and Sarah Palin sure weren't it. I knew that even a great leader would be unlikely to steer America from the path it is on. This wasn't a gotcha moment although I will say it's nearly a worst case scenario. I mean look at Wall Street. Not a damn thing has been done to return Wall Street to a more regulated, less casino-like disaster. Sigh.
    
      Let me ask you this: Did you anticipate Karl Rove and Newt Gingrich turning into Obama cheerleaders? Did you see that coming?
    
     The thing about your point that is silly is you are saying, "If you had just listened to this candidate's words during the campaign, you would have known what was going to happen."
     That's ridiculous. What a candidate says is almost always different from what happens.
      I just hoped it would be good-different, instead of same-old-crap-different. 
     President Obama is a Republican hawk because he buys into the Bush Doctrine of Preemptive Strikes and renditions and all the weird stuff. For America to self-correct, that had to be an aberration, but Obama is seizing it like it was always there.
     I must admit, I was hopeful that he had more respect for the Constitution since he used to teach about it. Oh well, it was a nice country while it lasted. 
      P.S. I'm being glib. I never bet against America and I wouldn't write this if I didn't still have hope that we're going to turn this around.
    
  • Magnus Greel (unverified)
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    I glimpsed a tiny ray of light in the black void that is enlightened government policy yesterday! I only get into "grow" shops about once every few years, and was in yesterday. They've had little signs for years that say something to the effect that they can't discuss weed with you, even if you are a MM patient. So, imagine how gobsmacked I was to see a little sign that said, "Due to changes in recent Federal policy, we can discuss marijuana cultivation with Medical Marijuana patients, as long as proof of participation in the program is provided".

    Unfortunately that's all I can find for a year's work. I give him zero credit on Afghanistan since he continues renditions. Sure it's FUBAR on steroids, but there is absolutely no reason that he couldn't stop renditions overnight.

    Of course we know that he can't just tell the CIA what he wants, but it's become painfully (oh so) obvious, over the last 5 years, that readers of this blog still believe in the "great man" and the bully pulpit. So, assuming you're right, and he is in control, why renditions?

    When you exhaust likely scenarios on that one, maybe you'll start thinking about the unthinkable.

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    Bill, I wasn't suggewsting that I thought you were fooled; Pat had quoted the part of your previous comment about "young anti-war types" who'd worked to get Obama elected when he said they hadn't been listening closely enough. I assumed that, like myself, you probably voted for Obama and Biden over McCain and Palin out of a lack of any other option. That and the fact that I've never voted for a Republican in my life.

    But I think the die on Afghanistan was cast long ago, well before the election was won. Obama's solidly in the middle of the Democratic national defense spectrum, and that group -- particularly at the senatorial level -- has always favored a military policy that preferred to look strong and put on a game face of steely-eyed resolution rather than one that was was willing to step aside and avoid the oncoming bull. Doubly so once troops have been committed. Can't let all that blood and treasure go down the drain.

    With no start to the drawdown until 2011, Obama will be able to completely pull out and let things fall apart in Afghanistan in 2013 (if he's re-elected) or he can pass it off to Sarah Palin (if he's not). Or maybe a miracle will happen and the Taliban -- who've been in Afghanistan for twenty years -- will all be Raptured sometime in the next couple years and we can just let the whole thing go back to the warlords whose internal battles were what helped create the Taliban in the first place.

  • james r. bradach (unverified)
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    I hope people see the dimensions of the oncoming bull.

  • Bill Bodden (unverified)
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    "But I think the die on Afghanistan was cast long ago, well before the election was won. Obama's solidly in the middle of the Democratic national defense spectrum, and that group -- particularly at the senatorial level --"

    "Obama's solidly in the middle of the Democratic national defense spectrum, and that group..." is running offense for the military-industrial-security-academia-media complex.

    If you haven't checked the Lawrence Wilkerson interview on The Real News Network (link above), do it now specific for him reference to Dwight Eisenhower and the M_I complex.

  • Paul Cox (unverified)
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    CIA rulez!

    Here's proof of what I've been saying, who is really in charge. You think a liberal black man from Chicago can freely dictate our overseas military deployments? Keep thinking that.

    The #2 ranking Senate Republican, John Kyl of Arizona, concedes that they don’t have the votes to adopt a Stupak-like abortion ban amendment to the health reform bill. Sen. Ben Nelson is waiting to introduce it until the Catholic Bishops clear it.

    Even without the votes, we'll get it in. This is the acid test, proof positive! JFK was questioned, "will the Pope dictate US policy"? Now the Senate waits for the Church's clearance. It's about conservative v liberal. That's the bottom line on Afghanistan. Liberals are a minority in this country. You don't get your way. You might get a candidate that looks like what you want, that says what you want to hear, but you don't have a say in military policy. Never have, never will. Tell me, just who didn't learn a thing from Viet Nam.

    Conservatives liked Viet Nam. Only gripe is that it ended too soon. We've a new one. We win, again!

    Ever, hopefully.

  • Blue Aggadora (unverified)
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    Great photoshoppery! I did two exactly a year ago; 1 , 2 . Remember, "one white, one black, one blonde"?

    Of course, no one here wanted to talk about that, then. Was I not giving him a chance? Let me put it this way. If you buy a lottery ticket you have a chance of winning. Unfortunately, the bulk of the populace can't well judge the odds on that chance. That's why lotteries are ignorance taxes. The same ignorance that said give him a chance.

    I also lived in Chicago, and was nearly beaten to death during the Dem convention there in '68. Only time in my life I ever voted Republican. You cannot become somebody in the eyes of the Chicago machine and have any redeeming qualities. Period.

    Good post though. I'll feel better if it's followed up with, "Dennis Kucinich, We are SO Sorry!" But then, most aren't, are they? And that's why there's no hope for change.

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    I must admit, I was hopeful that he had more respect for the Constitution since he used to teach about it.

    Yeah, me too. It's pretty thin gruel that he stopped some of the more visible objectionable crap that was going on, while changing very little about the system that Dick built(OK, remodeled).

    I'm still hoping that the AG's office will keep making changes at the margins at least.

    Obama definitely knows better.......

  • Friends of the Aggadors (unverified)
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    Or is it always America's fault when someone hates us?

    Yes.

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    Mr. Golden,

    I respect your right to your opinion and writing it, but the picture really should be removed. It is very disrespectful of our Commander in Chief. I fully understand the notion behind the picture and the frustration you have with the Afghanistan surge. I am very conflicted about it and would be willing to share my opinion with you.

    Kari,

    I don't for the life of me understand why you would allow such a picture to be posted on Blue Oregon. While I understand you give your writers lots of leeway, I think this is assassin. I have no problem with what Mr. Golden wrote, but the picture is ridiculous and something I figured I'd only see on a right wing blog.

  • james r. bradach (unverified)
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    A picture? That's Talibanesque folks.

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    Kari,

    I'm going to continue to push you on this one. I've emailed you and will continue to do so until the picture in Mr. Golden's post is pulled. I encourage others to do so as well. You can email Kari through the Mandate Media webpage.

  • james r. bradach (unverified)
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    How much pressure does it usally take to have Kari remove something you dislike or not understand from the site?

  • james r. bradach (unverified)
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    O.K. I've Emailed the whitehouse and I'll send a letter off in the morning asking the president if this picture offends him. If I have misjudged Mr. Obama on this one, then America isn't and will never again be America.

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    Hey folks --

    I'm checking in here for the first time, having just seen Jeff's follow-up post.

    The photo is provocative, but that's sort of the point, right? There's certainly nothing offensive about it.

    John Calhoun calls it "tasteless", which I can appreciate. David English calls it "disrespectful", which I can understand too.

    <h2>But if I started removing everything on BlueOregon that was tasteless or disrespectful, well, you could call me Sisyphus.</h2>

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