Just a few quick questions to ponder after President Obama's speech announcing a massive escalation in Afghanistan - the very first being shouldn't we be able to honestly answer these queries before mindlessly cheering on a deployment of more troops to a Central Asian war zone?
Here they are in no particular order:
- What percentage of those kids in the West Point audience will die because of this decision?
- Would you be OK sending yourself or a loved one over to face combat and potentially death for the mission Obama articulated in Afghanistan? If not, how could you support sending other people?
- Why do so many pundits and pro-Obama activists continue to focus on how "hard" and "difficult" and "trying" this decision is for President Obama, rather than on how "hard" and "difficult" and "trying" this will be for the soldiers who are killed? Doesn't Obama get to make this decision, and then go home to the comfortable confines of a butlered White House, while thousands of Americans will be sent 7,000 miles from home to face their potential deaths? Isn't the latter "harder" than the former?
- Where's the antiwar movement and the marches and the organizing and the protesting? Where's all those well-funded groups that protested George W. Bush's war policy? Or was all that really just about hating George Bush and embracing blind Partisan War Syndrome?
- In the days and weeks after this speech, will the White House's cynical new spin get ever more desperate and become, hey - at least an Afghanistan escalation holds out the possibility of making sure military combat casualties start outpacing military suicides?
- Simple budget question: Should we now believe that escalating the Afghanistan War at the same annual cost of universal health care will save more than 45,000 Americans a year (ie. the number of Americans who die every year for lack of health insurance)?
- Did CNN really turn a move to send thousands of Americans to potentially die in Central Asia into an over-stylized, hyper-marketed television show called "Decision Afghanistan?" Is the media really that soulless, or did my eyes betray me? Because it's really hard for me to believe that even in this cynical age, a television network tried to make a cheap reality-TV show out of life-and-death decision that could affect tens of thousands of people.
- Which is worse - a stupid person like George W. Bush starting a dumb occupation, or a smart person like Barack Obama following the lead of that stupid person, but actually escalating that occupation?
- The "we're going to escalate war to end war" refrain throughout the speech - have we heard that before somewhere? It sounds sorta like "we'll burn down the Vietnam villages to save them." Just curious if that's what we're talking about here - because, ya know, that worked out really well.
- Are we really expected to believe that massively escalating a war is the way to end a war? I mean, really? Like, is the public really looked at like we're that stupid? And a follow-up question: Are we really that stupid?
- If Obama's Afghan War strategy about escalating a war to end a war was a self-help strategy for, say, alcoholics, wouldn't it prescribe drinking more whiskey to stop drinking - and wouldn't we all laugh at that?
- How many pundits will insist that bowing down to the Military-Industrial complex and escalating this missionless war somehow shows "resolve" and "strength" and "toughness" and "leadership" and not embarrassing weakness?
- Would the Obamaphiles now telling us to "give President Obama a chance" with this decision and/or defending Obama's escalation - would these same people be saying we should "give President McCain a chance" and/or defending President McCain's escalation if he was the one in office making this decision?
- I'm confused: Is this hope or change?