Before moving past President Obama’s underwhelming speech explaining his misguided decision to send 30,000 more kids with guns to kill and die in Afghanistan, it’s worth pointing out one more big omission: The War of Necessity was nowhere to be found.
The president said:
I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan…To abandon this area now – and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance – would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.
But, take note of this:
The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest pace possible – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers.
This is as close as the president gets to admitting the stark reality that there are virtually no more troops to send, and that’s one reason the U.S. cannot even begin to deploy new forces until the first half of 2010. This force brings us nowhere near the number posited by the counterinsurgency fantasy doctrine much beloved by Petraeus, McChrystal and arm-chair generals. And, the Pentagon says they are running out of money and that Democrats will have to break their promises to fund the Afghan misadventure through the regular budget process. Given that reality, everyone should take note that the only group asked explicitly for patriotic sacrifice on Tuesday night were members of the U.S. military and their families.
At this point, no one should take any policymaker or armchair general seriously when they argue that the U.S. is fighting a war of necessity to defeat an existential threat unless they propose:
- a draft; and
- steep war taxes.
Of course, that little duo is a non-starter after 8 years of inconclusive killing and dying during which Americans outside the military were only asked to go shopping [although, to his credit, Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.) has proposed a war surtax]. American politicians’ unwillingness to do so, however, shows that the war in Afghanistan is not, in fact, a war of survival.
But if the war in Afghanistan is not a war of survival, then American political leadership also lacks justification to squander $100,000,000,000 to send 100,000 troops to chase 100 al-Qaida thugs around someone else’s homeland.
Note: Derrick Crowe is the Afghanistan blog fellow for Brave New Foundation / The Seminal. Say no to escalation in Afghanistan by signing our CREDO petition at http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/saynotoescalation/. For each signature, CREDO will donate a dollar to support Crowe’s work. You can also join Brave New Foundation’s #NoWar candlelight vigil on Facebook and Twitter to show your opposition to the war. But make these your first steps as an activist to end this war, not your last.