President Obama made almost the exact right call yesterday in terms of announcing the troop drawdown in Afghanistan - leaving 10,000 by the end of the year (I believe it ought to be ZERO), half that number by 2015 and all out by 2016. As Obama put it, almost echoing the words of JFK in Sept. 1963 on Vietnam, ultimately it is their country and they have to use their own forces to defend it - the U.S. can't be the cop of the world.
But the militarists and their sycophants don't get that, and don't want it. This morning on MSNBC ('Morning Joe'), Richard Haas called it "policy by calendar". Well, uh duh - yuh think! Ultimately, not so much "by calendar" but the understanding by Obama that this country doesn't have the infinite resources to keep troops all over the damned planet forever (we currently have 4,417 bases worldwide at a cost of nearly $1 trillion annually). In a low- tax nation, that refuses to even pay for the two wars of choice instigated over 10 yrs. ago, how does this make sense? It doesn't.
The fact is we simply can't afford nation building as Haas wants us to keep doing, nor does he have a clue of the ongoing costs. Maybe he needs to look more closely at how the VA can't even care for the mass of existing vets, because of the lack of resources, money to fund doctors, staff - and then he wants many more thousands to remain in harm's way? And who will ensure they get the care they need when they return maimed or with PTSD?
Gen, Michael Hayden (Ret.) is also not much better as he chimed in this morning on the same program arguing that the number remaining is "at the low end of what should be" and compared Obama's Afghan drawdown plan to leaving zero troops behind in Iraq (forgetting that Iraq was an illegal war to begin with and we had no business barging in there.)
Hayden complained - as pertaining to Iraq: "You don't have the Americans as a dampening effect. You can't guarantee that the worst won't happen."
Well, maybe it will! But again - we can't control the world, or what happens in every nation - nor should we try to! We can't control what happens in the Central African Republic with hundreds of thousands already slaughtered there - but then we never ever considered barging in. Why Iraq and not the Central African Republic? Well because there are no oil fields in the latter!
Hayden's argument that Obama is about to make the same mistake in Afghanistan as in Iraq is just plain bollocks and balderdash on its face. His premise is that we will have to leave a troop presence there, come hell or high water. The other nitwit, Haas, agreed - asserting that troops "ought to be left in place so long as conditions merit."
So long as conditions merit? Hello! Conditions will always merit because the Taliban isn't going away any more than the Viet Cong were going away in 'Nam. You can't just try to control an entire nation in perpetuity when our own is falling apart at the seams. Hence, Haas' blather about staying on to provide security and "nation building" is plain nuts. No sane person is going to take you seriously about "nation building" when your own country is coming apart and you've manifestly shown you can't even nation build at home!
MSNBC's Willie Geist actually asked Haas if he was really prepared to "keep troops in Afghanistan in perpetuity", given if they're even left there until 2016 it will have been 15 years which "ought to be long enough" and "besides I don't think at any point we leave it will ever be a perfect place".
Haas, moron that he is, actually replied "As long as it made sense. We've kept troops in Korea now for 60 years and Americans are comfortable with that."
But no intelligent American should be comfortable with that because it means accepting a diversion of badly needed resources away from domestic needs to outposts that have no direct impact on our own security - no matter what the hyper-militarists claim. For perspective, South Korea now has all the wherewithal it needs to fend off any North Korean attack, so we are effectively redundant.
"Oh but wait, if South Korea needs us we have to wade in".
No, because then China will weigh in and we're in no more shape to take on China than we are Russia no matter what pissants like McCain or John Bolton claim. We have to leave the Koreas to resolve their issues just like we have to leave Ukraine to resolve its, and Europe to resolve its - hence the need to get U.S. bases out of Germany that have been there since the end of WWII. As my German friend Reinhardt put it: "We Germans no longer need American babysitters!"
People need to grasp that the military overstretch we see is directly connected to economic misfortune and regression at home. The terribly low minimum wage, the massive student debt, the growing inequality, the VA's inability to care for vets are all tied to our overwhelming military presence around the world consuming precious resources - and basically, something has to give. If we aren't prepared to cut back our yen for empire, we will see ever more suffering at home....and even....as author David Cay Johnston put it in a recent salon.com interview, civil distress so severe it might even incite a revolution that will be "the bloodiest the world has ever seen".
Is this what we really want? To go the way of Rome? If not, we better get control of the military bullshitters and their lackeys soon....very soon...and put this nation back on its own path to nation building for the future instead of squandering blood and treasure trying to be the cop of the world.