Richard Vague: Throwing More Troops At Afghanistan WRONG Move

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richard vague twn 2008.jpgA friend and member of my New America Foundation/American Strategy Program Director’s Council, Richard Vague, was profiled this morning in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I will be posting today a guest post by Vague here at The Washington Note, but this morning’s profile by Joseph N. DiStefano deserved special mention.
Vague used to be a fairly conservative businessman and a giant in the U.S. credit card business. He got out of that sector and is now a leading innovator in the retail energy sector, but thinks that jobs and economic hope are better motivators than bullets in our foreign policy efforts.
Here is a section of this snapshot by DiStefano in which Vague raises doubts about increasing the military stakes in Afghanistan:

Richard W. Vague, chief executive officer of Philadelphia electric-power marketer Energy Plus Holdings L.L.C., cheered when Sen. Joe Biden (D., Del.) was tapped as Barack Obama’s No. 2. (photo credit: Jonathan Wilson/Philadelphia Inquirer)
Vague’s career as a Wilmington credit card bank boss resulted in his becoming friendly with Biden. Last year, Biden placed Vague, who was organizing public-policy forums questioning the Iraq war before that was fashionable, on the State Department’s Advisory Committee for International Economic Policy.
“I’ve been faithfully attending,” Vague told me, “but there are a whole lot of cooks in the foreign-policy kitchen these days.”
Vague was “very discouraged” to hear over the weekend that the United States plans to send up to 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan next year.
“My sense is, that is the last thing we need to do,” Vague said. “Obama said in his campaign that he would escalate in Afghanistan, but I had hoped he was saying that as a way to deflect questions regarding Iraq without appearing soft, and when the time came he would exit Iraq but resist escalating in Afghanistan.
“The trouble is that we could defeat the Taliban, al-Qaeda and the warlords in Afghanistan again and again, but unless someone provides a viable economic path forward for the broad citizenry there, it won’t matter. They’ll just come back.”
Vague said analysts had suggested that the United States buy Afghanistan’s illicit drug crops as a way of easing tensions. He says that’s no crazier than the way the United States paid tens of thousands of insurgents – “our former Sunni antagonists” – to stop shootings in Iraq.
“This all seems absurd in the context of our current economic crisis,” Vague added. He hopes spring reinforcements will be the last troops we’ll need to send.

Richard Vague’s article on the economy, written for The Washington Note will be up in a couple of hours.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

33 comments on “Richard Vague: Throwing More Troops At Afghanistan WRONG Move

  1. Peter Andy Wolfe says:

    Why, should we embark on anything more in Afganastan?
    Pull out. it’s not our sphere of influence and, unlike Iraq, there’s no oil – no booty.
    The gains to be realized vs. the cost just are not worth it.
    The theory that we can root out those who want to organize and destroy America is a flawed one that serves only to line the pockets of a select few who profit from wartime, at the expense of the rest of us.
    India, China, Russia, they may have a more immediate boarder concern and it should be left to them to solve the mess there.
    Spend much less of our money by
    1). securing our boarders
    2). Watch the Taliban like a hawk.
    We can maintain constant surveillance of Afghanistan and the Taliban with aerial and space reconnaissance. We can infiltrate and uncover the Taliban by turning the citizenry into spies. Everyone has a price, all we have to do is find the price and find the method by which the individuals who want to rat the Taliban out, can “Rat-Recieve- and (remain alive).
    As an example, We could flood the country with free celphones that would have a one-button hotline. Drop millions of these throughout Afghanistan so that, like mushrooms, they are everywhere.
    Anyone who had information on the whereabouts of Talaban (so we can target them with a cruise missle), would recieve a confirmation number on the cel phone.
    They’d write that number down and then destroy the phone.
    The U.S. would maintain a database of “winning” numbers, and when the time was right, the individual who made the call would present his “#” and collect his cash.
    huge reward and maybe even citizenship.
    In the meantime we would isolate Afganistan economically from the rest of the world.
    Negotiate severe trade restrictions and blockades/embargoes, and would let the Afgani people know that they barriers will come down just as soon as you become proactive at rooting out the Taliban yourselves.
    Let the Afghans solve their own problems.
    It’s a lot less expensive and it forces their government to become proactive, develop the forces necessary to maintain law and order, and frees up capital that can be much better spent rebuilding our infrastructure.
    Are you “terrorized” by donkey riders?
    I am not overly worried that a group of angry terrorists who’s transportation system probably has more registered donkeys then automobiles and who’s air power is limited to hijacked United Air Lines jets, is a huge threat worthy of billions of our tax dollars.
    Quit pissing away our future growth in America in a war that we will receive no real gain from.

