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An anonymous Pakistani "security official" was quoted by the New York Times today as saying that Obama's exit date from Afghanistan would "have consequences."  

When I read that quote, the question that immediately popped into my mind was, "well, yeah, isn't that the point of the exit date?"  The second question was, how is this prediction from and hold on! who exactly is this prediction from again?  It's from some anonymous someone which means it may well be from just about anybody, no?  So how exactly is the prediction from this anonymous "security official" who has a flair for stating the obvious relevant?  

The exit date will have consequences.  No kidding?  

The exit date is calculated to have consequences.  For over 8 years, America's commitment to Afghanistan was tepid, insufficient and, puzzlingly, completely open ended.  Meanwhile money flowed to Pakistan under the auspices that they were a vital ally in the War Against Terror.  The result is a corrupt and largely incompetent regime in Afghanistan.  And Islamabad has been complacent toward al Qaeda's and their operations presence in the tribal areas of Pakistan.  

Frankly, I've never understood the conservative movements' antogonism toward timetables and deadlines, given all the hay they make of accountability and responsibility.  The Republican's argument for the past 8 years has been that an exit date is tantamount to cutting and running and will only embolden our enemies, the only new angle is that the nameless, faceless "Democrats" who are weak and naive on terror and who have neither resolve nor spine have been replaced with Obama's name and face.  But what about expecting our allies to fulfill their obligations?  I just don't understand the mindset that it is preferable to cower in fear because someone thinks our actions might somehow embolden our enemies, than it is to raise the expectations we have for our allies.  

Back to the Times story linked to above.  

The story hangs on the premise that Afghan and Pakistani officials are "rattled" by Obama's having set an exit date for the troops.  It includes the thoughts of "many" Afghan or Pakistani "officials," who speak ominously about the implications of the exit date.  It also includes the skeptical thoughts and concerns of American "politicians, analysts and media commentators," regarding Obama's exit date.  It's an awful piece of journalism.  It's mostly rumor and insinuation dressed up as news, and it's prominence conveys the impression that Afghan and Pakistani concerns are similar to the attacks of Obama's domestic opposition.

Now to be clear, I'm not positing a bias of whatever kind from the Times.  I suspect the culprit is lousy reporting, that focuses on the spectacle and strategy of politics rather than the hard realities facing the modern world.   That's too bad.  

There's not much surprising that the corrupt Karzai government is "rattled" at the prospect of  having to take responsibility for the country.  I'm sure it's far less disconcerting to simply outsource those concerns to America.  Ditto, for Pakistan.  I'm sure they'd rather not have to spend the billions of dollars given to them the past eight years on actually fighting al Qaeda and other extremists.  Far from being newsworthy, I I think getting "rattled" is a rather predictable consequence of being told they had to accomplish something.  

And what more proof do we need that Obama's Republican critics simply do not understand foreign affairs than we have by simply looking back at the past 9 years?  Under Republican leadership and strategies, Osama bin Laden escaped into Pakistan, the US paid Pakistan billions in aid while Pakistan did nothing significant to hinder bin Laden's network.  They prematurely pulled far too many of the troops out of Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq on bad intelligence at best and a criminal lark at worst.  Their invasion created a new safe haven for terrorists.  We've known for years that al Qaeda did not operate in Iraq until after the war.  They've got nothing but egg on their face.  They've been nothing but wrong.  And it isn't news when they trot out the same tired old canard they've stubbornly relied and insisted on to such devastating consequences.  

The reality is, the exit date is about accountability and responsibility.

The exit date says to me that Obama is serious and expects the same from seriousness from our "allies."  

Originally posted to Prismatique on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 12:06 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (6+ / 0-)

    Every generation thinks it's the end of the world. Wilco, Wilco (The Album)

    by Prismatique on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 12:06:39 AM PST

  •  the exit date (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, JesseCW

    is for the beginning of withdrawal. no hint as to when it's supposed to end.

    •  As Far as I Can Tell (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The withdrawl refers only to the volunteer troops. Common sense tells us that the goal of training a vast Afghan army (and other more complex co-opting with tribal elders and warlords) and watching over Pakistan is the work of a decade at least.

      In the end, replacing volunteers with contractors would make the war more or less invisible and put the people back to sleep again.

  •  Nice catch - I hate it when the NYT goes neocon (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prismatique, ETF, NCrissieB

    slipshod journalism. Tipped and rec'd. Cheers.

    I ♥ President Barack Obama

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 12:22:15 AM PST

  •  Granted . . . (5+ / 0-)

    But you need to realize the strategy shift that an exit date entails.  

    Demanding an exit strategy - we were a ways away from an actual date! was what we won the 2006 elections on.  How is it we have such short memories? Now the President has given us one for Afghanistan and we're somehow disappointed?  

