The U.S. being the U.S., it would be smart not to look with ‘peacenik’ optimism on Afghanistan disarray and Obama’s stubborn pursuit of a failed and fraudulent strategy there, but probably more realistic to consider the possibility of a David Petraeus 2012 presidential run (though admittedly the juvenile thug Stanley McChrystal fits the Republican rogue vibe better). Yeah, that’s more like it: having a general run the U.S. increasingly fits the militarized mood here, or at least what we are provided as the mood by the corporate media. (Media side note of dismay: even the once alternative Nation magazine is now dishing ‘next war’ anti-Iran propaganda.)
American imperialism (like Israel’s, actually, but that’s another diary (that I would be advised on eurotrib to confine to a comment)) will be deterred by effective guerrilla resistance, budget constraints, and/or by politicians among its major ‘allies’ forced to act against U.S. demands/commands by strong and voting antiwar movements. The latter doesn’t appear to be happening now, not in Britain or Germany, the numbers 2 and 3 in contributions to the U.S. (okay, NATO fig leaf) occupation army in Afghanistan. But, somehow, despite the CIA’s efforts, I think prospects for effective war opposition (especially during economic hard times) is better there than it is in the States.
Yeah, and sorry, European anti-warniks, the prospect for effective internal opposition here in the U.S. is virtually nil with Obama in the White House and military-industrial-complex Democrats in control of the party. One of several excellent letters (consistently better than the articles) attached to a Salon article accurately sums up the Stateside antiwar gloominess:
Obama is too arrogant and stubborn to admit that he has made a mistake and he lacks the courage to pull the troops out of Afghanistan. Unfortunately, this country’s mindset about wars will make it impossible for us to reevaluate it and pull out of it. The only reason we left Vietnam is bcz we had a draft and the people here with money got tired of seeing their kids killed and maimed. The Military Industrial Complex quickly learned that volunteers not drafts guaranteed them long wars. . . . — robbep
The volunteer army, frankly, means there’s virtually no U.S. college campus-based antiwar movement. In fact, the U.S. Y and Z generations — if they have any politics at all — are either _still_ Obama-starry-eyed or right-wing-radio-raised "I got mine" wingers. That doesn’t mean college students favor the war (56% of Americans opposed it the last time (May 21-23) they were asked by the mainstream media). Just that they’re not opposed to it enough; they’re disconnected, because the lives of very few people they know are on the line there.
On Petraeus, Beowulf’s comment at firedoglake’s The Seminal is realism about U.S. politics:
. . . Petraues will come out of this a hero, win lose or draw.
What’s the worst case scenario? The Taliban will never be strong enough to eject us by force of arms. The only way we “lose” is if the President orders our forces to withdraw and we then watch on TV as the Taliban quickly take over Afghanistan. The President will take the all the heat for that. Since General Petraeus was just following orders, he will be viewed as blameless. [Or, he will have resigned in protest (to a Republican standing ovation) over a U.S. 'cut and run' in Afghanistan. -- fairleft]
If Petraeus can just keep the lid on the pot so that things seem “a little better” next year, Obama will get no credit, but Petraeus will be credited as the ace relief pitcher who saved the game.
That second part I’m more shaky on: keeping the lid on Afghanistan likely shifts the 2012 focus to economy, where Obama ain’t doing so well either; but, we’ll see.
On Obama effectively canceling the July 2011 withdrawal deadline, we have this yesterday from the President:
"We didn’t say we’d be switching off the lights and closing the door behind us."
LOL, you zinged us! All us ‘withdrawal hopeful’ commoners were so stupid cuz we thought that! But seriously, here’s his withdrawal deadline killer, same source:
Obama said July 2011 should be seen more as a date for a transfer of responsibility to Afghan forces. He also said he will be relying heavily on Petraeus’ advice when the pullout date and war strategy come up for another major administration review in December.
Okay, so Obama has canceled the "begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011" promise he made in December, 2009, and now has left that up to General Petraeus. But, hey, there will be a ‘transfer of authority’ ceremony that no one will believe is real! So that’s now what July 2011 means: nothing.
Last but not least (and thanks, msmolly): A corrective in photographs from the 1950s to the widespread notion that Afghanistan is and always has been a medieval backwater. What the Soviets, the West and their progeny have done to that poor country.
- – -
I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of you, Stanley, but good bye for now.