Obama's Meaningless War
September 2, 2009
Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig, where this article originally appeared. His latest book is The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America (Twelve).
Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, left, and Sgt. Major Hooph pay their respects to Lance Cpl. Joshua Bernard during a memorial service.
True, he doesn't seem a bit like Lyndon Johnson, but the way he's headed on
Meaningless is the right term for the
The Vietnamese Communists were not an extension of an inevitably hostile, unified international communist enemy, as evidenced by the fact that Communist
Those recruits included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attack, and financier Osama bin Laden, who met in Afghanistan as part of a force that Ronald Reagan glorified as "freedom fighters." As blowback from that bizarre, mismanaged CIA intervention, the Taliban came to power and formed a temporary alliance with the better-financed foreign Arab fighters still on the scene.
There is no serious evidence that the Taliban instigated the 9/11 attacks or even knew about them in advance. Taliban members were not agents of Al Qaeda; on the contrary, the only three governments that financed and diplomatically recognized the Taliban--
To insist that the Taliban be vanquished militarily as a prerequisite for thwarting Al Qaeda is a denial of the international fluidity of that terrorist movement. Al Qaeda, according to US intelligence sources, has operated effectively in countries as disparate as Somalia, Indonesia, England and Pakistan, to name just a few. What is required to stymie such a movement is effective police and intelligence work, as opposed to deploying vast conventional military forces in the hope of finding, or creating, a conventional war to win. This last wan hope is what the effort in
The Taliban is a traditional guerrilla force that can easily elude conventional armies. Once again the generals on the ground are insisting that a desperate situation can be turned around if only more troops are committed, as Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal did in a report leaked this week. Even with US forces being increased to 68,000 as part of an 110,000-strong allied army, the general states, "The situation in
Fortunately, Defense Secretary Robert Gates is given to some somber doubts on this point, arguing that the size of the
I write the word fortunately because just such wisdom on the part of Robert McNamara, another defense secretary, during the buildup to Vietnam would have led him to oppose rather than abet what he ruefully admitted decades after the fact was a disastrous waste of life and treasure: 59,000 Americans dead, along with 3.4 million Indochinese, mostly innocent civilians. I was reporting from
Those who favor an escalation of the
It is time for Democrats to remember that it was their party that brought
Robert Scheer, a contributing editor to The Nation, is editor of Truthdig.com and author of The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America (Twelve) and Playing President (Akashic Books). He is author, with Christopher Scheer and Lakshmi Chaudhry, of The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq (Akashic Books and Seven Stories Press.) His weekly column, distributed by Creators Syndicate, appears in the San Francisco Chronicle. more...
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs