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October 18, 2009

Afghanistan, in Aggregate

Economist Obama's war cover.jpg
What drew me to The Economist, specifically, was the similarity of the cover photo to one by Chris Hondros featured the same day (Thursday) at TIME’s Day in Pictures.
Hondros rotor Afghanistan.jpg

My tweet conclusion here.

(image 1: not identified on-line. from Economist cover on-line October 15, 2009. image 2: Chris Hondros/Getty Images. TIME caption: US Army soldiers shield their eyes from the powerful rotor wash of a Chinook cargo helicopter as they are picked up in Paktika Province, Afghanistan.)

  • bystander

    US in a woodchipper? Perhaps. My first thought looking at the pics was Sandstorm? Or, Shitstorm? Any way you cut it, it doesn’t look good does it?
    What do we owe the Afghanis, if anything, for our adventure there?
    Do we have any means by which to deliver what we owe?
    Do we have any ability at all to learn from this adventure in imperialism, or are we doomed to repeat it in another decade or less?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    Yes, that photo brings back memories. But not of this 1980 photo of one of the two helicopters destroyed in the desert storm that came up and stopped Operation Eagle Claw, the failed Iran hostage rescue attempt, but of Jimmy Carter’s face under the 24-point type announcing that failure. I’ve searched everywhere for that photo of Carter to no avail.
    That photo of a long-face-hung-down and beaten Carter exemplified abject failure; Carter’s failure, and by extension the failure of the United States. Carter’s inability to rescue those hostages (or even mount another attempt) changed my vote at the next election, and ever since. My first vote for president was for Carter, a Democrat; after that absolute and utter failure in the desert, I never voted again for a president wearing a D.
    Will Obama have a similar photo appear sometime in the next few years?

  • DennisQ

    Right wing political theory has been reduced to talking points, most of which amount to little more than Nyah Nyah taunting. Your post is a good example – you have to go back nearly thirty years for something to crow about.
    By the way, the failure of the hostage rescue isn’t really anything to crow about, either. Perhaps you might applaud the capture of Saddam or the successful airstrike on Zarqawi. If you’d like to resurrect the Right’s Greatest Hits, you might also include the impeachment of Bill Clinton . . . the successful outcome of Bush v. Gore . . . Obama’s failure to bring the Olympics to Chicago . . .
    Yes, the right has truly shown us the meaning of success, all right. In case you’ve forgotten, Afghanistan isn’t really Obama’s war; he inherited it. It’s not as though he were deciding today whether or not to invade Afghanistan – that decision was made before him. His options are far more constrained than they would have been otherwise.

  • jonst

    DennisQ,
    Obama did indeed “inherit” the Afghan War. But it became ‘his war’, the day he gave the speech to the Veteran’s Group and declared it was a “necessary war”.
    Serr8D,
    Yes, Reagan proved, that cakes, decorated to appear like the Koran, and arms, and drug money, were better, more fruitful, tributes to the Persians than failed rescue attempts. How long after the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon, and our subsequent skedaddle out of Beirut, did we deliver those treats? I saw no long faced pictures of that debacle.

  • ratfood

    Is this the photo of Carter you were referring to?
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2008/jul/17/iran.usa?picture=335771884

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    That’s obviously one of the series of photos taken that day. The particular photo as I remember it was a color shot, on the front page of The Tennessean; a very dark and somber outlook. Not nearly as bright as that particular image. And I seem to remember Carter as…older.
    Thanks for that, RF.
    Oh, there’s no crowing in that post, DennisQ. That is a very poignant memory, as burned in my makeup as is the Challenger crackup later on in that decade.
    The long-lasting time frame of that hostage crisis wasn’t a ‘greatest hit’ for anyone who can claim to be an American.
    (Oh, and keep wiggling; maybe if you wiggle enough someone might just believe Afghanistan isn’t Obama’s War. He could always pull out, couldn’t he? Who could stop him? Why hasn’t he pulled out like he said he would? What’s the holdup? You guys should really be asking some tough questions, maybe even protesting and burning flags and effigys like you did during Bush’s tenure.
    Why so quiet?)

