Saturday, October 03, 2009

Whoo Hoos Still Steering the Ship

When the late President responded to his opposition's calls for a voice in deliberations, he wasn't shy about reminding them who 'won the election'. The new guy must have missed that part. For in addition to having a majority in both houses, and having won that last election, he's bending over backwards to be fair to the opposition. So far backwards, however, that he's allowing the 'loonie toons' and 'patriots' who backed Bushco's new American century to screw him out of what little chance for good the rest of the century holds.

Add to that he has a few 'whackos' on the democratic side to deal with, as well. Like the guy who thought it was a good idea to try selling Chicago at the IOC meeting in Copenhagen last week. Sending Michelle, along with Chicago's mayor was all right, but to try the President in a 10 minute sales pitch to cinch a deal with an organization that doesn't like anybody was not a good idea. Consequently President Obama comes home with a 'black eye' rather than a 'feather in his cap' to those Americans who value eyes and feathers - and there are a lot of them. Ollie North - the hero of Nicaragua- was first off the mark accusing Obama of  'fiddling' after 'Olympic Gold' while Americans died in Afghanistan. Of second guessing 'the commander with a plan-der' to win in the Panshirs. As if any plan for Afghanistan could pay-off as well as Ollie's arming the Contras by supplying Iran's weapons needs. Ollie should know about successful plans.

If there is one thing that there have been lots of coming out of Afghanistan it's 'plans' - to date, all unsuccessful. Correct that, successfully, but not yet victoriously. Correct that, if things don't change it won't be a win. I hope General McChrystal's 'plan' would include a novena or six, for prayer seems to be as good as another division at accomplishing anything positive over there. Just for starters though, Obama should 'do a Georgie' - do a 'name that tune' sort of thing - find a general who could do the plan with less troops - just like the Petraeus 'Surge'. (Who can do that plan with less troops? I'll do that plan with a platoon, sir!' Good. You're promoted!) It should be easy, for it's all just media relations exercise anyway, there aren't that many Taliban in Afghanistan left to kill.

If the war in Afghanistan is being lost, it's being lost. Not because the Taliban are winning, or are any better than before, just that the job being done there is worse. The 'mission' is ill-defined and more scattered than ever, the goals aren't measurable. Ground taken is given up or poorly-controlled and now that's happening all over the country not just in 'injun territory'. Explosives and air-power are still being applied massively - in comparison to Iraq. The civil authorities border on barbaric, and the soldiery - many into a third or fourth rotation are beginning to realize that little is being accomplished for all their hard work and sacrifice. The Afghans don't like them, or want them. The only Afghans really "afraid" of the Taliban are living in Kabul and are looking for a way out when the balloon goes up.

Add to that a stated 'new' tactic of 'saving the people' (hearts and minds anyone?). When added to the common tactic of 'killing the militant' and a general soldiery which can't tell the difference between the two, this new strategy is doomed to failure.

In Canada there is a growing fear that our government is planning to extend the Canadian 'mission' beyond the 2011 cut-off. The Minister of Defense was flying that balloon in the press last week. He should consider that, if America wasn't there, would Canada be supporting the other NATO allies in a war? I'd doubt it. If America withdrew tomorrow, would Canadian troops maintain the noble course they've charted for that 'long run' he was talking about? What do you think?

In the news was the recently completed case of a young soldier who shot his tentmate while playing a game of quick-draw. Aside from the dead soldier's family, everybody else seemed to consider the sentence - dishonorable discharge and 4 years in a military slammer -  a little harsh for some horseplay in a war zone.

The defense, we're finding out, presented evidence that such gunplay wasn't all that uncommon among the troopers. Evidence had been introduced of troopers in training holding pistols to each others' heads for fun. This, as far as I'm concerned, is up there with paying to heal wounded warriors who might have been hurt in similar antics. Or like paying a pension to Clem Matchee for trying to hang himself. It's reminiscent of the hazing and horseplay that caused the Airborne Regiment to be dissolved. Soldiers have a nasty streak of the 'little boy' in them, it's that willingness to take a chance that makes them heroes, or war criminals. Discipline and military law are supposed to minimize this, but what happens when the NCOs and officers are 'Peter Panning' too? You get organized chaos. Like in Somalia, and in Afghanistan.

The groundswell of patriots -"If you're not behind our Forces, you should be in front of them"- dopes who take American jingoism and drape it with maple leaves, like we invented that crap - will be turning apoplectic about this 'treachery'. Forgetting for a minute that their sires and grandsires, mine included, along with thousands of others, spent 5 years stopping Germans and Japanese who had the same bullshit mindset. I don't think one of those real 'vets', in his heyday, would have put up with what passes for patriotism, or even 'democracy', today. Their honour has been suborned by the fascists.

And so the tail continues to wag the dog.

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