    Were our calls for an exit strategy and date the vehicle of our own obstructionism from yesteryear, similar to Republicans' today?  No.  In 2006 we understood that an exit date conveyed to our allies that they had to step up.  We knew that was the problem.  

    What gives?  This is a good sign!  Take heart!  

    Every generation thinks it's the end of the world. Wilco, Wilco (The Album)

    by Prismatique on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 12:24:05 AM PST

  •  There is no exit date (0+ / 0-)

    There is a date for begining a draw-down.

    The two are not the same.

    The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. After they become harmful the reactionary defends them.

    by JesseCW on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 12:42:15 AM PST

    •  Well then the Republican attacks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      against Obama for setting an exit date will surely not influence the the publics' perception.  

      Memes that may well define Obama's Presidency are being established and reinforced by the media.  I suspect I share many of your concerns regarding Obama's plans.  But I'm not going to sit here second guessing rather than pointing out how shoddy journalism reinforces those memes.  

      I voted for the President because I trusted him.  I know I don't have the answer to Afghanistan.  And I really don't think that abandoning Afghanistan to a resurgent Taliban and a corrupt Karzai government would have been the right thing to do.  As I understand it, the President's plan does two main things:  it puts Afghanistan and Pakistan on notice in the long-term and it provides immediate and near-term support to help them prepare.  

      That's as good a plan as I could have come up with and it's the best one I've heard yet.  

      Every generation thinks it's the end of the world. Wilco, Wilco (The Album)

      by Prismatique on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 01:12:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My job didn't end when I voted (0+ / 0-)

        and I voted for the President because I thought he might be only as bad as Clinton.

        I don't trust Politicians, even those I'm really fond of like Senator Boxer of Senator Sanders or even (may his memory be cherished) Senator Kennedy.

        Trusting them isn't my job as a citizen.

        The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out the conservative adopts them. After they become harmful the reactionary defends them.

        by JesseCW on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 07:35:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fair enough (0+ / 0-)

          As I said, I'm trusting Obama on this because I know I don't have the answer.  (I also happen to think he's as good and smart a person as we've had as President in ages.  But by no means does that mean I trust him on every issue.  

          If you're that certain that leaving Afghanistan is the answer, than you shouldn't trust the President.  

          All the same, we should keep our perspective and vigilantly defend the President against BS attacks from the right.  And we have to call foul on the media when they facilitate those attacks with bad journalism.  

          Every generation thinks it's the end of the world. Wilco, Wilco (The Album)

          by Prismatique on Thu Dec 03, 2009 at 01:07:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pres Deserves Benefit of the Doubt, Here's Why (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prismatique, ETF

    Let us give our President the Benefit of the Doubt and here is why....

    After great Deliberation and Agony, Pres. Obama called for an Escalation of the "struggle" but he also Coupled it with an End date of this Struggle by military might and because of that (end date), I have Hope that soon the Long Nightmare of the twin wars, ignited by the twin towers will be over.

    I saw in Pres. Obama a heart that bleeds for this decision for anyone whose heart center is open and active feels the pain of this task, yet, speaking with a Heavy Heart, I also heard in that speech the unspoken wish or Intent that he was going to also bring Bin Laden to justice ( the great Prize and Symbol)!  I also heard the great Urgency he feels to bind up all loose nuclear threats and to prevent them from getting into those hands within Afghanistan and Pakistan which might annihilate the world as we know it.  He has not made this this "call to arms" for Oil or for profit based upon a lie but a heartfelt desire to keep safe the people in the world, in the binding up of these nuclear threats to the world by this faction which he knows is still out there plotting to do harm!    That in this way we are Standing up for Peace and that somehow we must go into Hell for a Heavenly cause.

    I heard him also say to the Military Industrial Complex Machine that there will be an end date, and that it will not be open-ended, but that the battle for peace might call for other strategic ways to get to this goal -- that giving the benefit of the doubt to his generals -- he will try their way (since they are so much more knowledgeable about military than him).  
    As, he spoke about true security from a world without nuclear weapons (his real true goal), he also spoke about the need to unite with the world to accomplish this task because in truth, terror and nuclear weapons is a world problem!  And finally, he called us to the time after 9/11, when we were all united but got deviated from the course, but to return to that Unity of purpose, one more time.... and that if he is lucky, he will bring home the Prize, Bin Ladin, break the back of this threat, and then for the weary and battle scarred-soldiers they can look onward and say, well done -- yet, there's no place like home, there's no place like home!

    Let us trust " that there is a goodness in all of life that cannot even be eliminated by thoughts that temporarily cause you to believe that negativity is the underlying reality of human life on earth... " (1)   Let us call on that goodness to illuminate our way forward towards that peace and goodwill and seal the door where evil dwells.

    1. Ron Scolastico. Doorway to the Soul

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