Tuesday, September 1. 2009
Robert Dreyfuss: Afghanistan Apocalypse, and Afghan Apocalypse, Part II: Two reports on think tanks at work on how to save the Afghanistan War, which isn't really the same thing as saving Afghanistan. The first was held at Brookings with a panel full of well-known hawks (Bruce Riedel, Michael O'Hanlon, Anthony Cordesman, and Kimberly Kagan); the second at Heritage with less well-known hawks (Marvin Weinbaum, David Barno, Lisa Curtis, and David Isby) -- evidently it's hard to get jobs like this if you have any common sense. Weinbaum talked at length about election fraud, but didn't see that as reason to back off.
So, Obama can show his support for bipartisanship by adopting Republican programs that wreck the government, provided he has the courage and leadership to browbeat Democrats into towing the line. Sen. Jim DeMint was wrong: health care won't be Obama's "Waterloo" because failure there just shows how badly we need more Democrats; Afghanistan will be, because it shows would-be Democrats that no matter who they vote for, they'll get stuck in foreign wars where nobody knows even what they're trying to do, and nobody has the self-awareness, let alone the guts, to recognize when nothing they do does anyone any good -- except, of course, for self-annointed experts who get to lecture them on their failures and urge them on to even greater failures.
David Swanson: Bush's Third Term? Well, I wouldn't put it in those terms, but Swanson runs with his concept further than I expected. The extent to which there's any continuity from Bush to Obama should be embarrassing. I tend to not get worked up over the torture, civil liberties, and constitution mangling issues because I figure they've been endemic for 50-60 years now, a natural outgrowth of the perpetual warfare state. I was struck, though, by the bit about the president refusing to disclose secret meetings with industry moguls to fix a "reform" bill that protects what are basically predatory industries.
Andrew Sullivan: The Rotten Core: Starts off with nepotism (see Glenn Greenwald: It's time to embrace American royalty, including the updates), then vents on needed change and what's not happening now. I'm not sure we have a problem with "entitlements" except those mentioned in the introduction, but otherwise he's basically right.
There has been a lot of stuff floating by on Afghanistan lately, including George Will's belated decision to opt out. The latest poll I saw was 57% opposed to continuing doing whatever we're doing over there. I think I saw that Cindy Sheehan is camping out on Obama's vacation turf, and all I can say is "bless her." I haven't been keeping links on all this, but the gist of it is that we're having serious buyer's remorse over the whole system we put in place, from Karzai on down. We're starting to see analogies not just between Afghanistan and Vietnam and between Karzai and Diem. That may suggest a coup, but there are plenty of reasons to realize we'd be better off backing off. There are also Obama-LBJ analogies, although with regard to the wars Obama-Nixon would be more accurate. Maybe with the domestic program too.