It is evident from the length of this deliberative process and from the flood of leaks that have emerged from Kabul and Washington that the perfect course of action does not exist. Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right.Bob Cesca and DougJ at Balloon Juice have already deconstructed the above quote for its simplistic stupidity -- which should be readily apparent. Broder and his Village idiots simply don't care if they're right or wrong. "How about the Washington corporate press stop hectoring and let the president make the right decision about, you know, war."
Against my better judgment I decided to read more of Broderella's waste of tree pulp and at the risk of Fisking the entire column, found something absurd in almost every paragraph. Broder begins by telling us the internal debate is stretched to the "breaking point." This is something he knows, somehow, via intuition or clairvoyance I presume.
The leaks? The time? Feh. Leaks are the sauce of Washington intrigue, indicating someone is losing an argument, not that the argument itself is going on too long.
This is Broder of course, the man who professes to value comity and abhors discord above all. Invoking Clark Clifford's defense of Harry Truman, Broder's latest excuse to badger President Obama is the voice of a half century ago telling us that being decisive is more important than being right -- advice from a man who later, advising LBJ flip-flopped like a slinky on a waxed stairwell when it came to Vietnam. Escalate, don't escalate; end the bombing, don't stop bombing! Cease, cease the bombing!!!
Yeah, Clark Fucking Clifford. A profile in wankerdom.
A more apt Clifford analogy comes not from his reign as Truman's White House Counsel, but when he actually had a hand in decisions of war and peace advising Johnson.
Clifford took office committed to rethinking President Johnson's Vietnam policies, and Vietnam policy consumed most of his time. He had argued against escalation in 1965 in private counsel with the President, but then provided public support for the President's position once the decision was made. At his confirmation hearing, he told the Armed Services Committee of the United States Senate that the limited objective of the United States was to guarantee to the people of South Vietnam the right of self-determination. He opposed ending the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam at the time, but acknowledged that the situation could change. In fact, on March 31, 1968, just a month after Clifford arrived at the Pentagon, President Johnson, in an effort to get peace talks started, ordered the cessation of bombing north of the 20th parallel, an area comprising almost 80 percent of North Vietnam's land area and 90 percent of its population. In the same address, Johnson announced that he would not be a candidate for reelection in 1968, surprising everyone, Clifford included. Soon the North Vietnamese agreed to negotiations, which began in Paris in mid-May 1968. Later, on October 31, 1968, to encourage the success of these talks, the President, with Clifford's strong support, ordered an end to all bombing in North Vietnam.He advised Johnson right out of office, leaving the mess to Teh Awsum Nixon - who doubled-down and bombed Cambodia. That turned out so funking well, didn't it.
Maybe if those geniuses were more concerned with getting that particular quagmire right instead of just pretending they knew WTF they were doing and trying to look good to the craptastic punditocracy, things would work out better. Let's not even mention (okay, mention) Clifford's stint as one of the Masters of the Universe in the BCCI bank scandal.
Broder lives in the past, a past seen through his uniquely myopic rose-colored spectacles. Consider the disconnect with reality the following passages represent. The question NOW is not how we got into Afghanistan, but as Broder himself asks, "Why are we in Afghanistan?" Nowhere in his essay does he address the here and now, however. He answers his own question with a simplistically truncated version of recent history. No justification for our continued presence whatsoever. The question should be, Why are we in Afghanistan NOW?
David, David, David. Invoking mushroom clouds? Really?
In all this dithering, it's easy to forget a few fundamentals. Why are we in Afghanistan? Not because of its own claim on us but because the Taliban rulers welcomed the al-Qaeda plotters who hatched the destruction of Sept. 11, 2001. The Taliban also oppressed its own people, especially women, but we sent troops because Afghanistan was the hide-out for the terrorists who attacked our country.
We knew that governing Afghanistan would never be easy. It had resisted outside forces through the ages, and its geography, tribal structure, absence of a democratic tradition and poverty all argued that once we went in, it would be hard to get out.
But George W. Bush said -- and Obama seemed to agree -- that withdrawal was not an option.
That imperative is reinforced by the presence of Pakistan, a shaky nuclear-armed power across a porous mountain border. If the Taliban comes back in Afghanistan, the al-Qaeda cells already in Pakistan will operate even more freely -- and nuclear weapons could fall into the most dangerous hands.
Given all of this, I don't see how Obama can refuse to back up the commander he picked and the strategy he is recommending. It may not work if the country truly is ungovernable. But I think we have to gamble that security will bring political progress -- as it has done in Iraq.
Pakistan not merely a problem, it is where al-Qaeda IS. They aren't IN Afghanistan anymore, not in numbers that pose a realistic threat to the United States, and the Taliban was disbursed years ago. Why are we there NOW? That's what President Obama is trying to get his advisers and military personnel to focus on, that and when and how do we end it.
Obama's well aware of what the problems are. He's trying to solve them, not just look good. He already looks good you dottering old fool. The internal debate Broder concerns himself with is at a level well beyond his comprehension. Do we really want to govern that god forsaken place indefinitely? Would you really subject the innocent people of the most unconquerable country on the planet to the whims or our Congress? Sadist.
If you have any constructive opinions regarding the Afghan end-strategy, by all means let's hear it. Meanwhile, if you've nothing to do but kibitz, STFU*.
[*My daughter says I say fuck too much, F her]