Wednesday, September 23, 2009

QUAGMIRE. Michael Barone:
On the Sunday talk shows a day before Woodward's story appeared, Obama said he had not yet decided on a strategy in Afghanistan. "I'm certainly not one who believes in indefinite occupations of other countries," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press," as if the United States were occupying a country against the wishes of most of its inhabitants to the detriment of "the people." Shades of those early 1980s Marxist Latin America tracts.
To back up Barone's logic, here's noted National Review Marxist John Derbyshire on Afghanistan:
Am I missing something? Seems straightforward to me. (1) Go there in force. (2) Break their stuff and kill their leaders. (3) Tell them loud and clear: If you host our enemies again, we'll be back. (4) Go home. (5) Lather, rinse, repeat.

How is this difficult? What need is there for an eight-year occupation? Eight years? This is nuts.
Derbyshire has the advantage of insanity. Barone has been remarkably placid about the conduct of the Afghan adventure from the beginning:
The collapse of the Taliban in Afghanistan is not yet complete as this is written, and it may take months to track down Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders in their caves. But it seems likely -- not certain, but likely -- that America and its allies will not need large amounts of manpower and materiel in Afghanistan. They can be deployed elsewhere.
In subsequent years what Barone has mainly noticed about Afghanistan is the presumed effectiveness of informal diplomacy ("There are lessons aplenty in this story for us today. One is that the kindness of American soldiers -- the candy bombers -- can be a national asset"), and the perfidy of Democrats ("It is true that many Democratic primary voters and caucusgoers are slavering at the prospect of American defeat") and the press ("Why haven't there been more Espionage Act prosecutions?"). Now he's worried by an allegedly Marxist prejudice against indefinite occupation. Come to think of it, Derbyshire may not have all that much of an advantage,

Whether they believe President Obama's eight-month chunk of the eight-year occupation is a failure because he's a Marxist or because he is insufficiently willing to emulate General Zod, it is refreshing to see these folks exercised about the fate of Afghanistan again, at least till the next ACORN scandal. But as there is little hope of meaningful action in the graveyard of empires, Barone will be back eventually to tell us why the Bush occupation was much more successful than the Obama one.

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