Thursday, October 1, 2009

John McCain: Right about Afghanistan

America’s full of negative people willing to sacrifice almost anything of value for the sake of undermining the efforts of the president to bring about positive change. Health reform, improved international relations, economic recovery, environmental responsibility—nothing‘s so important to the nation that it can’t be blockaded for the sake of financial or political gain. That’s why John McCain’s support of the administration in terms of Afghanistan is so important—and so refreshing.

America is weary of war, they say. Well—yeah. After seven years in Iraq—where we had no real enemies or legitimate purpose—of course we are. But now, at last, we have a strategic purpose that couldn’t be more important—dismantling and dis-empowering Al Qaida. Now we’re focusing the might of America where our enemies reside—where Osama bin Laden is in hiding and where Najibullah Zazi and countless other would-be terrorists are trained to attack the United States and its citizens.

The differences between the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan cannot be overstated. In Iraq, we were engaged in a vague, ill-conceived “mission” of nation-building—purportedly trying to bring American-style “democracy” to a country steeped in its own political problems and ancient traditions. In Afghanistan, we’re going after real enemies who have brought great harm to our country and aim to destroy more American lives. In Iraq, decisions were politically motivated. In Afghanistan, military strategists and experts on the ground are helping to build a plan for success.

John McCain is a Quixotic, impulsive man who tends to be easily swayed by the slightest breeze wafting from the right. Nonetheless he’s capable, at times, of exhibiting both clarity and integrity. For the sake of a future free of the fear of another 9/11, let’s hope that his support of the right war in the right place is steady and persuasive to others who are uninformed and “think” with their emotions.

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Sue said...

I'm having a hard time understanding why Afghanistan is a "good" war while Iraq is a "bad" war. Seems to me there's not much to choose between them. In both cases we are trying to impose western values and systems on cultures that are totally different from ours.

And lest you forget, we did have real enemies in Iraq -- Saddam Hussein, for example, and a well-founded belief that there were direct ties between Iraqis and Al-Qaida.

But one of the lessons we should have learned from Vietnam is that if you are going to fight you have to do it all out. Another is that citizens of any invaded country are not going to take kindly to those who overrun their country and attempt to mold it into a different kind of society. Sure, in Vietnam that was the French, not the Americans, but the lesson is there.

The people who are going to either Afghanistan or Iraq to attempt to help the people build better lives on their terms will go a lot farther to promote positive feelings towards the West and America in particular than those who are trying to impose military "solutions" on the people. Those who advocate that -- no matter where they live on the political spectrum -- are, to use the old Vietnam-era phrase, "Warmongers." We don't need to encourage war; we need to work for peace.

Six said...

What exactly is 'success' in Afg?

Are you suggesting we stay in Afg until it eventually turns in to a stable democracy... are you prepared to have a major military force there for the next 1500 years? I'm not.

And you know where Bin Laden is hiding how? Please pass on that information - I hear it's worth big bucks!

And you say 'we WERE engaged...' - what are we engaged in there (Iraq) NOW? How is what Obama doing different from Bush - Obama has essentially adopted in whole Bush's plan that was in place before he left - including the so-called exit plan Bush laid out. I fail to see how there is a past-tense in our 'mission'. Bush's third term.

And why are we only doing this in Afg? Why not Somolia, Yemen, E. Algeria, etc? Remind me where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was captured? What about al-Baluchi... and on and on...

BUT our presence in Afg prevented Bali, right? And London? How about Madrid? Oh wait... those had nothing to do with Afg - rats, I thought we were safer!

The fact is there will always be a risk of a small cell or even a collection of small cells of fanatics attacking us in a way we cannot stop - and killing lots of people in the process. No amount of military in Afg (an unwinnable, endless war) or anywhere else will ever be able to prevent that (in fact, I think it increases our risk)... unless we want to lock our own society down to the extent of complete international isolation and submission of all liberties.

I have a plan - GTFO.

Idna said...

I love the revisionist history ... John McCain "easily swayed ... let’s hope that his support of the right war in the right place is steady and persuasive". When was McCain NOT for fighting Al Quida?

And you say "Iraq—where we had no real enemies or legitimate purpose" somehow suggesting that Bush just got a wild hair and went into Iraq for fun. Well I'd like to do a little REMINDING of what the thinking was pre Iraq war:

"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton in 1998

"Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq's search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power." -- Al Gore, 2002

"(W)e need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime ... That is why the world, through the United Nations Security Council, has spoken with one voice, demanding that Iraq disclose its weapons programs and disarm." -- John Kerry, Jan 23, 2003

"I will be voting to give the president of the United States the authority to use force - if necessary - to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." -- John F. Kerry, Oct 2002

"The debate over Iraq is not about politics. It is about national security. It should be clear that our national security requires Congress to send a clear message to Iraq and the world: America is united in its determination to eliminate forever the threat of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction." -- John Edwards, Oct 10, 2002

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members ... It is clear that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security." -- Hillary Clinton, October 10, 2002

"There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed." -- Ted Kennedy, Sept 27, 2002

"As a member of the House Intelligence Committee, I am keenly aware that the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons is an issue of grave importance to all nations. Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process." -- Nancy Pelosi, December 16, 1998

"Saddam's goal ... is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. We cannot, we must not and we will not let him succeed." -- Clinton's Secretary of State Madeline Albright, 1998

I could go on with quotes from many others who have been "swayed" by the left recently, but am limited to 4,096 characters.... the point is we must not rewrite history. So when you say, Jane, "Iraq—where we had no real enemies or legitimate purpose", I think it's a good idea to re-read history and remember how it really was.

Citizen Jane said...

Idna, I notice all your quotes are from 1998 to 2002. Saddam did have WMD during the first Gulf War and probably into the current century. We know that. But they weren't there when we entered Iraq the second time--but by then, the Administration (especially Dick Cheney) had reasons to keep that information from the American people and to keep the war going. Those reasons had nothing to do with our national security.

Meanwhile, Al Qaida training camps were flourishing--and still are--in Afghanistan.

Idna said...

Do you have proof of these accusations you put forth of the Bush Administration? Please enlighten us. Or is your source Michael Moore?

Anonymous said...

The Iraq war began in March 2003, so Idna's citation of Gore (2002), Kerry (Jan. 2003), Edwards and Clinton (Oct. 2002), and Ted Kennedy (2002) is appropriate. Within two months of the war, while a buildup was in progress, leading Dems. believed Saddam was a threat.

In Aug. 2003 (after the war had begun), Bill Clinton, appearing on Larry King, was not ready to condemn to war effort. He said "When I left office, there was a substantial amount of biological and chemical material unaccounted for . . . it is incontestable that on the day I left office, there were unaccounted for stocks . . . " Clinton said he never found out whether a U.S.-British bombing campaign he ordered in 1998 ended Saddam's stockpiles of or his capability of producing chemical and biological weapons. "We might have gotten it all, we might have gotten half of it, we might have gotten none of it. But we didn't know," said Clinton.

Six said...

"I rise to urge the Congress to think twice before thrusting this nation into a war without merit- one fraught with the danger of escalating into something no American will be pleased with...

...We do not enhance our national defense by initiating this war. Besides, it is impractical because of unintended consequences which none of us know about. We do not know exactly how long this will last. It could be a six-day war, a six-month war, or six years or even longer...

...I fear we will once again go to war in a haphazard way...

...There are even good political reasons for not initiating this conflict. War is not popular. It may seem popular in the short run, when there appears to be an immediate victory and everyone is gloating, but war is not popular. People get killed, and body bags end up coming back....

...Military force is justified only in self-defense; naked aggression is the province of dictators and rogue states. This is the danger of a new “preemptive first strike” doctrine. America is the most moral nation on earth, founded on moral principles, and we must apply moral principles when deciding to use military force."

-Ron Paul Sept 4th, 2002 (excerpts from speaking before the House)

Just sayin...

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