Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama's Good Ideas

Whatever else you can say about Americans, you have to say they don't give up what they think is a good idea. A couple of cases in point.

Oliver North - former Marine and central figure in the 'Contra Scandal' at the end of the Reagan administration, is still around. Not only is he still around, he has a following of sorts through Fox news in 'strategic' circles in the US. Eastern Europe - particularly Rumania - and Afghanistan hold some fascination for him. The first as what he thinks to be a 'bulwark of democracy' and the latter as an arena for fightin' for a noble cause. Last week he blathered on about the need for a personnel upgrade to defeat the treacherous Pathan.

After the standard red, white and blue weeper about the nobility of sacrifice to free little girls to get an education and allow Americans to really 'help', Ollie got to the part about the dangers of "leaving the battle space to those who hate America". What Afghanistan is really about, for Ollie, as it has been since the first J-dam slammed into an Afghan mountain, is about war. Afghanistan has been a 'battle space' from 2001 on, the difference to-day is that the 'warfighters' have parleyed the battlespace from a shrunken corner in the extreme southwest into, virtually, the whole country. The American notion of finding and killing the Taliban has led to the Taliban giving, not only the Americans but all of ISAF, an opportunity to find and kill them all over the country even in the 'safe' Northern Alliance parts. This opportunity usually comes couched in some acts of 'cowardice' that see a steady stream of young NATO soldiers going home in a different aspect than when they arrived. There's lots of 'battlespace', but precious little evidence that it's in any practical way under NATO/American control. ISAF is restricted to it's bases other than when there is a foray outside the wire. 'Taking and holding' anything is a euphemism for building a bunker in hope of exercising some local control. If all those fortifications were mutually observable it would still be a crapshoot about the locals - let alone those little girls, schools and clinics that Ollie would see built, if it was 'more secure'. So Ollie's calling for a few thousand boots more. And, after that, as many as it takes. He'll know victory when he sees it - just like he did when the USAF wiped out the security force from a NATO airbase so Ollie could get some Fox News video and started the latest 'save the (good) citizens' campaign.

The second gang are Bill Kristol and the Israel lobby. These are the 'neocons' who worked closely with Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld to make sure Iraq got its come-uppance. Of course they bailed from George Bush's floundering 'Ark o' War' when Iraq started looking like the quagmire it is. They managed to dodge the blame for a loss, as well as the 'bad intel' they had bruited aloud to get it started. They were able to stand back and tell Americans that they had been right and George had screwed it up. Now they're back. Iran's the target and because they control the central nervous systems of a whack of 'tea party' types they're advising Obama to 'get tough', or, preferably, explosive with the Medes. The Democrats seem to be having difficulty telling them to shut up and eff off. In fact the Dems seem to be listening to them. It must be the old thing about being the first president to 'lose' a war. Obama should consider that if the tail can wag the dog into a series of endless wars, it can wag its way to a victory that might otherwise be described as a defeat. Just like Nixon's 'win' in SE Asia.

To make up for his resistance to change in the shooting wars, President Obama seems hell bent on destroying other 'good ideas'. The 'missile defence' of America in Europe seems to be a dead duck. He's trying to stop the F22 - America's 'back-up' 31st century air superiority program - he seems to think the F35 program should be sufficient. And now he's making deals with the Russians to cut back on the number of 'revitalized nukes' Bushco ordered. If the howls the 'socialist' healthcare reform engendered are any indication, stripping America's defense will be cause a flood of shaving lather in the teacups of the nation.

It took some massive sacrifices to put America light years ahead of any conventional forces that could attack it. Seeing those light years diminishing into realistic realms of 'defence' can only aggravate those who made their living off the expense. And that's never a good idea.

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