Defending Michael Steele from War-Hungry RNC Members & Pentagon-Hugging Dems

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michael_steele2.jpg
Michael Steele is right on Afghanistan.
The Republican National Committee Chairman, who is receiving a heap of scorn by war-hungry members of his party and by Democrats who want to puff up and act like the real defenders of the Pentagon faith, called the conflict in Afghanistan “a war of Obama’s choosing.”
Former George W. Bush administration national security official and current Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass wrote the same thing in August of 2009. And there are many more academics, Members of Congress, journalists, and average Americans who are discomfited by the deployment of military forces in Afghanistan at a cost of more than $100 billion/year in a country with a GDP of $14 billion.
Michael Steele has a habit of rounding corners in a way that gets him into trouble — but on this issue, Steele reflects the views of a significant number of Americans in both political parties. While there is bipartisan support for the war, there is also bipartisan opposition to it.
The DNC needs to temper its “gotcha criticism” of Steele. Spokesman Brad Woodhouse said that Steele was “betting against our troops and rooting for failure in Afghanistan.”
This is a distortion of what Steele was proffering. But what concerns me about the DNC comments is the exploitation of the complex and challenging Afghanistan War as a measure of one’s patriotism, or support the Pentagon — in which the White House and Democrats desperately want to show they are better at than the Republicans.
That’s not a smart national security posture. Embracing wars, deferring to generals, or giving the Pentagon everything it wants is the opposite of leadership.
Presidents and great leaders in the House and Senate sculpt the Pentagon and have made tough choices about what the U.S. military should be designed to do and what it should be held back from.
This knee-jerk criticism of Michael Steele is wrong-headed by the Dems — and all too predictable from neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, who seem to thrive on escalating the number of US troops fighting abroad.
In many ways, Steele’s comments were the more judicious because of the concern that the U.S. may be engaged in a war that breaks the military’s back. The recklessness is Kristol’s — and the hubris the DNC’s.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

69 comments on “Defending Michael Steele from War-Hungry RNC Members & Pentagon-Hugging Dems

  1. John Waring says:

    DakatabornKansan,
    Thank you for your post. Here’s an article by Michael Scheuer for your review.
    http://the-diplomat.com/2010/07/01/why-west-lost-afghan-war/
    I have yet to find a proponent of our current policy who convincingly answers Dalrymple, Scheuer, or Stewart.

    Reply

  2. Warren Metzler says:

    Democrats should appreciate that Republicans have put Mr. Steel in that role. He’ll be a great asset is having more democrats being elected.

    Reply

  3. Marcus says:

    POS; If you were any kind of man, with the courage of your convictions,you would set yourself on fire,in a public show of solidarity with your martyr heroes.
    just think about it.ok?
    A Christian Martyr dies for his beliefs
    A Muslem Martyr kills for his beliefs.

    Reply

  4. Marcus says:

    POS-the resident einstein of TWN treats us with a essay from some nobody named Jason Ditz ??? (no joke)
    Ditz; a superficially dumb valley chick with no common sense what so ever.
    Flighty, eccentric, silly,airhead, a scatterbrained person…….. etc.
    POS,Is this guy your intellectual mentor ? well is he, boy ?

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “you POS are the one doing Israel a favour,people see the lunatic ravings of israel-haters,the neo-nazis and islamic jihadis,the anarchists and adolescent barbarians that make -up the anti-israel lobby and come to the logical conclusion to stay as far away as possible and not believe a word of it”
    Ah yes, Marcus The Maggot, clinging to false hope, just like a festered cyst about to be lanced…
    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/07/04/growing-consensus-israel-abusing-its-status-as-indispensable-us-ally/
    Growing Consensus: Israel Abusing Its Status as

    Reply

  6. ... says:

    rachel corrie death is a direct result of israel’s intolerance… it is no surprise marcus holds the same attitude of intolerance towards others who highlight how facist israel has become toward any opposition to its violent nature… opposition will increase however and israel finds itself in a corner that it has created for itself in it’s unwillingness to consider a more humane form of self expression… violence and hatred are not great principles to live by…

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  7. Marcus says:

    you POS are the one doing Israel a favour,people see the lunatic ravings of israel-haters,the neo-nazis and islamic jihadis,the anarchists and adolescent barbarians that make -up the anti-israel lobby and come to the logical conclusion to stay as far away as possible and not believe a word of it.
    they should put an animal like you ,right up front, your the poster-BOY of obssesed un-hinged idiots railing on about israel.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Keep talking, Marcus.
    Marcus The Maggot, riding to The Jewish State’s rescue.

    Reply

  9. Marcus says:

    we just had some punks/anarchists riot during the G20 in toronto,a few of them got hurt,guess what predictably their suing the government for big money (just like the industrious corrie family),but everybody thinks they had it coming.
    The corrie family disgusts me,they have made a family business of exploiting their daughters death
    Only a diseased half-wit like POA sides with the rioters and the corries

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “what emily and her family said was that she was STUPID to confront the IDF in a suicidal,illegal and reckless manner”
    By the way, maggot, her “family” has said no such thing. What Emily said was…
    “I stupidly didn’t think it was going to be dangerous,” she said, adding that she had protested at dozens of demonstrations throughout the semester.
    http://wire.antiwar.com/2010/07/02/art-helps-student-who-lost-eye-in-gaza-protest-2/
    But hey, you vile sack of shit, feel free to lie some more. In fact, lie your cowardly ignorant ass off for all I care. Like I’ve pointed out here numerous times, you aren’t doing the Jews or the Israelis any favors here. One could almost believe you are purposely painting them in a despicable light with your excremental musings. But then, the actual actions of the IDF and the Israeli leadership demonstrates that you aren’t exactly swimming alone in your cesspool of bigotry and hatred.
    Keep it up, marcus. You win my argument for me everytime. Marcus The Maggot, champion for The Jewish State.

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    There are a lot of Palestinian-staffed NGOs more than willing to make stuff up for The Cause. Whatever they say will be credulously reported without checking. The 4% of West Bank Palestinians who live in Area C are doing maximum moaning because Israel is not giving many building permits in Area C. The PA gets $2 Billion in Aid and the PA’s GDP rose 7% last year. Per capita GDP is higher in the West Bank than in other Arab countries, except for the oil states. I frankly don’t believe these stories.
    But you know, if the occupation of Area C is so unbearable, the Palestinians could sign a deal, and get nearly all of it back, Jew free, all theirs to run. They were offered a deal twice since 2000 and turned it down both times. Somehow, all this claimed desperation never translates into readiness to actually end the occupation.
    It’s all a propaganda game. When their actions match their words I will believe them.

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  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “That whole family disgusts me”
    Keep talking, maggot. There is no better portrayal of what Israel is becoming than your comments are.
    The silence of the Jews that read your spew is almost as offensive as the spew is.

    Reply

  13. susan says:

    Nadine writes: “Take a look at these pictures of Ramallah, which btw is a big tourist destination…”
    Predictably, she somehow fails to mention that her pictures are more Potemkin village than a happy place to vacation:
    Bethlehem

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  14. Marcus says:

    what emily and her family said was that she was STUPID to confront the IDF in a suicidal,illegal and reckless manner. Which is alot more honest than those publicity seeking,parasites the Corrie clan, those lying bloodsukers are suing Israel,trying to get paid for their daughters equally stupid even insane, descisions.
    That whole family disgusts me.
    It#s like arabs sending their kids to be suicide bombers and then getting paid for their sacrifice-murder. They get paid more if they kill more people, the whole thing is disgusting,what#s next, poor people all over going to start sending their kids to suicide-protest,so they can sue the Israeli government,that Corrie family has turned her suicide into a whole industry,How low can you go,no don#t anwser that POA ( Ijust ate)

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  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Emily said herself that she was STUPID to bring this onto herself blahblahblah….”
    You really are a scumball, Marcus. You shoulda stuck to lewd insinuations, you vile little jackass.
    So its Emily’s fault these jackbooted stormtroopers shot her in the face with a tear gas cannister, eh?
    What she said, maggot, is that she didn’t realize the danger she was putting herself in. In other words, she underestimated what these gestapo mimicking little nazis in the IDF were capable of. She naively thought her own people wouldn’t target her. I doubt its a mistake she’ll make again. Its too bad she didn’t read a few of your and Nadine’s comments before placing herself in harm’s way. Had she of done that, she might not have been so naive about what monstrous inhumane scumballs she was about to be dealing with.

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  16. Marcus says:

    There is no quarrel here over the fact that American Media is by and large biased in favour of Israel,America is one of the only places in the world where this bias exists,so even on this subject there is bias and malice in that you would rather have no balance and instead a one-sided world narrative where the pals are the perpetual victims I`m for the balance that american media brings to the global debate over Israel.
    The rest of your post is dripping with lies.
    Lie#1)” grand-daughter of holocaust survivors ” Emily said herself that she was STUPID to bring this onto herself,she didn`t make an emotional appeal to the holocaust (that`s a no-no here with your fellow travellers,ancient history, a jewish victomhood smokescreen)but you slyly used it
    Lie#2)Israel is a “nation created in response to the holocaust” Fact is Israel and dozens of other nations were created after WW2 due to the new world order NOT specifically (as your hero O) said in Cairo , Israel was a long time coming.
    Lie#3)the Palestinians are “powerless” ah the perpetual victim/lie once again, Fact is the pals have alot of allies-like you for one.
    Lie#4) ” the modern state of Israel is an irreversable reality” Fact is that Israel is a one bomb country.
    Lie#5) “Israel must be saved from itself” Fact is Israel can save itself,even from the destructive surrender policies liberal jews are pushing.
    Lie#6) “flotilla was a legitemate strategy” Fact is Israel`s blockade is what`s legal and legitemate and neccassary”
    The rest of the post is just gibberish about american stormtroopers terrorizing little black boys and girls ( this bit is probably some kind of Nation of Islam solidarity aimed at creating problems between jews and blacks.
    The only truthful “fact” in your post was when you wrote at the end “Israel is our ally” if you wanted to convey/feign concern or facts about I/P you should`ve started and ended with just that.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    Is that what you picture happening in the West Bank and Gaza, David? Internment camps and reservations?
    Take a look at these pictures of Ramallah, which btw is a big tourist destination
    http://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotos-g667136-Ramallah.html#24125839
    Does it look like a reservation to you?

    Reply

  18. David says:

    Sorry, Marcus, facts aren’t stupid. They are just facts. It is up to us to determine what to make of them. The media has not covered in any meaningful way the Israeli occupation and settlement of Palestine. It has not covered the place of the quest for water in the equation. It has not covered in any meaningful way, for at least six decades, what life in the reservations into which displaced Palestinians were driven has been like, nor has it covered what it meant for Israel to inflict air strikes on the essentially entrapped Palestinians. This is no apology for anyone’s terrorist attacks on anyone else’s civilians. It is a simple observation of the one-sided, pro-Israel nature of the American media, a bias which is easy to understand, but which is a bias nonetheless.
    Jimmy Carter attempted to cast an honest light on the situation, and got roundly condemned in the United States for it. Same for the UN. Israel is our ally, Palestine is the other. We are Judaeo-Christian, they are Muslim. It is as simple as that. Obama is having to struggle like hell just to suggest some semblance of justice for the Palestinians, and the only reason he might succeed is the growing realization in some quarters that Israel is in the process of self-destructing.

    Reply

  19. Marcus says:

    someone wrote ” Unfortunately, there is nothing to compel the major media to cover what israel has been doing ”
    That`s as stupid and false as every other line in that post. for example:
    POA could set himself on fire in the Rose Garden.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The “Tea Partiers”, too, are “Pissed Off Americans”"
    And they will be as dissappointed by the “change” these sacks of shit on the right give them as those who voted for Obama are dissapointed in the “change” he lied about offering. The “Tea Party” is little more than a rebranding effort for the far right wing agenda. The Tea Partiers are being used, just like Obama’s supporters have been used.
    Although, I must admit, the Tea Party movement seems to have a collective intelligence level far below what the Obama supporters had. Some of the most ignorant political comments I have ever seen come from the crowds of Tea Party rubes.
    The local “head” of the Tea Party movement here in my area claims to have been a Navy Seal, (he wasn’t), and is one of the most prolific tellers of personal tall tales, (lies), I have ever seen. I have related to him stories of my own past, only to have them repeated to me, almost verbatim, a year or two later as if it was HE that experienced the event. A “recovering” alcoholic with over twenty years of sobriety, he never dropped the alcoholic behaviour. He might as well be drunk. And its amnazing how the local band of Tea Partiers swallow his line of shit. They have elevated this self-professed war hero and patriot to hero status, applauding his every utterance, without even bothering to ponder the inconsistency and sensationalistic self-agrandizing nature of his claims.
    It is quite telling, however, that BOTH sides of the DC aisle see the need to market “change” as their insincere and carefully scripted political message. The natives are getting restless, and these pieces of shit in DC are taking note.

    Reply

  21. JamesL says:

    Don Bacon 12:01: “We should continually keep in mind that Afghanistan is….on the other side of the planet from the USA. It’s a poor (one of the poorest in the world) mountainous country full of illiterate tribal people who in no way threaten the mighty USA.”
    Well, yes, and certainly to a significant degree, no:
    “A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine; men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul; factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods. There was a tradition of law and order, and a government capable of undertaking large national infrastructure projects, like building hydropower stations and roads, albeit with outside help. Ordinary people had a sense of hope, a belief that education could open opportunities for all, a conviction that a bright future lay ahead. All that has been destroyed by three decades of war, but it was real.”
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/27/once_upon_a_time_in_afghanistan
    Sounds a lot like Eisenhower America, no? What happened? Indeed.
    It is a convenient recurrant American myth that America’s international military campouts and large scale equipment test sites are in places far away or easily hid, in supposed service of inept or externally threatened people who speak nonsensical languages, are often odd colors, and are largely ignorant, illiterate, and just not modernly with it as Americans are universally recognized to be. If it isn’t the Russians or the Chinese, it is the insurgents or the terrorists or some other “-ist” that somehow pose an irrefutable existential threat to the mighty US far away. Any and every American media implicitly and explicitly supports this National Fairy Tale (NFT) 25/8/366, as do the majority of True Patriots, Sucklers of the Very Large National Teat Array (VLNTA), and religious zealots (RZ’s) of every stripe who believe in their heart that their own personally appoved, long-dead prophet from god has ordered them to kill, maim, and starve anyone who doen’t agree with them. One may glumly complain (while still being Patriotic!) on the depths to which either the Dems or the Repubs (pick one) have sunk, and how resulting disaster looms on the horizon. But the real trigger on the finger that is shooting the feet and legs out–correction: has shot the legs out– from under the collapsing carcass of America is one shared by a rather small number of people who have, with astonishing ease, and in full view of the audience, made the NFT into a Disney-esque American Gospel, and continue to successfully herd the political coalition of the TP/VLNTA/RZ through the messy, periodic ritual of voting that maintains the illusion of democracy and keeps people grafted to their chosen distraction and out of the streets.
    Condensed version: American, go home.
    Biblical version: Love your neighbor, and something about a mote and a pole.
    Buddhist, Hindi, Confucian, indigenous, and other religious tenets: too many to count.

    Reply

  22. larry birnbaum says:

    The “Tea Partiers”, too, are “Pissed Off Americans”.

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Problem is, hope is not a strategy, and I have no idea what strategies can achieve that goal, but it is why I think the flotilla was a legitimate strategy for calling Israel’s hand, and why I think nothing besides calling Israel’s hand over and over again has any chance of changing the course of events”
    As Emily and her family have made clear their desire to avoid having Emily become a symbol of protest, I see a huge opportunity being lost. It is tragic tales like Emily’s or Tristan’s that truly resonate with the general public. That is precisely why the media and these scumballs in the State Department, such as Clinton, try to keep such stories under the radar.
    Emily could be a great human example through which to change the narrative. Don’t take me wrong, I in no way would like to see her dehumanized, or further harmed. But, as you point out, the irony, and the injustice, of her tragic experience at the hands of equally youthful IDF troops carries a message stronger than any analytical news stories or biased “reporting” by the usual mouthpieces could ever send forth.
    These kinds of events and tragedies, and amazing people, (such as Emily), are the fodder of change. When such “news” finally is allowed to seep into the mainstream, (if ever), perhaps the American public will begin to see the immorality and inhumanity of our continued unconditional support for these fuckin’ racist/fascist monsters currently steering the ship in Israel.

