We’re not live-blogging it , but we followed President Barack Obama’s speech last night announcing that 30,000 more troops will be heading to Afghanistan with a withdrawal of those troops beginning in 2011:
In a speech meant to mark the beginning of the end of the eight-year conflict, Obama made the case that the future of Afghanistan is not only an American security concern at home, but an international threat – and that the added U.S. commitment will be joined by greater contributions from NATO and other allies.
“Now, we must come together to end this war successfully,” Obama said, according to prepared remarks released by the White House.
Obama’s decision escalates the United States’ commitment in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000 troops at a time when many Americans no longer believe the war is worth fighting. But by setting a date that marks the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement there, Obama hopes to ease concerns among the public about a protracted involvement in the conflict.
“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,” Obama said. “They will increase our ability to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.”
Obviously a protracted American presence isn’t an option in Iraq, based alone on the unpopularity of such a presence with just about everybody involved. However, the absence of the United States will lead to a power vaccuum, even if a supposedly stable parliamentary state with a professionally trained military is left behind. A post-American occupation Iraq will not be gumdrops and lollipops, since it wasn’t gumdrops and lollipops before the 2003 invasion either.
It’s not surprising that attacks are being increased as we lead up to American withdrawal from Iraq. Terrorists must see an opportunity here, with a major power leaving behind a strategically important Middle Eastern state, and it is most likely that they will take full advantage of it. The optimistic view would be that the military trained by US forces would be adept enough to put down an insurgency. The pessimistic view is that they’re not, and then we’ll see a Taliban situation in an oil-rich, strategically important Middle Eastern state that thousands of Americans and possibly millions of Iraqis have already died fighting for.
Though I don’t always agree with Andrew Sullivan, his letter to George W. Bush in the most recent issue of the Atlantic Monthly carries a moral force to be reckoned with. Andrew does not re-neg on his support for the war on terror or the Iraq war, yet he manages to convey the destructiveness of the Bush administration’s policies to the US Constitution and the American national honor. There. I said it— “national honor”. Because national honor is exactly what our country lacked when Bush and his cohorts left office.
Though “national honor” is the kind of term that raises red flags for me, reading Andrew’s letter left me famished with a hunger for national honor, for something like the moral integrity at the heart of the American struggle to be (and hopefully to remain) “the land of freedom and opportunity”.
Though I do not agree with Andrew’s arguments for the war in Iraq, I am moved by the intellectual integrity which led him to write this article cum letter. Since the letter is by no means a postcard, I’ve excerpted the sections which I found to be most compelling, but it deserves to be read in its entirety. Andrew begins by situating himself in a moral context— the context for which he believes war is just and necessary.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the situation in Honduras which evolved this week. If you have not heard, there is political unrest due to an alleged coup d’etat in the small nation in Central America. President Manuel Zelaya was captured by the military and exiled on June 28. The action has been nearly universally condemned. Here’s what’s gone down…
It’s apparently not as newsworthy as Carrie Prejean or her nude pictures or the dust-up between Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and David Letterman, but as you might have heard, no thanks to the old media, Iran is in rebellion after supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi have taken to the streets, indentifying themselves with color green, over irregularities in voting that eventually led to the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who insists the election was “real and free.”
I came across an article with a disturbing title, “Cheney: Execute Terrorists If Cuba Prison Must Close”, published by the conservative-leaning online publication Newsmax.
Texas Governor Rick Perry raised a few eyebrows recently when he used the “S” word in public. Secession, he said, was always an option on the political table as far as Texas was concerned.
Every year the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, AL hosts a conference for scholars of the Austrian tradition to come together and share essays and ideas. This year’s conference was loaded with big names and reputable authors among the Libertarian and generally liberty-minded.
I’d like to echo the comments of my fellow contributors here at United Liberty in a call for a non-interventionist foreign policy on the part of the United States when it comes to the situation in Gaza. This conflict is complicated and poses no real threat to our national security. The U.S. should discontinue its foreign aid to Israel as well as Egypt, Jordan and all other countries receiving the largesse of the American taxpayer.
Independent of any opinion regarding who is “right” and who is “wrong” in this conflict (I think there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides), I do have to stand up and give Israel a small moment of applause for standing up to the United Nations. Israel is a sovereign nation and has the right to make its own military decisions. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently reacted to the UN Security Council’s recent resolution on the situation in Gaza: