Wisely therefore, while Mr. Obama gave us a definite time-span of 18 more months for war ... not so for withdrawal. I think he knows in his heart that once he has now taken this fatal step toward escalation, there's no getting out. To avoid that, Obama would have to do the right thing, the Monte Python thing, and "Run away, run away"--something that for some reason no President has ever done. Even though it's common sense in every other walk of life. Cut your losses; don't throw good money after bad; know when to hold 'em ... etc., etc. But nooooo, le jeux sont faix now for Obama, and the losing roll of the dice can be read easily "between" the following lines:
Already, just yesterday, even these fuzzy time-schemes ("begin" is the weasel-word in the first sentence) have begun to be eroded by Obama's own people--namely Gates and Clinton--who spoke to the only definitive date of July 2011 as being far too early, thereby pushing the imaginary withdrawal schedule even farther into a vague future. In the Graveyard of Empires.
Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and BEGIN the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this this TRANSITION RESPONSIBLY, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will CONTINUE to advise and assist Afghanistan's security forces to ensure that they can succeed OVER THE LONG HAUL.
No, as much as our President would like to deny it--
For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. WE DO NOT SEEK TO OCCUPY OTHER COUNTRIES. We do not claim another nation's resources [not oil?] or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours [not the "gooks" of Vietnam?].
--we're there to stay. It's our history. For speaking of "empires"--we've got one, whether we like it or not. Bill Maher sounded the alarm last week on his HBO show. He did my homework for me, accompanied by his inimitably scowling wit. Enjoy:
Forget about bringing the troops home from Iraq [or Afghanistan]. We need to get the troops home from World War Two! Can anybody tell me why in 2009 we still have over 50,000 troops in Germany, and more than 30,000 in Japan? At some point these people are gonna have to learn to rape themselves ... Bush and Cheney liked to keep us all sphinctered up about how terrorists might follow us home. But actually we're the the people who go to your home and never leave. These are the facts: America has over 5000,000 military personnel on over 700 bases, with troops in 150 countries. We're like McDonald's with tanks. Including 37 European countries, because you never know when Portugal might invade Euro-Disney ... And why? How did this country get stuck with an EMPIRE? ... The reason is that once we land in a country, there is no exit strategy. We're like cellulite, herpes, and bad Irish relatives ... we aren't going anywhere. We love you long time.
Over the last half-century-plus, starting with Korea and no end in sight, the only exception to this rule has been a country that Bill didn't mention: Vietnam. We got outta there. On no uncertain terms. Therefore, the Vietnamical corollary to the American Invasion and Occupation Rule must be: The only way to be rid of the our military presence, once it's there, is to wait for it to devastate your country completely; to kill hundreds of thousands of your civilians collaterally; to sacrifice the lives of over 50,000 of its own senselessly; and, most important, for it to be defeated ignominiously. As for you folks in Afghanistan?... not quite there yet. We're destined to "love you long time."