    Reply

  24. susan says:

    Offered without comment on the 4th of July:
    Jacob Leicht, 1,000th American Killed In Afghanistan would Have Been 25 Today

    Reply

  25. David says:

    “This is the sad truth of America: the only acceptable form of Keynesian spending is military Keynesianism.” Spot on, susan.
    And as usual, thanks POA for posting things worth reading.
    I remember when Ron Paul delivered his comments in 1991. I was intrigued back then that it took a Republican from Texas, normally one of the most useless of political creatures, to say things that really needed to be said. I think the roots of this opening for Libertarians lies in 30s isolationist perspectives, though I am not sure. I doubt isolationism would have worked, but if someone speaks a truth, it matters not where it came from, it matters only that it is true and must be accounted for.
    The irony of Israeli soldiers blasting the eye out of a granddaughter of holocaust survivors and profoundly disfiguring her face captures by way of a specific the horrid irony of what a nation created in response to the holocaust is doing to the powerless other over whom it has such military dominance.
    I guess that irony is utterly lost on the Israel-uber-alles posters on this blog. It is not, however, lost on JStreet and other liberal Jewish organizations still driven by a sense of humanitarian obligation. All I know to do, since the modern state of Israel is an irreversible reality, is to hope that somehow progressive voices can have enough influence for Israel to be saved from itself and Palestine to be released from the ruthless expansionist grip of Likud et.al. Problem is, hope is not a strategy, and I have no idea what strategies can achieve that goal, but it is why I think the flotilla was a legitimate strategy for calling Israel’s hand, and why I think nothing besides calling Israel’s hand over and over again has any chance of changing the course of events.
    Since mindset is central to American voting behavior, and since American voting behavior is cental to what political figures ultimately can or cannot do, anything that can alter American mindsets is helpful. I think back to the fire hoses on young blacks that made national news and the far more violent attacks and murders that finally made it into the national consciousness because for a moment the national media found itself compelled to present reality. The supreme irony of that period was Alambama stormtroopers jerking the American flags out of the hands of little black boys and girls who were marching for civil rights.
    Unfortunately, there is nothing to compel the major media to cover what Israel has been doing to Palestinians for decades. Only horrible suicide attacks on Israeli civilians get that kind of coverage. Israeli attacks on and occupation of Palestine do not. When was the last time the major media discussed a map of the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, a map which makes crystal clear what is actually afoot?

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  26. libhomo says:

    People need to deconstruct the ridiculous idea that being patriotic means supporting every war that is motivated by profits for Big Oil, arms merchants, and mercenary corporations.

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  27. ... says:

    mark – that is really brilliant commentary from you… when do we get more, or are we going to have to continue on with the moronic comments of others here until your own amazing commentary happens again? you crack me up coming here and offering nothing… please stay where you have been if this is all you have to offer!

    Reply

  28. Mark says:

    It’s a shame that the comments on this site are just as moronic as any other political site these days. Seems like it used to be a little more intelligent. Then again, maybe I just read the comments on good days…

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  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Go screw yourself, Birnbaum.

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  30. Don Bacon says:

    We are working hard in Afghanistan to help our principal banker, China, at the cost of $7bn and dozens of US lives per month.
    (AP) As the U.S. and its NATO allies fight to stabilize Afghanistan, China has expanded its economic footprint with several high-profile investments and reconstruction projects. In 2007, it became the country’s largest foreign investor when it won a $3.5 billion contract to develop copper mines at Aynak, southeast of Kabul.
    The U.S. is in favor of the Chinese investment. “It can be a good thing. As a matter of fact, we encourage all of the international community to take an interest in the economic development of Afghanistan,” said U.S. State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid.//
    So we have Uncle Sam with a (virtual) sign on his back (in Chinese): Kick me, I’m stupid.

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  31. rc says:

    POA (10:51)– “in Afghanistan with great bucketfuls of taxpayer’s money,…”
    In general I agree. The only comment I make is why do you assume this is tax payers’ money and not just the printing presses at work?

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  32. Mr.Murder says:

    The largest troop presence outside of our own in either country is an army of contractors that we fund.
    The Fall of the Roman Empire….
    Pax Americana is in its twilight.

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  33. Don Bacon says:

    The buying-off of the Sunni resistance in Iraq actually started before the surge,and a major component of the surge “success” in Iraq was the ethnic cleansing of Baghdad. Look — no more Sunnis!
    Petraeus has already indicated that neither of these will work in Afghanistan, and we must be ready for an endless war. Pony up, America. Only Michael Steele can save us. Damn.
    Give Obama a little credit here (but not much). He has demoted King David, pulled him out of lovely Tampa and exiled him to that graveyard of empires where he has no chance of success. Don’t forget to write, Davey, and forget about 2012.

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  34. JohnH says:

    Not to worry, Nadine. There’s plenty of pork in the defense budget. National security will not be harmed by cuts.
    If pork were not abundant, DOD would have agreed to an audit long ago.
    Of course, some of those you shill for might be harmed…

    Reply

  35. larry birnbaum says:

    One of the weird things about this blog is that people making sober if hard comments get pushback from Steve Clemons, while people who write things like this:
    “However, anyone STUPID enough to go tit for tat with the BIGOT Nadine is hard to consider an asset to the comment section. The volume of HORSESHIT that rolls off her keyboard is gargantuan enough without some SMUG AND SELF-ENDEARED TWIT feeling he needs to personally shovel every single pile single-handedly and equally as LONG-WINDEDLY. For that reason alone, I’D LIKE TO SEE STEVE STICK A CORK IN YOU.”
    – and this is a reasonably polite instance of the kinds of things this, uhm, contributor writes here — don’t. It’s difficult not to draw some conclusions from that.

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  36. nadine says:

    “Obama has made it clear that his budget commission will cut entitlements but not touch “national security” spending, of which the wars are a vital part. The funding for the wars can’t be cut because we need to “support the troops” and we can’t end the war because we mustn’t “cut and run” or be “surrender monkeys” but really, as Walsh correctly indicates, the economy (and the city I mentioned) relies on the money.”
    Not to worry Don, the commission will recommend slashing defense spending due to the emergency situation – that is, the emergency that Obama created with out of control spending. The numbers are so dire, there’s a limited number of places to go.

