I can't tell which it is from one day to the next.
Their commitment to the Obama-McChrystal
So once again, I retreat, saving my time and effort by resorting to the words of others. Today. I am reproducing the voice of one of greatest contemporary authorities on Western and Central Asia - that I read anyways.
Juan Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan, author of several books on Islam and politics. He is most renown on the Internet for his blog, Informed Comment.
Today he posted his review of President Obama's latest rant about terrorism in which Cole laments the Administration's retreat into buying off on the Cheneysque mythology of a American-led Global War on Terror (GWOT). Here are the concluding paragraphs of his Obama: The Age of the War on Al-Qaeda, which I trust will prove worthy of my readers' consideration:
Obama most unfortunately has allowed the right wing to maneuver him in to reviving the use of the word 'war,' and he is now talking about a 'war on al-Qaeda.' It is not a war, and cannot be fought like a war, and the word is just as misleading now as it was in the Bush-Cheney era. It is a counter-terrorism struggle. Highlighting al-Qaeda, moreover, gives Bin Laden what he always wanted, to parlay a few thousand cranks with weapons training into the central preoccupation of a superpower. Why not say, for our democracy to flourish, we must do good counter-terrorism? Wars imply a Pentagon role, and military action alone is more likely to provoke terrorism than to end it. In fact, if Bush had not invaded Iraq, al-Qaeda might well have died off by now.I would love to be on Obama's Presidential bus as much as I enjoyed being on his Campaign bus. But I'm not getting back aboard until Barry changes out the route, the bumpersticker, and the driver(s). Until that happens, I'd rather walk.
Obama again talked about winning hearts and minds for the US in the Muslim world. But as the case of the Palestinian/Jordanian double agent, Humam al-Balawi, who detonated a suicide bomb at Forward Operating Base Campbell in Afghanistan showed, as long as the US backs Israeli encroachments on Palestinian land and Israeli attacks on and sieges of Palestinians, winning hearts and minds is complicated and in many cases impossible. The American right wing keeps repeating the stupid mantra that extremists and militants are 'evil' or 'hate us for who we are.' Maybe some are obsessed like that. But most do cite specific policies that enrage them, like the invasion of Iraq or the gradual ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. Vigilante violence is always wrong*, and their grievances give them no warrant to harm innocents (which is evil). But if winning hearts and minds is the issue, then US policy in the Middle East is an impediment. The large US footprint Obama is creating in Afghanistan has the potential to be another such obstacle.
A viable Palestinian state, a US withdrawal from Iraq, and an end to the Afghanistan war would do more to drain the swamp of al-Qaeda collectively than all the intelligence reviews and reorganizations in the world.