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Karzai, Afghan President, wants to open negotiations with the Taliban, even with Mullah Omar.

Until now, the administration has said that it has to stay in Afghanistan and beat up the Taliban before we (or Afghans) can talk. Yet, Obama insists he will start removing troops next year. Either we are fighting for the Afghans or we're fighting against them: a majority of Afghans want peace talks, according to the latest polls.

Karzai is visiting Washington this week. In fact, a good part of his cabinet has come with him.

Last I checked, a majority of Americans felt that Afghanistan was not a fight worth fighting (about 52%). Further, the latest attempted NY bombing came out of Pakistan, not Afghanistan. The precipitating factor in that attack probably was Obama's intensified drone war in Pakistan.

Obama has had trouble maintaining his popularity in the face of right-wing media attacks, and a signal to the elected government of Afghanistan to go ahead and negotiate, might drive the right wing crazy. However, despite Fox's attempt to spin it as "weakness," peace negotiations would be popular.

It wouldn't be popular with the generals. McChrystal might hate it, and Gates might have to hold his nose (or resign, not a bad thing). But Obama should consider: Democrats, in the run up to the Congressional elections could run on: a recovering economy and negotiations leading to withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Democrats could also push the Feingold-Kaufman amendment (again), to facilitate breaking up the big banks. Then they could run on: Peace, recovery and fixing Wall Street. Let the Republicans run against all that!

In any case, now is a golden opportunity to seize the populist initiative temporarily lost to the Tea Party crowd, by coming down on the side of peace in Afghanistan.

Why not? If the administration continues to lean on Karzai to forego top-level negotiations, then we should all know who is really in control here: it isn't Obama, and it isn't the Democratic majority in Congress, either. It's the Imperial caucus: the generals, the defense industry fattening on the wars, and the right wing media machine that hypes them.

Think about it, President Obama! You won election by being against the war in Iraq, and polls show a majority of Americans against the Afghan war. Your support has slipped with your base, partly because of that war. Your support among independents has slipped because of the emotional attacks on "government takeovers" by the right-wing media.

Yet, you can legitimately claim you saved the economy through your actions. What you and Democrats can't claim, yet, is that you have brought peace. Your base will be lukewarm until you can.

Tell Karzai, "Okay. Negotiate." Then hype it and see your poll numbers surge. And the chances for Democrats in the Fall would improve as well.

Originally posted to douglassmyth on Thu May 13, 2010 at 07:12 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    Will the US replay the fall of Rome?

    by douglassmyth on Thu May 13, 2010 at 07:12:42 AM PDT

  •  The debacle in the Middle East grows with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler

    every passing day.  The time line necessary to enable Obama's promised withdrawal of all troops from Iraq by August 2011 is being fudged daily.  And even Gates admits there will be a residual force of up to 50,000 troops there indefinitely.

    The current troop levels in Afghanistan are, according to the DoD, too small to accomplish whatever the misbegotten scheme in Afghanistan.  Menawhile, Sy Hersch reports US troops are summarily executing Afghan detainees:

    What they've done in the field now is, they tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the prisoners you have, the detainees, are Taliban. You must extract whatever tactical intelligence you can get, as opposed to strategic, long-range intelligence, immediately. And if you cannot conclude they're Taliban, you must turn them free.

    What it means is, and I've been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place . . . if they can't prove they're Taliban, bam [we kill them]. If we don't do it ourselves, we turn them over to the nearby Afghan troops and by the time we walk three feet the bullets are flying. And that's going on now.

    Can anyone in this administration spell W-A-R-C-R-I-M-E-S?

    And don't get me started on how use of predator drones is destabilizing Pakistan, a nuclear nation with a growing fundamentalist Islamic faction.

    "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

    by bobdevo on Thu May 13, 2010 at 07:20:27 AM PDT

  •  We've been there 8 years already (0+ / 0-)

    and since the latest escalation the situation has worsened. There will be no military victory in Afghanistan using the current tactics. The military has demonstrated, despite the hype, that they are not willing to seriously do COIN.

    We've worn out our welcome with drone attacks and night raids aimed at taking out suspected "bad guys". The Taliban now has shadow governments in 33 of 34 provinces in Afghanistan.

    Stop wasting money and lives. It's time to leave.

    We are on the cusp of losing our democracy for the sake of keeping our empire... Chalmers Johnson

    by truong son traveler on Thu May 13, 2010 at 08:33:33 AM PDT

  •  You Are Ignoring An Important Detail... (0+ / 0-)

    Obama is more concerned with the 2012 Presidential election than this Fall's congressional elections.

    You are correct that Obama

    won election by being against the war in Iraq

    But he also won election by saying that the War in Afghanistan was the "war we should be fighting".

    Anyone who becomes POTUS has a large ego that makes it difficult to admit he was wrong on an important issue.  On top of that, he has a lot of classified information that you and I do not have.  It is possible that his information tells him that negotiating with the Taliban would be a disaster during the run up to the 2012 Presidential election.

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