Following last Friday’s announcement by the White House of a new strategy in Afghanistan, the mainstream media discussion emphasized the new roles foreign policy, nation building and humanitarian interventionism would play in U.S. efforts to secure the country and its neighbor Pakistan — to, as they say, win “hearts and minds.”
And yet there is already dissent at home. Even among official “think tank” types.
Jim Hightower points out the overlooked but significant complications defense contractors, such as the notorious Halliburton, will continue to make; CorpWatch reports the expensive failure DynCorp achieved re-training Afghan police; Democracy Now! reports that Afghans would much prefer aid over a troop surge. Rachel Maddow is really squeamish about Obama’s Bush-esque rhetoric. And Juan Cole argues that the Bush rhetoric is more than just superficial:
President Barack Obama may or may not be doing the right thing in Afghanistan, but the rationale he gave for it on Friday is almost certainly wrong. Obama has presented us with a 21st century version of the domino theory. The U.S. is not, contrary to what the president said, mainly fighting “al-Qaida” in Afghanistan. In blaming everything on al-Qaida, Obama broke with his pledge of straight talk to the public and fell back on Bush-style boogeymen and implausible conspiracy theories.
Obama realizes that after seven years, Afghanistan war fatigue has begun to set in with the American people. Some 51 percent of Americans now oppose the Afghanistan war, and 64 percent of Democrats do. The president is therefore escalating in the teeth of substantial domestic opposition, especially from his own party, as voters worry about spending billions more dollars abroad while the U.S. economy is in serious trouble.
Cole’s editorial is worth reading in full. Please do.
Meanwhile, I really enjoyed drawing Unkle 800-lb. Gorilla. And have no fear, the puppies will not be a permanent substitute. I enjoy drawing them, too, of course — especially looking up source photos of puppies rolling and tumbling and generally looking goofy — but I doubt the smiley face Obama has put on the Empire will last long against reality.