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09 March, 2009

Missing From the Afghan "Surge": A Congressional Debate

. . . or any "Debate" at all . . . as Obama continues to ignore the "mandate" given him by the people.

No War = No "Surge"!

With 17,000 more troops headed for Afghanistan, this mini-documentary by Robert Greenwald's Brave New Foundation calls the Afghanistan "surge" into question.

So, if you want to "replicate the success of the surge in Iraq" in Afghanistan, it seems pretty clear that you are going to have to come to some arrangements with some armed groups that are currently considered "Taliban." If you're not talking to Taliban, you're not replicating the Iraq surge.

But another key element is missing with regard to Afghanistan that was present in 2006 to 2007 with regard to Iraq: public and Congressional debate. An escalating sequence of political events, including the Lamont Senate campaign, the recapture of the Congress by a Democratic majority, the Congressional fight in the spring of 2007 over a timetable for withdrawal - all sent a clear message to the Bush administration, the US military, the Iraqi government, Parliament and Iraqi society generally that time was running out for the US occupation, and that was a key cause of the change in policies. Even Defense Secretary Gates, while opposing a timetable for withdrawal, acknowledged that Congressional pressure was helpful in bringing about change in Iraq.

This public and Congressional pressure is missing today. President Obama has ordered more troops to Afghanistan. But while Obama administration officials have made suggestions in the direction of other elements - working to get the assistance of Iran and other neighbors, working with elements of the Taliban - the actual change we've seen so far in Afghanistan is: more troops.

If there were more pressure, the Obama administration would be moving more quickly to put these other elements in place. If there were a public and Congressional debate about an exit strategy, about a timetable for withdrawal, about blocking the Pentagon from building permanent military bases in Afghanistan, real change in US policy towards Afghanistan would be happening faster.

Robert Greenwald's Brave New Foundation is working to spark that debate. They've produced a ten-minute "mini-documentary" questioning the wisdom of sending more troops in support of the same failed policy.

Read more at:


  1. Right on, Joan. Yes, in the new Orwellian lingo of the day, a blatant escalation of combat and warfare is not really a "war," but something called a "surge," like an annoyance involving a power strip, controllable with an off-switch. Those who buy this verbal farce have had their thinking controlled with an off-switch.

    Meanwhile, as we escalate a war in another country (and kill civilians, as in kids, already a "yes we can" accomplishment under Obama), Iraq is getting a "pullout," now defined as "leaving 50,000 troops." I'm confident that if China had 50,000 troops in our country, we would register that situation as a "non-presence," wouldn't we? Some "pullout," indeed.

    This "peace president" has only brought us the "change" of troop deployment in the service of yet more war. It's a fine Masonic jest on the tearful zombies who thought they were exorcising the Crypto-spirit behind Bush, only to find the Dark Ghost controlling the new, smoother, more articulate puppet du jour. To those of us who sounded the warning, however, none of it, tragically, is a surprise.

  2. "Yeah, we're withdrawing the troops, we're just withdrawing them to Afghanistan, that's all. See, we kept our promise to the "american people". They won't protest because Obama is doing it. That's how easy it is to program the masses through our democrat/republican 'good cop/bad cop scam."