December Is For Dismember

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Memo to America: ENJOY YOUR EXTRA WAR.

Obama's giving his Afghanistan speech tonight, but it doesn't matter. They've already leaked what it's going to say, and even if the hadn't, it would be entirely predictable. More troops so that we can win. No benchmarks, no timetables, just more troops so that we can win and thereby not lose. Because we can't lose.

It's not really Obama's fault. I mean, yeah, it is Obama's fault, in that he's not the kind of person willing to become a massively unpopular, one-term president who does things that are in the best interests of the country despite their being politically suicidal. But it's not really Obama's fault that getting the fuck out of Afghanistan is political suicide. That's the fault of the rest of the Democratic party and most of the center-left establishment that passes for "liberals" in this country.

It's their fault because they're the ones who set up Afghanistan as the good war while Iraq was a bad war. You can't lay that framework at the feet of the Republicans, because to the Republicans, all wars are good wars. No, the Democrats, from 2001 onward, are the ones who gave the Afghan war legitimacy, by telling us all that it's where we should have been spending our time and energy, instead of being "distracted" by the irrelevant and misguided Iraq war. Only problem is, the Afghan war was just as misguided.

The Afghanistan war is, in some ways, even MORE misguided than the Iraq war. The Iraq war was the product of greed and mad power-lust, and as a nation, we can take some small comfort into being duped into it, lied into it, whatever. The Iraq war was a deliberate act of malice by clearly identifiable individuals, and our collective shame is that we let it happen. And then we let it keep happening even after we knew it was a sham. But Afghanistan? That was pure, blind revenge. America got kicked in the balls, the foot came from the general direction of Afghanistan, so we decided to murder whoever kicked us and stick their head on a pike as a warning not to fuck with us.

Which would have been fine if that's all we'd done and it was over six months later. Well, it wouldn't have been fine. It'd still have been wrong, but at least it wouldn't have been wrong AND mind-bogglingly stupid and costly. So instead we stuck around, spent money, got blowed up a lot, and all so the vaguely-identified bad people there don't let the other vaguely-identified bad people who aren't there anymore come back there and plan vaguely-identified bad things to us in the vaguely-identified future.

To this day, there isn't a shred of rational thought in the entire debate over Afghan war policy, because nobody is willing to admit that invading Afghanistan is a mistake. And nobody's willing to admit it now because every single person in power right now fell in line behind the idea that it WASN'T a mistake. They got behind invading Afghanistan to prove that they weren't wussy gay liberals who hated all war, even a war to strike back at some of the people who kicked us in the balls on 9/11. And now they have to keep supporting the Afghan war because they helped create a political environment where the only sane thing to do is the only thing nobody can get away with doing.

For fuck's sake, we're not even close to being out of Iraq yet, and we pretty much all came around to the fact that THAT was a mistake two or three years ago. We're going to be in Afghanistan for another decade at this rate, because we can't leave until we win, and we can't win. Thirty thousand more soldiers go in, we have no idea how to get them out, and the only guy they call crazy is the guy that thinks maybe there ought to at least be an extra tax so that we can pay for it. Dumb on an epic scale.