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  2. Don Bacon says:

    dwg,
    from the Army: The Army’s mission is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders. We do this by. . .organizing, equipping, and training forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land.
    [“the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land” — which I summarized as “blowing stuff up and killing people”]
    from NPR: Chayes says more troops in Afghanistan are definitely needed. “This shouldn’t really be seen as a massive militarization of the situation in Afghanistan, because the number of troops on the ground is just pitifully low,” she says.
    [“Chayes says more troops in Afghanistan are definitely needed.”]

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  3. dwg says:

    Mr. Bacon,
    May I suggest that you refraiin from tarring the entire military with your broad stroke stating they are trained to “blow stuff up and kill people.”
    Without doubt, a significant portion of our military are trained to do just that. And they are highly trained and execute that function well.
    However, there are many who are equally highly trained and professional in other functions: doctors, lawyers, police, among them. Some are trained to establish and preserve civil society – as governors, mayors, admnistrators, teachers and the like. Others are engineers who are highly skilled to build roads, bridges and other more complex infrastructure projects.
    Moreover, you should read Ms. Chayes more thoroughly. She is POTENTIALLY in favor of a greater military presence but advocates a tightly focused mission – including all the functions I’ve just described AND a “senior peace corp” to supplement them – and similar NON-MILITARY personnel from other NATO countries.
    Of course that is nation building. And the U.S. must decide whether we should be engaged in that process.
    As I stated in my original comment, it is incumbent on the new administration to assess accurately, weigh carefully, plan precisely and execute successfully a plan that will leave Afghanistan better able to govern itself – all those things the heavy handed, short sighted, bumbling, inept Bush administration never cared to take the time to do.
    That was Chayes point as I understood it. Her point regarding increased troop presence was only one small element of a discussion of creating a better Afghanistan for the people that live there.

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  4. rich says:

    Man, I mangled it — ignore #2 there.
    I love the personalities coming through here. Especially the glaringly obvious hubristic error in thinking bigger is better, so a really humongous bombing run must be wow! really effective! As though big bombs must be politically or even militarily effective.
    Also telling is the child-like enthusiasm for big stuff and the anti-intellectual and even unsophisticated idea that overwhelming force will help fix an untenable political position: “Goddamn! that must have been a really good strike!”
    Our President. We love him so. But he deserves more respect. I mean, reverence.
    I also love Nixon’s innate political brilliance shining right on-point . . . only to be countered by the sycophancy of Kissinger: ‘Mizzdr Prezzidend, the var is goingg vell. Ve dropped a million bombs!”
    Nixon, doubtful, got it, even if he didn’t understand it, or wasnt’ sure of his own judgment: “Johnson bombed them for years, and it didn’t do any good.”

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  5. rich says:

    Note: I clipped all my commentary between the repeat paragraph in the above comment
    Of course, Kissinger was as subtle as he was ineffective.
    >>
    “It was April 1972 . . .The men struggled to persuade each other that the war might still be won.
    “They dropped a million pounds of bombs,” Mr. Kissinger said.
    Nixon was pleased. “Goddamn, that must have been a good strike!” he said.
    Then the president had a moment of doubt, recalling the dismal experience of his immediate predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson: “Johnson bombed them for years, and it didn’t do any good.”
    Mr. Kissinger reassured his boss, saying: “But, Mr. President, Johnson never had a strategy.
    >
    Kissinger: “But, Mr. President, Johnson . . was sort of picking away at them. He would go in with 50 planes, 20 planes. I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month.”
    >
    “Perhaps you don’t know how to get out of the war,” Ginsberg ventured.
    Mr. Kissinger said he was open to a meeting. “I like to do this,” he said, “not just for the enlightenment of the people I talk to, but to at least give me a feel of what concerned people think.”
    <<
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/washington/24kissinger.html?_r=1
    Think about it: Dick Cheney, George Bush, Hamid Karzai and the Taliban all together in their altogether; we can haul Osama bin Laden out of his ‘cave’, since Bush isn’t interested in tracking him down dead or alive — and put the whole thing on CNN. I don’t care if they arm wrestle or play bridge, they’ll find ‘peace’ or ‘equilibrium’ a whole lot faster. Or wait, that’s not the point?

