Sunday, December 21, 2008

Onward empire

The president-elect is looking to surge in Afghanistan:

The top U.S. military officer said Saturday that the Pentagon could double the number of American forces in Afghanistan by next summer to 60,000 - the largest estimate of potential reinforcements ever publicly suggested.

There's a really good article in this week's American Conservative that discusses the three far more important policy changes, commonly attributed to the surge, that have seemingly caused a reversal of fortunes in Iraq in the last year or so. It's worth a read, but it's important to remember that even if policy and tactical changes in Iraq momentarily reduced American causalities, we are nowhere near the goal of making Iraqi into a democratic republic.

In other news, the president-elect is backpedaling on his promise to bring our troops home from Iraq:

A new military plan for troop withdrawals from Iraq that was described in broad terms this week to President-elect Barack Obama falls short of the 16-month timetable Mr. Obama outlined during his election campaign, United States military officials said Wednesday.

Well, at least they won't be there for one hundred years.

Obama sure seems hellbent on backstabbing his supporters. Especially impressing is the speed and forthrightness with which it is taking place. He's not even in office yet and we're seeing a complete capitulation on the foreign policy front.

This isn't surprising; if you have a memory that is capable of retaining information of more than the past president, you'll recall that the democrats--Carter excepted--have traditionally been hawkish. And although Obama was against the war in Iraq, he's never expressed a commitment to avoid aggressive war. Iraq was the wrong war, but not necessarily for moral reasons; another war--say in Pakistan--might be a good one.

It will be very interesting to see if there is a significant backlash from the antiwar left against Obama when it becomes apparent that the wars aren't going to end. I'm not holding my breath, but I'll still be paying some attention.

Worth mentioning, too, is that because we're in the midst of a rather large recession, it may become difficult for Obama to justify the costs of empire. So argues Pat Buchanan; and though I'm hopeful that he is correct, I fear that the war lobby will be powerful enough to keep most of the empire in tact.

8 comments:

Zachary said...

I find it very troubling to see kids walking to school (I live down the street from a middle school) and know that many of them will end up fighting and dying to support The American Empire. Curious times, indeed.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

I find it very troubling to see kids walking to school (I live down the street from a middle school) and know that many of them will end up fighting and dying to support The American Empire.

One of the reasons the Empire has been so successful thus far is that it has kept American casualties low. Bombing various belligerents "back to the stone age" is ineffective, but it allows the hawks to play at war for a long time until the people catch on.

A Wiser Man Than I said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
troutsky said...

Death can be hidden pretty effectively.My hope is that the anti-war "left" actually starts to understand left theory and link imperialism with capitalism. At this point the whole Democrat/ Republican farce is exposed (as you have pointed out on numerous occasions) When the sham that is our "democracy" lies exposed, liberals will have to come to terms with their complicity in consumer culture, the military -industrial-corporate state and casino capitalism more generally. They will start reading my blog and Presto!

A Wiser Man Than I said...

My hope is that the anti-war "left" actually starts to understand left theory and link imperialism with capitalism.

Imperialism predates capitalism. I'm more concerned that we appreciate the link between the size of the state and its ability to wage war.

hoosiertoo said...

My hope is that the anti-war "left" actually starts to understand left theory and link imperialism with capitalism.

Really? It's been my hope that the Left of whatever stripe will make like lemmings.

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