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  37. PissedOffAmerican says:

    ‘Surge” smoke follows Petraeus to Afpak
    By Pepe Escobar
    Confirmed and reconfirmed by United States President Barack Obama, the US Senate and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and duly hailed as the new armored Messiah by US mainstream media, “tightly disciplined” political fox and former US Central Command chief General David Petraeus is about to land in Kabul. He will either hit the road to his 2012 Republican presidential nomination, or witness another disaster in a US$7 billion a month (and counting) quagmire.
    The myth of Petraeus’ “successful surge” in Iraq could not but linger on. The Pentagon never managed not to profit by selling a public relations operation to a gullible American public. Petraeus actually “won” the war in Iraq by disgorging Samsonites full of cash to selected strands of the Sunni resistance who were fiercely fighting the US occupation, while at the same time shielding the American military inside remote bases.
    Let’s assume that what in effect are mostly Afghan Pashtuns will now also take Petraeus’ bundle of cash (after all Afghanistan is the second most corrupt country in the world, only behind Somalia). In this case will he have enough time to buy the whole Afghan resistance before the 2012 US presidential election? It depends on how much cash will flow.
    What’s certain is that the Pashtuns will be more than happy to take the money and not run, but wait – exactly as the Sunni Iraqis are doing (newsflash: the Sunni-Shi’ite civil war is still on, killing at least 300 civilians every month).
    Naturally the infinite war lobby – from the Pentagon’s “full-spectrum dominance” crowd to hawkish Zio-cons and assorted Republicans – wants “cold-eyed realist” Petraeus to engage in, what else, infinite war, with its attendant surge(s). We’re already on our way; the general already said this is an “enduring” commitment. Maybe not exactly the White House sort of commitment, which until now was demoted General Stanley McChrystal’s hardcore, “take, clear and hold” counter-insurgency (COIN) plus building up local “governance”.
    continues….
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LG03Df05.html
    Well, obviously, Escobar knows whats goin’ on.
    And as I said on the 24th….
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/06/mcchrystals_sel/#comment-162486
    “And so now we get a general who is a member of the politary, instead of the military. Its about to get even more expensive, as Petreaus starts paying off the “insurgency” in Afghanistan with great bucketfuls of taxpayer’s money, bribing them to temprarily stop killing American soldiers so he can fake another short-lived “success”. Its only gotta last long enough for the word “success” to become firmly imprinted in the minds of the gullible rubes and patsies that make up the bulk of the American tax paying public. It worked in Iraq, so why not Afghanistan?”
    “Get ready, folks, for “Success, Act II”, another work of fiction by the Master of Deception and esteemed General of the Politary, David Petreaus”

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  38. The Pessimist says:

    The one factor that is not being mentioned in any of these posts regarding US policy in Afghanistan is the gargatuan elephant in the room… oil and gas pipelines.
    Democracy, human rights, Taliban et al; simply distractions from the hidden reality. That’s what is meant by “follow the money.”
    It

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  39. Don Bacon says:

    Yes, military spending goes wide and it goes deep, and it’s a financial drug that Team USA can’t kick. I was in a small city out in the desert last week. Its publicity is right up front in saying that it was created and is sustained by military spending, and it’s just one example.
    Obama has made it clear that his budget commission will cut entitlements but not touch “national security” spending, of which the wars are a vital part. The funding for the wars can’t be cut because we need to “support the troops” and we can’t end the war because we mustn’t “cut and run” or be “surrender monkeys” but really, as Walsh correctly indicates, the economy (and the city I mentioned) relies on the money.
    And, to be complete, not only the overall economy needs the money but the corporations that fund political campaigns and various think tanks need it too.
    Marine Corps General Smedley Butler said it best over seventy years ago: “War is a racket . . .the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” (click on my name for more)

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  40. susan says:

    Ian Welsh reminds us to follow the money:
    Actually Afghanistan is a war of choice
    Michael Steele

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  41. samuelburke says:

    Great observation Steve. A man of your political wit needs to be
    involved in trying to effect change more aggressively in the halls of
    arguments.
    The faces of the party aren’t important, it’s the direction the party
    will be steered into by the forces of the rebellion against sitting
    representatives.
    the question is: who will be the representative of the rebellion?
    He/She must be a party person through and through.
    hmmmm any ideas will be appreciated.

    Reply

  42. ... says:

    johnh – there will only be discussion on others discussions and never an actual discussion on why the usa is in a war on another countries soil that it has never attempted to adequately explain except in the most shallow manner…. one must accept war 24/7 and the cheap reasons that are offered for it at the onset and go about having discussions on others discussions as opposed to the most central issue of them all… on this july 4th holiday i suggest americans enjoy the fact that their military largesse is indeed unsurpassed and that they have headquartered themselves all over the globe… if at some point in time they ever get around to wondering why they are going to continue to be the target in the 21st century, they can also contemplate that on this phantasm holiday starting tomorrow..

    Reply

  43. JohnH says:

    Common sense sometimes comes from the most unexpected places. When George Will and Tom Friedman agree on something (the stupidity of Afghanistan) then you know there’s a problem.
    Steve is absolutely correct: “the DNC needs to temper its ‘gotcha criticism’”. If Steele’s comments lead to a real public discussion of the merits of Afghanistan–the stakes, the goals, and the costs and benefits of continuing–then I say more power to Steele.
    Such a discussion has been exactly what’s missing from American foreign policy for as long as I can remember.
    The elephant in the middle of the foreign policy parlor needs to be addressed.

    Reply

  44. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “Michael Steele is right on Afghanistan.”
    And Steve is right on Michael Steele.
    Steve focused like a laser on Steele’s courage in pinning this war on Obama and saying that the US shouldn’t be there, and also on the reprehensible DNC gotcha response which was purely political and irresponsible.
    I don’t think Clemons needs to explain it any further. It’s clear as a bell. As DCPundit wrote above: Clemons is absolutely on target with this post. Dems want to be more patriotic than the Republicans, and that’s silly to posture on this Afghanistan War.