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  6. rich says:

    Kissinger never exhausted every option of statecraft, new tapes show.
    Revealing moments show a spritely sense of humor:
    >>
    “In April 1971, Mr. Kissinger accepted a call from the beat poet Allen Ginsberg, who hoped to arrange a meeting between top Nixon administration officials and antiwar activists.
    “Perhaps you don’t know how to get out of the war,” Ginsberg ventured.
    Mr. Kissinger said he was open to a meeting. “I like to do this,” he said, “not just for the enlightenment of the people I talk to, but to at least give me a feel of what concerned people think.”
    Then Ginsberg upped the ante. “It would be even more useful if we could do it naked on television,” he said.
    Mr. Kissinger’s reply is transcribed simply as “Laughter.”
    >
    “It was April 1972, and American B-52 bombers were pummeling North Vietnam. President Richard M. Nixon got on the phone with his national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, for an update on the air assault on the port city of Haiphong. The men struggled to persuade each other that the war might still be won.
    “They dropped a million pounds of bombs,” Mr. Kissinger said.
    Nixon was pleased. “Goddamn, that must have been a good strike!” he said.
    Then the president had a moment of doubt, recalling the dismal experience of his immediate predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson: “Johnson bombed them for years, and it didn’t do any good.”
    Mr. Kissinger reassured his boss, saying: “But, Mr. President, Johnson never had a strategy. He was sort of picking away at them. He would go in with 50 planes, 20 planes. I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month.”
    “Mr. Kissinger ‘reassured’ his boss, saying: “But, Mr. President, Johnson never had a strategy. He was sort of picking away at them. He would go in with 50 planes, 20 planes. I bet you we will have had more planes over there in one day than Johnson had in a month.”
    I bet you! More is better, Mr. President. We have a strategy, you see.
    Right. Like Kissinger, whispering Wormtongue in George W. Bush’s ear, has a strategy. The parallel errors between Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan just boggle the mind.
    Keep in mind, America dropped more bombs on Vietnam than were used in all of World War II. Oddly, we still couldn’t win a political battle with military might in SouthEast Asia– and Kissinger didn’t know the difference. Kissinger, who went behind the back of one President to speak to the North Vietnamese to ensure the election of the next President — manipulating events on the world stage (without permission or portfolio) to meddle in the outcome of a Presidential election (treasonously). But, well, you know if a little duplicity for good/progressive ends is the order of the day, why let a little integrity stand in the way?
    What could go wrong in Iraq by listening to a statesman like Kissinger, given his record in Vietnam? After all, supporting Nixon on the road to peace with honor was hard work. Telling negotiators on one side just what they wanted to hear and the other side exactly the opposite can be exhausting! Let them figure it all out after the fact. Much easier to drop a million pounds of bombs, jah. A million pounds!

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  7. Don Bacon says:

    Barack Obama told the nation
    Have no fear of escalation
    This war is just an unfortunate distraction
    Getting Bin Laden is the important action
    Sure there’ll be some collateral damage
    But it’ll be good for my commander image
    You gotta be tough, and take some lives
    Husbands, kids and a lot of wives
    We’ll couple the bombing with some aid
    A ton of wheat with every brigade
    Thirty thousand more, those are the plans
    To help save Afghanistan from the Afghans

