Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Send In More Troops! Wait.. What? NO!

Send In More Troops! Wait.. What? NO!

Yesterday Obama announced that he was going to send in 30,000 troops and I'm sure an unknown amount of mercenaries to Afghanistan and Pakistan for 18 months to see if he can wrap this mofo up.

His claim is that we can't just ignore the level of terrorism that could potentially come from those locations if we do leave it alone. Hey, do you guys remember when he tried to appeal to the independent voters and was really hawkish about Afghanistan and Pakistan when trying to outflank McCain? Ha. yeah, that was some time ago...

And at what cost will this run us up in the total? That's the real kicker. It seems the estimate is about a billion-dollars-a-day and that really pisses me off almost as much as the inevitable loss of lives. Considering Medicare-for-all would cost roughly $63 billion/year. Congrats! With one month's funding for two wars on terrorism, you could have provided the entire country with affordable and comprehensive medical care for a year!

Then again, let's be realistic here, the stat is roughly one million/Troop/year. So with 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, that's $100 Million a day. So the rough estimate is Iraq + Afghanistan = Universal Health Care.

Commentator David Sirota wrote a really great piece asking some tough questions about this plane. They're really simple questions and should be addressed or at least some thinking behind them should take place.

Tue Dec 01, 2009 at 20:41
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?
I would be literally shitting my pants if he just was addressing me, as a soldier and saying that I'm looking to the next 18 months of digging in the trenches and spread thin in these two locations.

- 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?
As much as I usually sound like I hate the troops, this is really an important question. How much positive are we really doing in these areas? Afghanistan is corrupt as all hell, do you really think our efforts will be matched?

- 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?
As much as I support Obama and voted for him, I really think that there should be some outrage to this. Yeah, it was a campaign promise, but now is not the time, especially when you have high unemployment rates and trying to work on UHC, to spend money so easily on an overseas war.

- 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?
Bush got us into this mess and instead of getting out, it looks like we're painting the walls red and making an even bigger mess. How are we going to really pull out in 18 months if it's in bad shape?

- 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?
This really does seem like not the case to feed a cough. Instead we should be starving that flu.

- 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?

I guess we can't really be angry at him. The dude said he was going to do this shit before the election. It literally is one of his campaign promises to go after Osama. Look at what Obama said in July of 2008;
"The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism," Obama said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."

"I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.

Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan.

"For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three," he told CBS. "I think it's very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities. But military alone is not going to be enough."

I mean, at least Bush and Cheney stood to directly profit from the wholesale slaughter of brown people using weapons Cheney sold us and recovering oil for Bush. But I'm all out of ideas on why Obama would be interested in this whole situation as he owns neither sorts of corporations.

It is just a matter of being re-elected in 2012, and you know that 18 month pull out plan is going to be delayed. Just look at Gitmo still up and running and with a hiring McDonalds. Polls aren't necessarily favoring this war, so obviously he has to be directly profiting from it somehow. Or perhaps he just doesn't give a shit. I mean, what's the chances of catching Osama? Really now.

While I realize that these were in his election promises. I do think that now that we see how bad this situation is, that we get something different. It really does seem odd that for all this CHANGE that we are hoping for, this sort of stuff sounds like more of the same. In fact, all the real change that happened was the President's speeches sound a bit more intelligent. But it still sounds like a Bush speech.

I'm not calling on the birth certificate nor am I going to jump on the teabaggers side on this, but really, It just seems Obama's plan to send in more troops to solve the issue is like burning money when we need it on more important, in house expenses.

It's bad enough that the number of suicides by our troops outnumbers the amount of deaths in Iraq so far this year. Do we really want to make sure that those numbers start inverting here? Maybe he's just sending those troops out to weed out the numbers a little and get that jobs available/ workers to fill them quote to balance out a little more?

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