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Even though I’ve been following the business pages and economic blogs pretty closely, transfixed by the kind of horror one gets watching a 47 car pileup in real time, no headlines since election night have depressed me more than those about plans to send 20,000 more troops to Afghanistan. It turns out the four combat brigades mentioned during the campaign—7000 troops—require support troops. Oh, and more air surveillance and support capacity. Who knew?

I just went back and reread Thomas Powers’ grim prediction, written during the last Democratic primaries in the Spring. I strongly encourage you to check it out, but here’s the money quote:

At an unmarked moment somewhere between the third and the sixth month a sea change occurs: Bush's war becomes the new president's war, and getting out means failure, means defeat, means rising opposition at home, means no second term. It's not hard to see where this is going.

Okay, Obama doesn’t take office for 8 more weeks. Sure, he deserves a honeymoon. Lorry nose, he has the Biggest Economic Crisis Since The Great Depression ™ to deal with.

But what about us? We don’t have to wait 8 weeks to act.

Honeymoon? On this blog, chances are as good that Prop 8 made you involuntarily single than that you got married this month.

And what reason do we have to keep our mouths shut about how an out-of-control military budget and those annual "supplemental appropriations" for Iraq and Afghanistan left the budget deep in the red as the government starts trying to contain the meltdown?

Back to Thomas Powers. In the quote above, he says getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan "means rising opposition at home." That’s our cue. We have to show, to demonstrate if you will, that not getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan will mean "rising opposition at home." Big time.

I’m not here to debate tactics. If you feel comfortable calling your Congresscritter, do it. If you can give money to the splendid young men and women of Iraq Veterans Against the War, do it. If are moved to write a letter to the editor, do it. If there’s a protest coming up that you can take part in, do it. Personally, I recommend the Iraq Moratorium, a nation-wide, locally-based, bottom-up initiative on the Third Friday of every month.

[Crossposted at Docudharma]

Originally posted to lao hong han on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 03:56 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Iraq Moratorium pledge is a simple one: (5+ / 0-)

    I hereby make a commitment that, on the Third Friday of every month, I will break my daily routine and take some action, by myself or with others, to end the War in Iraq.

  •  I'm a little confused (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, Freelance Escapologist

    by your diary.  Are you saying that Obama's promise to send more troops to Afghanistan (something he has been consistent about) means that he won't withdraw combat troops from Iraq?  I am not sure how one follows the other.  

    Obama said in 2002 that he wasn't opposed to all wars, just dumb ones.  The US attack on the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan is clearly a different war (the Taliban gave comfort, aid, support, and refuge to Al Qaeda who attacked the US) a retaliatory war versus the unprovoked, opportunistic act of bald aggression launched upon Iraq.

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.

    by Uncle Moji on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 04:28:01 AM PST

    •  I am saying that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the promise to send 7000 troops seems to be ballooning. The fact that Obama made a promise doesn't oblige us to support it or for that matter him to follow through under changing conditions. Do you think it's a good idea for the country to start the enormously expensive process of adding 90,000 new troops to the Armed Forces in this period? I don't.

      And as for "dumb"? Well, they don't call Afghanistan the Graveyard of Empires for nothing. Alexander the Great, the Persians, the Kushans, the freaking Mongol Horde, the British, and most recently the Russians have all come to grief there.

      •  You conflate Iraq and Afghanistan (3+ / 0-)

        and that is a disingenuous.  Obama has made it clear that to increase troops in Afghanistan, the US must decrease troop strength in Iraq.  

        Oppose the war in Afghanistan as you like, argue against the wisdom of sending in more troops, but you suggest that by doing so, he is reneging on his promise to withdraw from Iraq, a statement which is not grounded in fact.  

        I would suggest you rewrite your diary to be more truthful and more factual.  As it stands, and as your response illustrates, you're opposition to Obama isn't even so much the 7,000 troops but any troops to Afghanistan, regardless of the reason.

        Again, if you wrote that diary, I would not have had the questions about your diary that I do.  I am actually ambivalent about the war in Afghanistan, but I do object to your attempt to twist what Obama has consistently said about Afghanistan with his strong opposition to the war in Iraq.  

        Argue on the facts, don't make straw men.

        "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.

        by Uncle Moji on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 05:13:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Esteemed Uncle Moji, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I don't think that my post is disingenuous. We simply start from different places, or so it seems.

          I don't want to "decrease troop strength" in Iraq. I want all the troops home now.

          I don't want to "decrease troop strength in Iraq" in order to "increase troops in Afghanistan." I want them out because the unjust and unjustifiable occupation of Iraq has already left over 4200 US troops dead, a figure that pales before the million or so Iraqi men, women and children. Their country has been laid waste and ours deeply damaged by the whole fiasco.

          Oughtn't we learn from this? The trajectory in Afghanistan is the same. More troops. More dead. More misery. More refugees. More social collapse. One of the biggest differences is that while Iraqi oil production is still below pre-invasion levels, Afghan poppy production for heroin has never been higher.