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    If you backtrack all the way to 9/10/2001, what you find is a Pakistani ISI general, Mahmud Ahmed, who sent thousands of dollars to Mohamed Atta in the weeks leading up to 9/11, having lunch with Goss and Graham. If you backtrack to any period following 9/11, what you find is the fact that although Ahmed was a financier of Mohamed Atta, he was never pursued, indicted, or taken into custody. This one example completely shoots holes in this con job known as the “Global War On Terror”.
    Considering the nature, alliances, and history of the ISI, it seems to me that it is IMPOSSIBLE to wage war in Afghanistan to “fight terrorism” yet at the same time maintain this sham of an “alliance” with Pakistan. Either our leaders are a pack of fuckin’ idiots and patsies, or the true wieght of “our” motives in Afghanistan is not being presented to us.
    We’ve had eight years of lies and deception, at the hands of a media that greased the skids for this epic con job. Now we have a President Elect that was created, marketed, sold and packaged by the self same corporate media entities that sold us the Patriot Act, the Global War on Terror, and the Iraq invasion. Fear mongering, lies, obsfucations and the rewriting of history. Now these bastards have sold us Barack Obama. How long are we going to keep buying lemons?

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  9. Don Bacon says:

    dwg: “I’m not sure we DON’T need to send more troops. I think though that if that is in the calculus very careful attention needs to paid to what those troops are there to accomplish.”
    Generally speaking what troops accomplish is what they are trained to do, which is to blow stuff up and kill people, and this is particularly true when the military occupation loses control of the ground and must resort to air and artillery attacks, as is now the case in Afghanistan.
    Sarah Chayes is in favor of sending more troops to Afghanistan, so she’s on board with the program.

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  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    As usual, Kotz is good enough to remind us he is completely detached from reality. Thank you Kotz, its good to be reminded just how crazy these assholes in the Bush Administration, and their supporters, really are.
    On another note, I see Gates is now being accused of perjury by a Guantanamo lawyer…..
    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Guantanamo_lawyer_says_Gates_may_have_1222.html
    Gee, that’d be a suprise, wouldn’t it? A Bushlicker lyin’? Who’d a thunk it?
    I’m am a bit curious, however, how one could be an active member of the Bush Administration WITHOUT being a liar. I mean hey, do we expect these criminal pieces of shit to just stand before the world community and admit to thier crimes? Of course, unless you’re Dick Cheney, and you know the incoming fraud has no more respect for the law than the outgoing one had. Must be nice knowing you got away with treason, war profiteering, torture, and the murder of over one million people.
    Yeah, we’re gonna get “change” allright. We’re getting a new criminal to replace the old criminal. So really, we still live in Bushworld, don’t we?
    http://news.antiwar.com/2008/12/23/obama-wants-bush-pentagon-appointees-to-stay/
    “In a move confirmed by Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell, Secretary Gates is asking, on behalf of the new administration, that “all willing political appointees” remain in their positions beyond the inauguration. Morrell says virtually all secretaries and undersecretaries will remain in their positions, until President-elect chooses to replace them. If the President-elect chooses to replace them.”
    “The move is being presented, of course, as an effort to ensure continuity for a wartime transition of power. Yet given Obama’s national security team itself consisted entirely of hawks, they would seem to be at home with the idea of a Pentagon not just modeled after the Bush Administration’s, but consisting more or less entirely of Bush appointees. It may sit well with them, but how will it sit with millions of Obama voters who cast their ballot on the assumption that it would bring about genuine change?”

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  11. rich says:

    Land war in Asia?
    You naysayers have clearly not pondered the meaning of American Exceptionalism. Just because Alexander the Great and Soviet Russia couldn’t conquer and hold Afghanistan, doesn’t mean the United States of America can’t do it. Everyone knows the Red Army doesn’t have our can-do spirit.
    Sure, winter is coming on, but the invisible hand of the free market on our side, Halliburton & KBR will deliver summer-weight motor oil to our boys and girls in uniform, like magic. You’ll see.
    Plus, our way of life will translate into military victory, for it allows us to use Predator drones to send air strikes into unidentified compounds and insurgent wedding parties. But don’t think that it comes without a human cost! Check the link for proof of American sacrifice:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/14/magazine/14Ideas-Section2-B-t-001.html?_r=1
    If doubters had the social grace to be civil and read more treatises on the vital threats to America in The National Interest — “A quarterly journal of international affairs and diplomacy founded by Irving Kristol. Noted for its issue featuring the “End of History” by Francis Fukayama . . . and is published by the Nixon Center” — you’d realize we can do what the Russians did not. First off, we’re tougher than the Russian Army. Our interrogation methods proved that. And Ivan always gave up too easy. Second, our high tech gizmos are awesome: we can target insurgent Afghanis right in their homes, all the way from Las Vegas — and the only threat to our manpower is the commute home! If all that satellite-guided, high-tech hardware doesn’t capture the hearts and minds of the locals we’ve bombed back to the Stone Age once already, nothing will.
    The key is not to get discouraged. If some puny legalisms get in the way, no sweat. This is an issue of Will – with enough can-do attitude and the right lawyer, anything is possible: we’ve got Yoo working to repeal the second law of thermodynamics right now. Keep your chin up — and keep planning for the next threat to vital American interests. Remember, our way of life is at stake:
    http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=20092