  • DennisQ

    These things are easier to get into than they are to get out of. It’s possible that Obama is looking to withdraw from Afghanistan without getting blamed for the unpleasantness that may follow. It’s certain that the Taliban will proclaim a great victory.
    Nixon inherited Vietnam from Johnson, and was also faced with a dilemma of continuing a failed policy or bearing the consequences of a Communist victory. What kept Nixon from being accused of dithering around is his carpet-bombing of the North. Significantly, that’s all he did besides withdraw.
    If Nixon sought Peace With Honor, it’s possible that Obama is seeking Peace Without Repercussions. Nixon didn’t achieve peace with anything even approaching honor, and Obama is probably aware that he’ll have to face repercussions of some sort . . . most certainly from smug Republicans – who got us into the mess in the first place.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    …who got us into the mess in the first place.

    No. Republicans didn’t ‘get us into the mess in the first place’. There was great and almost universal approval for the incursion into Afghanistan, after 9/11. The votes are on record (by those who held office then, of course; Mr. Obama wasn’t yet a Washingtonian voice) and are easily g00gled.
    “Peace Without Repercussions”, a good bit of phraseology for any politician’s ploys. I like that, consider it stolen. But hear me on this: there is no peace forthcoming, ever, on the boundaries of Islamic nations who uphold Sharia law, for as long as Islam remains as an easily-hijacked religion. We will have these conflicts until suitable reform is adapted by Islamic leaders.
    The Koran was written almost perfectly by that one man to keep his followers in check, and to coerce them to expand forever. I don’t know how a Christian-style reform will happen, but it must.

  • redX

    Everyone knows the history about his and Carter, why they are being mixed and jumbled to argue between 3 or 4 people on this post is very silly.
    Everyone knows Bush went into Afganistan with 80%+ support, then he messed it all up let Bin Laden escape at Tora Bora, and took his “eye off the ball” (diverting money, troops, and attention from a must win conflict against a good chunk of the killers on 9-11 and put it into a fake war of the Republican invention of Iraq War II).

  • redX

    And Iran-Contra… come on, whats wrong with selling arms to Iran, running drugs, killing labor in latin america, subverting the constitution, lying about it (to bad no questions on blowjobs). I mean Iran is the good guy right? Or wait or is it Iraq the one Don Rummy and the Republicans liked to pal around with as they used chemical weapons on their people and Iran…no wait… umm who is the enemy again?

  • Aurora

    You say: there is no peace forthcoming, ever, on the boundaries of Islamic nations who uphold Sharia law, for as long as Islam remains as an easily-hijacked religion. We will have these conflicts until suitable reform is adapted by Islamic leaders.
    The Koran was written almost perfectly by that one man to keep his followers in check, and to coerce them to expand forever. I don’t know how a Christian-style reform will happen, but it must.
    I don’t get how pulling out of Afghanistan jibes with this…what strategy are you in favor of?

  • yg

    typical shallow read from you, serr8d.
    you never questioned the policy that lead to the hostage crisis in the first place. what gave us the right to assassinate their democratically elected leader and installing a dictator? someone guilty of human rights violations.
    and reagan negotiated with terrorists to delay the release of hostages.
    the proof is in the pudding. the hostages came home alive. each and everyone of them. that counts as a success.
    would you have felt better if a failed rescue ended up with the deaths of all of them?

  • yg

    we are not ungrateful. we appreciate bush’s effort and hard work in afghanistan that produced a trained and ready afghan security forces ready to take over the defense of their own country after all these years. oh, wait….

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0115724f02ff970b Serr8d

    So, we assassinated a democratically-elected leader of Iran? When did we do that, specifically, with linky? Install a dictator, did we? Seriously? Iran had a Monarchy (various Shahs) since 1501, until the Islamic Revolution in ‘79. If you speak of the assassination of Premier Hasan-ali Mansur, that was carried out by Muslim extremists (who knew?).
    Oh. The Reagan negotiated with hostages canard. You’ve drawn deeply from the well, my friend; the koolaid, it’s burned you. There was no negotiation. The Islamic Revolutionaries knew they could biatch-slap a Democrat (Carter &c.) but when the Big Dawg came in, the party was over.
    And no, but I would rather the hostages be rescued by someone of capability. I said then we should’ve asked Israel to take care of our light work. The Israelis know how to deal with these Muslim swine; they’ve had to do so since 1948.

  • yg

    So, we assassinated a democratically-elected leader of Iran? When did we do that
    [bangs head on desk.]

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