America's Hour of Truth The Risk of Failure in Afghanistan and Iraq

Barack Obama is caught in a Catch-22 situation: If America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq fail, they will overshadow any of his domestic achievements. The end game in the leadership role of the United States in the world began long ago. Can the Afghanistan conference deliver a breakthrough?

AFP

An Essay by


I. There is a name that is now being mentioned frequently in the debate over America's wars, a name that does not bode well for US President Barack Obama: Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States. Johnson, who, like Obama, was both a Democrat and an energetic reformer, ultimately failed because of an overseas war being fought by US troops. The Vietnam War prevented Johnson from being remembered as one of the most prominent US presidents in the history of the 20th century.

Johnson took on issues that no one before him had dared to touch -- not even his predecessor, John F. Kennedy. The set of domestic programs known collectively as the Great Society is associated with his name, and it was Johnson who courageously fought racial discrimination in the United States, declared war on poverty, welcomed non-European immigrants to the United States, reformed the education system from the ground up, promoted civil rights and, with his Medicare and Medicaid programs, laid the foundation for a new health care policy on which Obama can now build.

But these great achievements practically disappeared behind Johnson's miscalculations on Indochina. Beginning in 1966, when the US campaign in Vietnam was approaching its peak, the expression "credibility gap" became popular in the United States. Johnson's foreign policy spoiled the success of his domestic policies. He was a wartime president, a role Americans could not reconcile with his image of a conciliator at home.

Obama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, will soon find himself in a very similar predicament. At that point, the entire current global order will most likely be up for debate.

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esperonto 07/20/2010
1. Rahm The Desert Fox
Zitat von sysopBarack Obama is caught in a Catch-22 situation: If America's wars in Afghanistan and Iraq fail, they will overshadow any of his domestic achievements. The end game in the leadership role of the United States in the world began long ago. Can the Afghanistan conference deliver a breakthrough? http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,707279,00.html
I dont think so. A good leader knows when to pull his troops out even if the war is lost. The worst wars like Vietnam have been remembered for deaths that occurred after the war should have been over, like how Nixon and Kissinger dragged Vietnam out past the breaking point. That is the horror that is remembered. A Vietnam movie is rarely made about the beginning of the war. Its always a film about the later part of the war, after Nixon and Kiss continued to drag it out by avoiding peace. Thats where the surrealism really came from. It was the surrealism of Kissinger, whose attitude is like Rahm Emanuel, pushing war beyond the edge of sanity. IF we remember something bad, it will be Obama's advisors like Rahm pushing war further than it should go.
Norberto_Tyr 07/21/2010
2. It is impossible to fail in doing something that does not make any sense
It is impossible to fail in doing something that does not make any sense from the start. It is clear that Saddam’s Iraq was far safer to the US than in 2010 for the simple reason that Saddam never allowed Al-Qaida to operate inside Iraq. On the other hand, current Iraq is much safer for Israel, whatever the connection between Iraq and the twin towers might be. Kissinger, the purported father of ‘real politik’ (purported because in my view true ‘real politik’ is embedded in the Old Testament, if it is properly read though) commented regarding the need for the Iraq invasion: “yes, invading Iraq was necessary because Afghanistan alone was not enough”, and this is, by chance, the pure truth, it is a Biblical vendetta, perhaps a payback for the rockets fired against Israel during the first Iraq war, or perhaps as a punishment for Saddam’s sponsorship of suicide bombers in Israel, or perhaps for the Jewish slavery at the times of Nebuchadnezzar, or perhaps for all of the above plus the ones that will certainly come. There is a fundamental (essential I would say) fallacy connecting the concepts ‘invasion’ and ‘terrorism prevention’. For example, there is a common computer game prompting the user to click on an icon promising a large prize, but when the unaware sucker clicks, the icon moves away. Invading a country merely in order to prevent terrorism is the same thing, you invade Afghanistan, the icon moves to Iraq automatically, if you click in Iraq it moves to Pakistan, if you click in Pakistan it moves to India, and the system crashes because in India there are a mere thousand million people. Do not click any more, that is the common sense advice, the terrorists move always earlier triggered by the click event. Therefore, we discovered something new with this analysis, you cannot fail because the aim is ill defined, most probably induced by poor advice in the first place: how much would be enough? Well, depends on how greedy you are, really. Let US recapitulate, the twin towers were downed because of USA’s interference in the Middle East, USA’s interference can be traced back to the need of plenty and cheap oil and gas since the discovery by Daimler of the automobile and later the autobahns, Israel can be thought as a bridgehead in the area to enforce the ‘imperium’ (command armies and coerce citizens) imposed on US after WW II by the victors (whoever they might be). We deconstructed (as recommended by the modern philosophers of the caliber of Levi Strauss and Karl Marx), now we will reconstruct: first mistake is Israel planted in Palestine, a stable peace in the Middle East will drastically decrease the transportation cost of oil and gas, reduce the strategic importance of the Hormuz strait, reduce terrorism, and most important, reestablish the rule of law and justice towards the greatest victims of WW II since they were absolutely detached from any complicity with any of the contenders of either side, namely the Palestinians. Norberto
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