We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
That rhetorical question from Barry Goldwater still haunts us today.Many of us who supported the US being in Vietnam found ourselves in the uncomfortable posture of, in effect, backing President Johnson’s floundering, painful, costly half-way measures.Instead of early on going deep and hard to close Haiphong, punish Hanoi, and cut the infiltration routes, the US dribbled in and hesitated.What earlier forcefulness would have yielded is indicated by the more compliant reaction from North Vietnam immediately following our major Linebacker pummeling of it in 1972.
Analogies can be misleading.Rather, the question of why not victory is to open readers’ minds to wider possibilities than appear in most of the discussions of what to do about Afghanistan.The very concept of victory seems to have disappeared from our vocabulary and consciousness.
Victory is the accomplishment of the objective of a reasonably lasting situation in which Afghanistan is not a threat to its neighbors nor ourselves in the West.Pakistan’s nukes cannot be allowed to fall into the hands of foes.Iran cannot be allowed to extend its influence, or coercion, upon others.India’s security interests must be respected.
The arguments against a perimeter containment are compelling, as ineffective.The arguments against complete or hasty withdrawal are compelling, as worsening the threats.The arguments against solely counter-insurgency without enough securing forces are compelling, as inadequate.
Democratization, modernization, social services, etc. may be tactics toward the objective, but are insufficient without trusted security.Security requires seriously reduced cross-border sanctuaries and support together with seriously diminished internal capabilities of Taliban, Al Quaeda and drug lords.
For Afghanistan’s sake, as well as other corollary objectives, that means several measures:1. Surgically take out Pakistan’s nuclear capability, combined with India’s open pledge and actions to reduce its arming, presence and targeting of Pakistan, recognizing that India’s fears of Pakistan are real;2. Substantially take out Iran’s nuclear capability, and embargo its critical gas imports; 3. Buy Afghanistan’s opium production while simultaneously training and supplying Afghans who cooperate with viable replacement crops and businesses, to reduce the funds flow to drug lords; 4. With vote of Congress, commit 100,000 more primarily combat troops to Afghanistan to clear and hold, while energetically pursuing longer (2-3 years, at least) building up of competent Afghan security forces, us and they pursuing forward counter-insurgency.
In 1964, Goldwater lost by a landslide.The rest is history, or commentary.President Obama, like President Johnson, deserves respect and support for not bugging out.However, experts judge both’s half-way courses result in long drawn out losses.
In 2006, President Bush changed course in Iraq.The loud bipartisan support from Senators Lieberman and McCain, commanding the center, was critical.They have again come forth. “Only Decisive Force Can Prevail in Afghanistan: A middle path of muddling through is the real recipe for quagmire and loss of public support.”
Barry Goldwater’s words in 1964 are as appropriate now: “Why Not Victory?...I’m convinced that in this year 1964 we must face up to our conscience and make a definite choice. We must decide what sort of people we are and what sort of world we want–now and for our children.”
You know, victory used to be defined as compelling your enemy to surrender to your will and your control, or die. Your enemy's people were no longer able to resist your will.
This was not how you defined victory. Indeed, you didn't really define victory at all, but simply a set of objectives you find achievable. They are, at best, the victory achieved in World War I, where Germany was beaten, but able, in just a generation, to rearm and fight again.
Think here about Israel's "victories" in her wars with the Arabs. Each time, the Israelis beat the Arabs like a drum, yet each time Israel settled for a cease-fire, not a surrender. And each time, it only took a few years, for the soldiers who were beaten to age and be replaced by younger men who had not known defeat in war.
To beat al Qaeda, an organization which isn't a country and has no leadership structure which can surrender for the whole enemy, there is only one path to victory: you must kill every Islamist male of fighting age, and beat al Qaeda so thoroughly that the surviving women impart a sense of helplessness and hopelessness to the boys growing up to fighting age, to keep them from ever believing that they can win. You must be vicious and you must be brutal, in a way that inspires horror not only amongst our enemies, but, these days, amongst our people at home.
Thing is, there is no support at home for doing that.
I LOVE Barry Goldwater's philosophy! Some random Goldwater quotes:
"I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is "needed" before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents "interests," I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can."
"Politics is the art of achieving the maximum amount of freedom for individuals that is consistent with the maintenance of social order."
"The big thing is to make this country, along with every other country in the world with a few exceptions, quit discriminating against people just because they're gay, you don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. And that's what brings me into it."
"You don't have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight."
"The time has come to recognize the United Nations for the anti-American, anti-freedom organization that it has become. The time has come for us to cut off all financial help, withdraw as a member, and ask the United Nations to find headquarters location outside the United States that is more in keeping with the philosophy of the majority of voting members, someplace like Moscow or Peking."
"I wouldn't trust Nixon from here to that phone."
"Hubert Humphrey talks so fast that listening to him is like trying to read Playboy magazine with your wife turning the pages."
If Barry G was running against 0bama today, Barry Soetero wouldn't stand a chance.
Our resilience is our enemy. The bombing of the WTC in 1993, was not enough, the attack on the USS Cole was not enough -not even September 11, 2001 was enough. Each time a bomb went off in London or Madrid all I heard was wheww. Rather like walking down the street and you have spotted the dog-do and side stepped it and feel relieved, while your walking companion did not. You feel bad that your friend stepped in 'it' but the sense of relief that you did not, tops it.
I agree with the #1 post what needs to be done and acknowledge the lack of support and not just here, but from the EU. We need an army of one as the promo went, but of one mindset and that means one has to acknowledge and believe the threat and danger. Until there is a plausible voice that alerts the majority that they will not be able to avoid the dog-do - they will do nothing.