Mailvox: Fear-based strategy

DS disagrees with today’s column:

Afghanistan is important, although it is being mishandled to the “nth” degree by people who know nothing about combat. Afghanistan was/is the base for the Taliban and they were using it as such for their incursion into Pakistan. The government of Pakistan is at best, wobbly. Pakistan has nukes and the wherewithal to deliver them into the hands of the likes of Al Qaeda or simply launch them against either us or Israel.

By keeping the Taliban fragmented and on the run were have been preventing that from happening. Now maybe you want to wake up to an air burst over the Midwest (or 2, or 3) taking down our grid, our nation and our way of life, followed by mass starvation in our cities, or to read the morning paper and see that Israel no longer exists, but I don’t.

First, it is ludicrous to think that occupying Afghanistan is somehow tantamount to defending American territory against nuclear attack. The invasion of Afghanistan not only destabilized Pakistan, but renders a terrorist nuke more likely since terrorism is a fundamentally non-military option. Keeping the Taliban “fragmented and on the run” in no way inhibits their ability to acquire nuclear technology from North Korea or Iran.

Second, it is remarkable to see DS attempt to argue that we should occupy Afghanistan in defense of Israel. I don’t think even Justin Raimondo at his most peacenik paranoid would draw a connection between the one and the other. This attempted defense isn’t so much hapless as complete gibberish. Anyhow, if Israel’s survival truly depends on occupying Afghanistan then let the IDF do it. As they have demonstrated for 30 years, they are more than capable of occupying territory populated by a hostile people.

Fear seldom leads to clear thinking, least of all when the thinking required is strategic.

True, but he’s still weird

Steyn on Obama:

In recent months, a lot of Americans have said to me that they had no idea the new president would feel so “weird.” But, in fact, he’s not weird. True, he’s not, even in Democratic terms, a political figure — as, say, Clinton or Biden are. Instead, he’s the product of the broader culture: There are millions of people like Barack Obama, the eternal students of a vast lethargic transnational campus for whom global compassion and the multicultural pose are merely the modish gloss on a cult of radical grandiose narcissism. As someone once said, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When you’ve spent that long waiting in line for yourself, it’s bound to be a disappointment.

Obama isn’t the first black president, he’s the first teen president. On a tangential note, I have to admit that I find it both irritating and amusing when left-liberal Americans who have never been anywhere outside the borders for more than two weeks, don’t speak anything but English, and have seldom encountered an idea that wasn’t spoon-fed to them by a teacher or professor try to strike the citoyen du monde pose in front of me.

But I have to disagree with Steyn. The fact that there are no shortage of other useless and narcissistic weirdos doesn’t make Obama any less weird. It is surprising to me that more people didn’t observe how psychologically strange Obama has been from the start. There is something intrinsically wrong with anyone who is still that much of a blank slate after more than a decade in the public eye. Forget the missing birth certificate, where are the friends and old girlfriend, where are the proud teachers and professors? And since his inauguration, Obama’s presidency has provided one risible moment after another, and I strongly suspect that the ultimate punch line is going to be a doozy.

WND column

Nine Years of Futility

In December 1979, the USSR invaded Afghanistan with 80,000 soldiers supported by 1,800 tanks. The government of Afghan President Hafizullah Amin was overthrown in less than a week at a minimal cost of only 86 fatalities. However, Marshal Sokolov was unable to establish control outside the major population centers, and despite reinforcements that increased its total occupation force to 100,000 troops, 80 percent of the country remained outside the control of its military or its puppet government. Over the 10 years of the failed occupation, Soviet forces lost an average of 1,445 dead annually (63 percent of which were combat-related), until they finally retreated in a two-stage, largely peaceful withdrawal that was completed in February 1989.