    Reply

  45. nadine says:

    “nadine,
    I can google too and find all sorts of claims on the web that Islam condones killing, and also find other references that say it doesn’t.
    1. I don’t accept your creds as an Islamic scholar.
    2. Religious differences get very confusing and are best left to theologians.” (Don Bacon)
    So next time you say something disparaging about some Evangelical minister shall I quote your own words to you?
    Are you seriously denying that a very large swath of Islam actively approves of suicide bombing? esp. the fundamentalist Deobandi and Salafi/Wahabbi sects?
    You don’t have to be some kind of ‘expert’ you just have to read or listen to the many, mainstream proclamations of praise: e.g. by Yusuf Qudarawi one of the most influential theologians in Islam, on Al Jazeera every week with an audience of millions. This isn’t a matter of theological correctness, just fact.
    I told you your prejudices didn’t allow you say a single disparaging thing about Afghans without turning into an indictment of all humanity, as if we were all Taliban — and here you go proving me right again.

    Reply

  46. DavidT says:

    Steve,
    As a long-time reader of your blog I don’t think WEB’s comments are unfair. Your views on Afghanistan are pretty clear :). I have no quarrel with you feeling the way you do or expressing your views. It sure looks like a mess there. But you’re pretending that this post is simply about the merits of Steele’s comments does your credibility a disservice. It may be that you prefer preaching to your erstwhile followers and that I should just butt out. But I wish to appeal to your better nature.
    I have appreciated your periodic responses in this fray to my comments. I come here partly out of respect for your views, out of a desire to find out what some of the buzz is in our nation’s capitol, and as an outlet to acknowledge your valuable thoughts though much more often since the past election to defend the current administration. I don’t have a problem, believe it or not, with you or anyone else criticizing the Democrats or our 44th president. What I have a problem with is your doing so by focusing on a single dimension without engaging with the other dimensions that the administration must deal with. While some people may feel that some cable commentators are serious policy analysts, they so often employ just such tactics which frustrates me to no end. This isn’t because they are completely “wrong,” but rather that so much of what they say ignores so much information and insight they don’t even grapple with. I expect you to operate in a more balanced manner and feel it

    Reply

  47. ... says:

    glenn greenwald has a good article up outlining just how fucked up the new york times is… may as well include the washington post in it too, as they are both cut from the same clothe..
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/index.html

    Reply

  48. Maw of America says:

    Thank you, POA (11:10 AM)…
    In the July 2 blog about Lindsey Graham, I wrote:
    “The real clash of civilizations in the GOP will come when the Ron/Rand Paul conservatives have to reconcile the religious and war-loving right with their libertarian brethren.
    Just revisit the Paul’s statements about our engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their thoughts on government intrusion into things like privacy in your bedroom and prayer in schools.”
    I present exhibit A:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/07/defending_micha/#comment-163178
    Thank you, POA…
    In the July 2 blog about Lindsey Graham, I wrote:
    “The real clash of civilizations in the GOP will come when the Ron/Rand Paul conservatives have to reconcile the religious and war-loving right with their libertarian brethren.
    Just revisit the Paul’s statements about our engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as their thoughts on government intrusion into things like privacy in your bedroom and prayer in schools.”
    I present exhibit A:
    http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2010/07/defending_micha/#comment-163178

    Reply

  49. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    I can google too and find all sorts of claims on the web that Islam condones killing, and also find other references that say it doesn’t.
    1. I don’t accept your creds as an Islamic scholar.
    2. Religious differences get very confusing and are best left to theologians.

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, Other religions may have prejudice, but Islam has the franchise on blessing the killing of non-Muslims. Muslims too for that matter; the vast majority of the victims of “martyrdom operations” are other Muslims.
    In Christianity, a martyr dies for the faith.
    In Islam, a martyr kills for the faith.
    “While you have a thing against Muslims, I see Churchill, a young immature man, commenting (as you say) on people different from himself in a colorful way. Beneath the color there is of course some basic human truths that (1) Afghans are good fighters, (2) a citizen of any country tends to look with disfavor upon foreign armies, and is quite happy to shoot them and (3) the US ought to get the hell out, as the British were forced to do.”
    If you think that Churchill was not saying something specific about Afghanistan and the Afghans, then your ability to read has been seriously compromised by your own prejudices, on display here:
    1. Only white people can be disparaged, i.e. Churchill is immature and commenting on people different from himself in a colorful way, implying that he was distracted by the ‘color’ and was not making valid points. I should say Churchill saw more clearly at 23 than most do their whole lives; that’s one reason he vaulted to fame so early based on his writing ability.
    2. Any disparagement of third-world people must be turned into a comment on human nature generally. It is forbidden to say anything unflattering about Afghans: Churchill’s comments about their love of plunder, code of vendettas and religious fanaticism must be taken as an indictment of the human race, not a comment on the cultural choices of the Afghans. BTW, “Sahib” meant a white man, not necessarily a soldier: Churchill was saying that shooting foreigners was taught to Afghans as a virtue pleasing to Allah.
    3. The British maintained Afghanistan as a buffer between themselves and Russia quite successfully for a hundred years. You could argue that we should imitate their ends and stop trying to rebuild the place (that is American nature, it seems, we want to build up the broken places of the world), but they did not get out at all. So you are substituting your ideas for Churchill’s.

    Reply

  51. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    Muslims have no franchise on religious prejudice, as you frequently demonstrate. My mother, a Congregationalist, believed that Roman Catholics were the devil incarnate. Christians, who disagree intensely amongst themselves, believe that in general they are the chosen people. Religious differences get very confusing and are better left to theologians.
    While you have a thing against Muslims, I see Churchill, a young immature man, commenting (as you say) on people different from himself in a colorful way. Beneath the color there is of course some basic human truths that (1) Afghans are good fighters, (2) a citizen of any country tends to look with disfavor upon foreign armies, and is quite happy to shoot them and (3) the US ought to get the hell out, as the British were forced to do.

    Reply

  52. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, Churchill could write the same letter today, couldn’t he?
    Please note that Churchill zeroes in on the root grievance. The Sahib is powerful and an infidel. Infidels should not be powerful. Only Muslims should be powerful.
    The rest is commentary.

    Reply

  53. nadine says:

    Defend Michael Steele? Are we to believe that Steve Clemons has the best interests of the RNC at heart? Curious that Steve calls Steele’s critics “war hungry Republicans”. So, Steve agrees that Afghanistan is Obama’s war of choice?
    Steele as a gaffe-o-matic. Unlike Biden, Steele is not protected by a complicit liberal media from attracting ridicule to himself and his office. Steele should go, but he probably won’t.

    Reply

  54. Don Bacon says:

    Why do they hate us?
    a historical letter from Afghanistan (extract):
    “Every influence, every motive, that provokes the spirit of murder among men, impels these mountaineers to deeds of treachery and violence. The strong aboriginal propensity to kill, inherit in all human beings, has in these valleys been preserved in unexampled strength and vigour. That religion, which above all others was founded and propagated by the sword — the tenets and principles of which are instinct with incentives to slaughter and which in three continents has produced fighting breeds of men — stimulates a wild and merciless fanaticism. The love of plunder, always a characteristic of hill tribes, is fostered by the spectacle of opulence and luxury which, to their eyes, the cities and plains of the south display. A code of honour not less punctilious than that of old Spain, is supported by vendettas as implacable as those of Corsica. . . .. Then the Mullah will raise his voice and remind them of other days when the sons of the prophet drove the infidel from the plains of India, and ruled at Delhi, as wide an Empire as the Kafir holds to-day: when the true religion strode proudly through the earth and scorned to lie hidden and neglected among the hills: when mighty princes ruled in Bagdad, and all men knew that there was one God, and Mahomet was His prophet. And the young men hearing these things will grip their Martinis [British rifles], and pray to Allah, that one day He will bring some Sahib — best prize of all — across their line of sight at seven hundred yards so that, at least, they may strike a blow for insulted and threatened Islam.” — Winston Churchill, journalist, 1897, aged 23

    Reply

  55. DakotabornKansan says:

    Michael Steele is right on Afghanistan! Steve Clemon

    Reply

  56. ... says:

    the usa idolizes its military and its war capabilities.. as a consequence the political class have also supported this ongoing position… obama came in with a mission towards afganistan… while the names and places change, the position remains the same: usa is a nation built on war and the continuation of war… any critical minded person can see this without going into the details… it is sad to see how many get caught up in the particulars, failing to acknowledge the main thrust of their own countries deep seated approach towards war… the ideological syrup seems to continue to hold most in a position of all is well in the good ole’ usa… it isn’t, but quite the opposite…

    Reply

  57. Mr.Murder says:

    Clearly there is an obligation to pay for any war we are in, “to raise and support armies.” (Article I, Section eight)
    Attach paygo status to this war.
    Mission accompolished.
    Would it be necessary to compel such action through parliamentary means? Oh brother, where art thou, Sen. Byrd?

    Reply

  58. Don Bacon says:

    We should continually keep in mind that Afghanistan is not somewhere near Labrador or Panama but is on the other side of the planet from the USA. It’s a poor (one of the poorest in the world) mountainous country full of illiterate tribal people who in no way threaten the mighty USA.
    So we’re left with the tired “safe havens” argument. Whoah, wait a second, isn’t the AQ “safe haven” now Pakistan? And shouldn’t we then invade Pakistan? No, and that takes care of the “safe haven” argument.
    No other country, any country free of overbearing US influence that is, is particularly concerned by poor Afghanistan. The people who are neighbors to Afghanistan aren’t concerned. Other Asian countries aren’t concerned. Other western hemisphere countries aren’t concerned. Africa ditto. The European people don’t care.
    US out of Afghanistan. Now.

    Reply

  59. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Sometimes, when the disgust of what we are becoming becomes palpable and depressing, we are shown a shining star, someone whose spark ignites optimism and hope. This child is one such example………
    http://wire.antiwar.com/2010/07/02/art-helps-student-who-lost-eye-in-gaza-protest-2/
    http://thirstypixels.blogspot.com/

    Reply

  60. Maryellen Brady says:

    Michael Steele has successfully redirected the press away from the WEEK OF STUPID for the Republicans. The republicans blocked the passage of Unemployment benefits which would have been good for the people and good for the economy and also a success story for the Dems. Unlike Tim Kaine at the DNC, Steele knows his audience and can get really creative in his delivery on message. And like the rodeo clown has an excellent sense of timing.
    He is quite clever and politically savvy. The republicans will not get rid of Steels, he is a survivor.

    Reply

  61. Maryellen Brady says:

    Michael Steele has successfully redirected the press away from the WEEK OF STUPID for the Republicans. The republicans blocked the passage of Unemployment benefits which would have been good for the people and good for the economy and also a success story for the Dems. Unlike Tim Kaine at the DNC, Steele knows his audience and can get really creative in his delivery on message. And like the rodeo clown has an excellent sense of timing.
    He is quite clever and politically savvy. The republicans will not get rid of Steels, he is a survivor.

    Reply

  62. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The War That

    Reply

  63. Steve Clemons says:

    W.E.B. — You normally seem so much for with it than you are in
    this exchange with me. It takes more for me to ban people from
    the blog — but I tried to engage you and you didn’t really take
    the opportunity. I am deeply engaged in the debate on
    Afghanistan policy — and any review of my comments would
    help you see that. In this post, I specifically do target some
    Democrats as Pentagon-huggers in the sense that they run
    scared when it comes to military issues. They fear looking weak
    in the eyes of the American public.
    This is a post about policy and about the core views of Michael
    Steele — which are that Afghanistan is a bad bet for the country.
    He ran against the politics of both war-tilting Dems and
    neoconservative Republicans and spoke to the wrongheadedness
    of this war. I agree with that perspective.
    I respect that you don’t. Let’s move on.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  64. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “So while you accuse the Democrats of “gotcha criticism” for Steele’s distortions (if not outright lies)”
    Steele is no favorite of mine. Truth be told, I think he is a prime example of the extremely low quality of today’s politicians. But in this instance, I fail to see the “outright lies” you accuse him of. Perhaps you will make the accusation with some specificity, just to clear the air? But I doubt it.
    Considering, too, that Hillary Clinton is favorite of the military, and vice versa, I think that “pentagon-hugging” is actually a quite tepid description of her pro-military leanings, and many others on the left.
    And one more thing. Steve doesn’t make “veiled threats”. His response to you seemed pretty open and clear cut, if you ask me. From my side, I really don’t see that you’ve done anything on this thread to warrant “banning”. However, anyone stupid enough to go tit for tat with the bigot Nadine is hard to consider an asset to the comment section. The volume of horseshit that rolls off her keyboard is gargantuan enough without some smug and self-endeared twit feeling he needs to personally shovel every single pile single-handedly and equally as long-windedly. For that reason alone, I’d like to see Steve stick a cork in you.

    Reply

  65. Don Bacon says:

    SC: “Michael Steele is right on Afghanistan.”
    And Steve is right on Michael Steele.
    Truth pops up in the oddest places sometimes, but that doesn’t make it less true.
    This oft-stated policy, that we have to support the troops by continuing to put them in wars might be good corporate politics but it’s bad policy, besides being bad for the troops.
    Recognizing that after almost nine years Afghanistan is still a graveyard for empires is not “rooting for failure in Afghanistan”, rather it is recognizing the truth of the present condition as well as another US military and foreign policy failure.
    Thank you Steve for stepping up.

    Reply

  66. W.E.B. Du Bois says:

    “WEB — I suggest you become better acquainted with my blog before pushing me the way you have in your note.” – steve
    Your characterization of Democrats who favor staying in Afghanistan as “pentagon-hugging” (as well as your other characterizations) and the seeming selective objections you raise to “gotcha criticism” make my comments fair enough.
    —————-
    The merits of
    my argument are there — while I don’t like the gotcha criticism
    of the DNC in this case, I tend not to like Gotcha “stuff” in most
    cases — though we all get close to the line on occasion. If you
    want to be part of the discussion here, then debate the real
    points I make — which are that the Democrats are currently tied
    down in a war in Afghanistan that may break the back of
    Obama’s administration and the military — and that this tough
    slog in Afghanistan is something drawing bipartisan criticism.
    Thanks for your note and participation here — but I don’t have
    much patience for people who assume things about my writing
    or past positions and haven’t read them. So, shape up — or by
    all means, get your own blog.
    Thanks, steve
    - Steve
    Your comments sounds like a veiled threat to ban me, Steve. Go ahead, it’s your blog. Your threat to ban me because I called you out on having a double standard proves my point. I disagree with your characterization of your own post. It’s not a substantive policy post, it’s a post about poliTICS not poliCY. You are criticizing Democrats for their political maneuvers, not the policy itself. So therefore your instruction to me that I direct my comments towards poliCY and not poliTICS has no justification.
    You’ve not convinced me that I’ve done anything wrong and I’ll do the same thing again. Hit the ban button, bro. It’s not a big deal.
    WEB

    Reply

  67. DCPundit says:

    Clemons is absolutely on target with this post. Dems want to be more patriotic than the Republicans, and that’s silly to posture on this Afghanistan War.

    Reply

  68. Steve Clemons says:

    WEB — I suggest you become better acquainted with my blog
    before pushing me the way you have in your note. The merits of
    my argument are there — while I don’t like the gotcha criticism
    of the DNC in this case, I tend not to like Gotcha “stuff” in most
    cases — though we all get close to the line on occasion. If you
    want to be part of the discussion here, then debate the real
    points I make — which are that the Democrats are currently tied
    down in a war in Afghanistan that may break the back of
    Obama’s administration and the military — and that this tough
    slog in Afghanistan is something drawing bipartisan criticism.
    Thanks for your note and participation here — but I don’t have
    much patience for people who assume things about my writing
    or past positions and haven’t read them. So, shape up — or by
    all means, get your own blog.
    Thanks, steve

    Reply

  69. W.E.B. Du Bois says:

    Your blog post comes across as a highly biased polemic, Steve. It seems that you favor that America leave Afghanistan immediately, if not have most of its troops out by the end of next year. So while you accuse the Democrats of “gotcha criticism” for Steele’s distortions (if not outright lies), I doubt you would make the same accusation if Democrats were doing “gotcha criticism” on an issue where you agreed with Democrats.
    For example, did you accuse the Democrats of “gotcha criticism” when the President lept on Boehner’s comments about financial reform being the same as using nuclear weapons on ant? Did you accuse Democrats of “gotcha criticism” when they denounced Bunning’s blocking of unemployment benefits? You probably didn’t. You only call something “gotcha criticism” when you disagree with the policies of the person offering the criticism. If you agree with the policies of the person offering the criticism, then “gotcha criticism” is all good.
    As for your comment on “embracing wars, deferring to generals, or giving the Pentagon everything it wants”, that’s a bit of “exploitation” on your part isn’t it? According to you, people who support the war in Afghanistan are war mongers who slavishly submit to military authority. They couldn’t possibly have any rational reasons for wanting to win in Afghanistan like say, preventing the re-emergence of an Al Qaeda safe haven in Afghanistan, or considering it dishonorable to encourage an Afghani army, police force and citizenry to fight the Taliban and then desert them when they do?
    If you find the Democrats to have made disingenuous arguments against Steele, might I suggest you not do the same against them?

    Reply

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