          •  If you delete your first paragraph (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I would agree that your diary is consistent and does not attempt to mislead.  But your first paragraph suggests that the proposed 7,000 troop increase to Afghanistan is somehow a lie on the part of Obama.  "Who knew?"

            As my second response to you indicates, I don't have a firm position on the war in Afghanistan.  But I recognize that it is a different war than the war in Iraq which I opposed from the start.  

            I say again, I think you should write a clear diary in opposition to US involvement in both wars, and your strong disagreement with Obama on his position vis a vis widening the war in Afghanistan, for the sake of clarity of discussion.  The discussion is clearer because your argument is clearer.  

            My point is not to argue the merits of increasing troop strength in Afghanistan but to ask you state your personal position clearly and state your basic and continuing position that Obama is wrong about Afghanistan.  But it is unfair and factually in error to tie Obama's support of increased troops in Afghanistan with a guess on your part that there will be no troop withdrawal per his campaign promise, from Iraq.  Argue the merits of your position based on the facts.  I may be persuaded to agree with you on Afghanistan (because I was never a strong supporter of our retaliatory strike on the Taliban) but not if you continue to mix Afghanistan with Iraq.  If, however, you simply believe all military actions are wrong, I won't agree with you.  I supported US action in Kosovo, I would support action in Darfur, and I believed that the US should have used military force in Rwanda and Cambodia.  


            "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.

            by Uncle Moji on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 05:50:10 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My "Who knew?" in the first para, (0+ / 0-)

              had nothing to do with Iraq, which is not mentioned. It was a response to the sudden post-election tripling of the 7000 number for the combat brigades Obama has called for deploying in Afghanistan, a number bandied about by reporters, pundits, bloggers on this very site and the Obama campaign.

              Nowhere do I say or imply or "guess"that Obama will not follow through on his promise to reduce the number of troops in Iraq. With Iraq Veterans Against the War and them majority of the anti-war movement, I favor a complete and immediate withdrawal. Will Obama meet the deadlines he set? One can only hope...

              •  Listen, lao, I don't mean to get into a (0+ / 0-)

                fight with you.  I respect your dedication and your commitment to getting our troops our of Iraq.  I have opposed and actively opposed the war in Iraq since its concept.  

                My comment relates (and I see I am not the only person who appears to take this same position on your diary) to the way you have structured your diary.  It is confusing.  

                Yes, it is true that you do not mention Iraq in your first paragraph, you talk about Afghanistan.  But your succeeding paragraphs then combine the two, and your final paragraph asks folks to go the Iraq Moratorium website to find ways to continue to oppose the Iraq War.  

                As a structural writing issue, your opening paragraph signals the topic of the rest of the diary; the rest of the diary proves or supports your opening thesis (about Afghanistan); your final paragraph returns to the opening paragraph and draws a conclusion based on the body of the diary that supports your thesis.  You haven't done that in this diary, and it is structurally confusing to me, and apparently to others.  When I said I was confused by your diary, I mean I was confused by it.  The conflation of Iraq and Afghanistan happens as a direct result of the way that you structured your diary.  

                Again, I have great respect for what you do in your life and for the diaries you have written in the past.  I have no argument with continuing to pressure the Obama administration to withdraw from Iraq.  I will continue to put pressure on them to resolve Darfur and end genocide.  And put pressure on them to guarantee health care as a right, through single payer.  I would like Obama to personally weigh in on behalf of equal protection and marriage equity, but that seems like a long shot at this point.  I don't have any problem with holding our political leaders accountable.  My problem with your diary is how it is written suggests an unfair conflation that I take issue with (as it appears a few other have and those who have rec'd my comments).  

                Again, I would ask that you write a diary about Afghanistan and why you oppose continued US presence.  Since I am soft on Afghanistan (never being gung ho for the original retaliatory attack), I would look forward to your insight on this, and the chance to read others' views on the potential outcome of such a decision.  I'd like to learn something from this, and I ask that you consider writing that diary.  


                "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation.

                by Uncle Moji on Mon Nov 24, 2008 at 12:51:45 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  Let me also add that you are defending (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Obama passionately against criticism that I didn't make or only implied. Hope is a wonderful thing and I am no different from the great majority of Kossacks in hoping that our new president does indeed move to pull the troops out of Iraq and that the deployment of any new troops to Afghanistan will be a limited one.

          But I have never believed that hoping for something is a substitute for working for it, fighting for it, organizing for it.

  •  You fail to differentiate (0+ / 0-)

    between the two conflicts, unlike your top source has done. From your linked article, Iraq: Will We Ever Get Out?

    Our means are now military: the United States has sent its army to remake the social and political landscape of Iraq and Afghanistan, and perhaps of their neighbors as well. A long-simmering political struggle for hegemony in the Middle East has been abruptly transformed into a military conflict. The invasion of Afghanistan is easily justified by the Taliban's complicity in the terrorist attacks of September 11, but we must look for different explanations for the invasion of Iraq.

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