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What Makes America Safer: Fiscal Stability, Or Chasing 100 Terrorists Around Afghanistan?

by on Friday, December 4, 2009 at 4:53 pm EDT in Afghanistan, Politics, World

In Obama’s Afghanistan speech at West Point, he announced he would be escalating our troop levels in Afghanistan by 30,000-35,000 to ensure those who attacked us on 9-11 are resoundingly defeated.  ABC News notes that Obama conveniently left out a very significant fact, when making his case:

A senior U.S. intelligence official told the approximate estimate of 100 al Qaeda members left in Afghanistan reflects the conclusion of American intelligence agencies and the Defense Department. The relatively small number was part of the intelligence passed on to the White House as President Obama conducted his deliberations.

So, Obama is committing 30,000-35,000 new U.S. troops — at $1 million per soldier per year, which comes to $30-35 billion dollars in more U.S. national debt — to defeat 100 Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan?  That works out to $300-350 million per Al Qaeda operative! Has he lost his marbles?!

Al Qaeda is a loosely affiliated network with operatives all over the world: Somalia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany, Britain, Spain, United States, etc. and we’re to dig ourselves into an even greater financial ditch chasing after just 100 of these operatives who may very well be somewhere beyond the Pakistani border, or possibly now in Somalia, or Saudi Arabia?

Al Qaeda can nearly claim themselves ‘victors’ in their war against the world’s last superpower.  Not because of anything they did — 9-11 was mostly about inadequate airport security and a Bush Administration unwilling to read their national security memos, like the one entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.” — a memo which sat on Condi Rice’s desk for one month and a week before the planes hit the twin towers.

Rather Al Qaeda is winning, because of our ineffective, money-bleeding, military occupations.  We have effectively self-destructed as the world’s largest financial power.  Essentially, we became so shortsighted — so determined to fix a menacing fly buzzing around our face, we reached for a twelve gauge shotgun, targeted the fly resting upon our forehead — and pulled the trigger.

American al Qaeda figure Adam Gadahn — no, I didn’t say Afghan, I said American — gloated in a recent video about how they were defeating the West:

Gadahn called on Muslims to support jihad with “men and money,” while claiming that the West was now on the verge of collapse under the strikes of the militants.

“The enemy under the leadership of the unbelieving West has began to stagger and falter, and the results of its unabated bleeding has began to show on its economy, which is on the brink of failure,” said Gadahn.

All they have to do is keep some operative alive, in some Muslim country, and America will fiscally come apart looking under every single rock until he’s found.

Is it any wonder that Americans have had enough of this lunacy?  New polls show Americans are turning sharply towards isolationism:

At the very moment when President Barack Obama is looking to thrust the U.S. ever more into global affairs, from Afghanistan to climate change, the American public is turning more isolationist and unilateralist than it has at any time in decades, according to a new poll released Thursday.

The survey by the Pew Research Center found a plurality of Americans — 49 percent — think that the U.S. should “mind its own business internationally” and leave it to other countries to fend for themselves.

It was the first time in more than 40 years of polling that the ranks of Americans with isolationist sentiment outnumbered those with a more international outlook, Pew said. […]

The shift in sentiment comes after more than eight years of war in Afghanistan and almost seven in Iraq, as well as the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Just 32 percent of the public favors increasing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and only 46 percent say it’s likely that Afghanistan will be able to withstand the threat posed by the Taliban.

The Hill reports that a significant majority of Americans now view overseas war expenditures as a direct threat to fixing a collapsing economic system here at home:

Seventy-three percent told Gallup in its latest measure, released Friday, that they were “very” or “somewhat” fearful the White House’s newly announced troop surge would make it difficult for Congress and the president to tackle such issues as healthcare and the economy in the coming months.

By contrast, only 26 percent signaled they were not concerned the new strategy’s cost — estimated to be about $30 billion — would in any way complicate domestic policymaking.

It would be wise to remember the former U.S.S.R.’s experience in trying to militarily tame Afghanistan:

It was Moscow’s Vietnam, we have come to accept. A bloody quagmire with disastrous consequences that left a million Afghans dead and a generation of Soviet men pulverised by trauma, as had happened to their American counterparts in southeast Asia in the 1960s and 1970s.  The conflict lasted 10 years and the Soviet army retreated only to see its very existence crumble a few years later with the collapse of Communism.

Mr. President, it’s time to bring our troops home, rebuild our economy and our health care system, and get our financial house in order.  I’ve never felt so insecure as an American in my life, and it has absolutely nothing to do with those 100 Al Qaeda cave-dwellers in Afghanistan.  Claim victory, and withdraw already.

UPDATE (Dec. 6, 2009):

Here’s a good read by Sam Stein / Huffington Post on Senator Russ Feingold’s appearance on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos this morning.  Feingold makes a similar point:

Pakistan, in the border region near Afghanistan, is perhaps the epicenter [of global terrorism], although al Qaida is operating all over the world, in Yemen, in Somalia, in northern Africa, affiliates in Southeast Asia. Why would we build up 100,000 or more troops in parts of Afghanistan included that are not even near the border? You know, this buildup is in Helmand Province. That’s not next door to Waziristan. So I’m wondering, what exactly is this strategy, given the fact that we have seen that there is a minimal presence of Al Qaida in Afghanistan, but a significant presence in Pakistan? It just defies common sense that a huge boots on the ground presence in a place where these people are not is the right strategy. It doesn’t make any sense to me.