As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Too Much Happy Talk

Trying, I guess, to put a brave face on the conflict in Afghanistan, top Democrats claim we're winning!

Five members of the Senate's new majority used Memorial Day to give an upbeat report from a congressional delegation trip to Afghanistan, telling reporters that the Obama administration's new U.S. strategy is working in the war-scarred country.

Democratic Sens. Tom Carper (Del.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mark Udall (Colo.) spoke by conference call from an undisclosed stop in Asia -- Carper, the most senior senator on the trip, said they were prevented from announcing their exact location -- and gave a consistently upbeat report on the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan that began with 17,000 new troops sent there by President Barack Obama this winter [...]

Carper, noting that the seeds of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were sown by the Taliban in Afghanistan, said America “took our eye off the ball” by instead invading Iraq, diverting energy and resources and in doing so “let the people of Afghanistan down.” He said the U.S. must stick to a comprehensive strategy that pays attention to Afghanistan’s civilian population and government, not just the military, and to reach out to other segments of the country as well, such as convincing farmers to grow crops such as vegetables instead of opium.

I don't even think all of the troops have even arrived in Afghanistan yet, nor have all the elements of the strategy been implemented. There's optimism and there's blind optimism. Even that infusion of troops cannot possibly cover the entire country or protect all Afghans from the ravages of the Taliban. And while I agree with many elements of the larger strategy from the White House on Afghanistan, the fact that the latest tactic is to flood the area with drugs to lower the price and make growing wheat or pomegranates more profitable sounds like the ultimate in unintended consequences. First, stopping the flow of drugs in a giant country with porous borders where PEOPLE cannot be stopped from crossing is completely suspect. Second, why exactly would flooding a country with drugs ever be seen as a positive step?

This really worries me. The strategy appears less comprehensive and more ad hoc. And the happy talk from politicians just offers reminders of lost wars gone by. Anyone else getting that sinking feeling?

Labels: , , , ,