Presidents Need a War to Call Their Own — Now Obama Has HisSubmitted by Liberty_Belle on Thu, 09/17/2009 - 09:37
On Afghanistan, there seems to be no coherent reason or vision as to why we are there. To "catch" Osama bin Laden, nearly 10 years after his crime? But you don’t have to take control of a country of 250,000 square miles and 33 million people in order to catch a terrorist leader. (Especially when it is taken for granted that he is in Pakistan.) You don’t have to take it upon yourself to solve Afghanistan’s internal social problems or to "defeat" (how, no one knows) the Taliban military, political and religious uprising in the country. What has that really to do with Americans?
A retired CIA counter-terrorism chief named Haviland Smith has suggested in a newspaper article that Mr. Obama trapped himself during the campaign into having his own war (like most other recent presidents). He made the promise to leave Iraq, and to defend against Republican accusations of weakness he announced that instead he would fight the real war in Afghanistan, theoretically against Osama bin Laden. Now Obama is caught, and has handed the war over to his military advisers who assure him that they know how to win wars, even though they are at a loss to explain what would constitute victory in this one.
My own feeling is that the situation is worse. I think the American government now has become institutionally a war government, which finds its purpose in waging war against small and troublesome countries and peoples, in the generalized pursuit of running the world for the world’s own good. In this effort, one war is pretty much like another, and every president, to be re-elected, needs one.