Obama’s Afghanistan Policy?

Juan Cole offers some sobering news this morning which raises significant questions about the viability of the Obama-McChrystal plan for Afghanistan. Here’s his third paragraph:

The past two weeks have seen the situation in Afghanistan deteriorate palpably, raising significant questions about the viability of the Obama-McChrysstal plan for the country. The chain of catastrophes has been reported in piecemeal fashion, but taken together these events are far more ominous than they might appear on the surface.

And here’s his first paragraph:

You probably won’t see it in most US news outlets, but on Monday morning in Kabul and Jalalabad, hundreds of university students demonstrated against US strikes this weekend that allegedly killed a number of civilians. I want to underline the irony that the students in Tehran University are protesting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while students in these two Afghan cities are calling for Yankees to go home. Nangarhar University in Jalalabad only has a student body of about 3200, so ‘hundreds’ of students protesting there would be a significant proportion of the student body.

Need I say more? Perhaps read the whole article and weep?

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  1. Ruth’s avatar

    Nobel Committee awards posthumous Nobel Peace Prize to Lyndon B. Johnson; also considers posthumous Peace Prize awards to Nixon and Stalin

    After its recent decision to award the Nobel Prize to President Barack Obama for saying many peaceful things and then escalating an inherited war, the Committee undertook the enormous task of investigating which world leaders engaged in similar efforts may have been overlooked. This new program, entitled “Recognizing past heroes of peace,” recently announced that its first posthumous Nobel Peace Prize would be awarded to Lyndon Baines Johnson, for his valiant efforts to say peaceful things while engaged in an inherited war, and for his courageous, peaceful decision, in the face of mass protests, to continue throughout his term of office to escalate that war.

    In support of this decision, the Committee noted how helpless then-President Johnson was in that he inherited a war not of his own making, and how he continued to say many things about wanting the war to end, and about how much he regretted sending young men off to die. The Committee also interviewed various family members and household employees to gain a sense of “Lyndon Johnson, The Peacemaker,” to ensure the integrity of the award. They have documented this investigation via such resounding testimonials as this one from the Johnson’s former personal secretary: “I can confidently say that I know of no instance in which Mr. Johnson ever beat his wife.”
    Also on the list of prospective awardees are Richard Nixon, who inherited the same war and ultimately ended it after attempting valiantly to secure domestic peace by suppressing particularly raucous college student protests (such as the one at Kent State University in 1970), and Joseph Stalin, who, according to former Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, was a “great lover of peace, a man of giant stature who moulded, as few other men have done, the destinies of his age.” [March 6, 1953]

    submitted by Ruth Kastner, [email protected]

  2. Ruth’s avatar

    Disclaimer: The foregoing, “Nobel Committee awards posthumous Nobel Peace Prize to Lyndon B. Johnson; also considers posthumous Peace Prize awards to Nixon and Stalin,” was a satirical article and not an actual statement of fact. 😆

  3. Mardé’s avatar

    Wow, thanks Ruth for that amazing and deeply sardonic satire. I think I got right away that what you were writing in your first comment was not literally true, to put it mildly, but was an ingenious spoof, but thanks for your disclaimer nevertheless, and thanks for taking the time to make your comment.

    By curious coincidence I had just finished reading an interview with Stanley Hauerwas by Kevin Ekstrom here. Also, I had just finished perusing the Wiki for Alasdair MacIntyre who is often quoted by Stanley Hauerwas. Not that I am necessarily a Christian, mind you, but I’m very interested in how some of these guys think.

    Last night when I wrote this comment I forget to mention the even curiouser coincidence that Alasdair MacIntyre, heavyweight philosopher and professor at Notre Dame is EXACTLY my age, born on January 12, 1929. Well, what do you know? And me a former light weight physicist turned engineer, and also a UU, now retired.

  4. Ruth’s avatar

    Hi, I just now saw your comment in response to my post. Of course, it’s now July and we are even deeper in the Afghanistan quagmire after the demise of McChrysstal and revelations that the US is paying off warlords. Auugh, so much for the credibility of the Nobel ‘peace’ prize.

    BTW, if you’re a former physicist, you might be interested in my work on Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation, cf. http://arxiv.org/abs/1006.4902

  5. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks for your second comment. Yes, we are deeper into the quagmire six months later. If Petraeus can do anything at all he can provide cover from the screaming masses of Americans (mostly right-wing but others too) who are certain to protest our extrication of ourselves from Afghanistan, although the tide of opinion is turning against the war. But how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake, to quote Senator Kerry. A totally no-win situation.

    I gave your paper on Cramer’s Transactional Interpretation a quick perusal, but it will take far more than that for me to understand it. Just now I started reading the Wiki on TIQM and I’m quickly in over my head, but still I’m fascinated by these alternative viewpoints of QM and what they mean.


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