For many, the War in Afghanistan (and perpetual U.S. war in general) is the big story of this historical period. The war is growing, the money behind it is growing (and growing its ROI), and the constancy is almost assumed these days. An ugly prospect.
Now that the president has spoken on the subject, our path is known — at least as far as the executive branch is concerned. Rachel Maddow has a great summary of where we now find ourselves. To bring yourself current, you could start with this (the clip begins midway; the entire segment is here).
Perpetual war. Self-justifying, with no end in sight. Our goal (per Obama): “No safe haven for Al Qaeda.” Great. That’s an awful lot of beds to look under. Note that the interviewee, Prof. Vali Nasr, says that Afghanistan simply doesn’t have an economy that can finance what Obama is asking it to do (10:25 in my sub-clip).
One of the best panels at last week’s Netroots Nation 2011 was the Afghanistan panel, with a star-studded cast of committed people — Allison McGuire, Darcy Burner, Rep. John Garamendi, Steve Clemons and retired General Paul Eaton, among others. All want the war to end, and most said, when questioned, that it really does “come down to one man’s decision,” meaning Obama. The assumption, of course, is a neutered Congress.
Here’s John Garamendi on the same Maddow show with what’s happening in that aforementioned Congress:
And for good measure, this.
Like so much about this brave new post-Bush world (thank you, Mr. Scalia), this really matters. Let’s hope Garamendi and his like-minded colleagues prevail.
(“Hope” — that reminds me. Didn’t Obama make his bones as the one candidate who opposed Iraq? I know, he also said that Afghanistan was the “good war” so to speak. But still. It’s ironic that two years later, “hope” is not something we have, but something we’re reduced to.)