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  12. DonnaZ says:

    Does this mean that “It’s the economy stupid?”
    I posted a link by Barnett Rubin here the other night that I
    believe gets to the root of the problem:
    http://icga.blogspot.com/2008/07/rubin-scheich-icg-etc-
    assume-existence.html
    Prehaps we should begin with “Is there a state of Afghanistan?”
    Sarah Chayes who is on the ground describes a situation where
    the answer would be “no.”
    When we consider economic building vs military might, it would
    be a good idea to grasp the lack of a center and deal with the
    tribal aspects of a fragmented country.
    BTW, Gen. Clark has been advocating for months that the
    economy of Afghanistan must come first. Too bad that Gates
    and Jim Jones are part of the “old” thinking military surge mind
    set.
    The war that continues in DC is the one being waged against
    people who “get things right.”

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  13. dwg says:

    As many of us get distracted by economic ills and Obama’s bare chest (honestly! Is this silliness what the 1st amendment is meant to protect?) it is easy to lose sight of the the really critical foreign policy issues that face us and Afghanistan is really the epicenter and requires much careful thought rather than the kind of precipitious, knee-jerk, reactive responses we have seen over the past 7 years.
    I’m not sure we DON’T need to send more troops. I think though that if that is in the calculus very careful attention needs to paid to what those troops are there to accomplish.
    I was fascinated to read/listen to what Sarah Chayes had to say recently on Bill Moyer’s “Journal” (see: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/12192008/profile.html) and her recent op-ed piece the Washington Post (linked on the PBS site).
    As an observer of some credibility – based on her serious credentials as a historian, journalist – and resident of Kandhar for the past 7 years.
    Worth the read.

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  14. Don Bacon says:

    Dan Kervick is “extremely concerned about Obama’s plans for Afghanistan. That graveyard of empires will be the ruin of him!”
    Well, as Fats Domino would say, ain’t that a shame. I’m extremely concerned about all the people — men, women and children — that Obama will put in graveyards while failing to extend the US Empire into the Hindu Kush. That will be the ruin of them, really.

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  15. Philippe says:

    Sorry for being optimistic but .
    Sending more troops, digging in for staying a 100 years, might be a negociating trick to leave in a better position.
    Wasn’t it Nixon that referrred to the madman in the white house ?

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  16. arthurdecco says:

    America’s “irreconcilable implacable” enemies talk and think like you, Kotzabasis, the soft brained, limp-dicked, delusional keyboard kommandos who have never met an informed thinker they didn’t feel threatened by.

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  17. kotzabasis says:

    Vague is another recruit in the league of political dilettantes led by Clemons. America is at war with an irreconcilable implacable enemy. In any war, especially in this one, there are no soft options. And those who suggest “retreats” and “withdrawals” prematurely from Iraq and Afghanistan are soft brained and they should never have delved in the complexity and hard tasks of war.
    Looking at Vague’s photo, it’s obvious that he spends a lot of time in his own “kitchen” as a good cook in the culinary art but he would make a very bad cook in the art of foreign policy.
    To each his own.
    P.S. See the article on my blog: No Half Measures: How to Win the War in Afghanistan

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  18. Don Bacon says:

    Chris: These “leaders” of ours have families just like we do.
    Damn right they have families, Chris. Dick Cheney’s family is now living in a $2.9m house bought with Halliburton dividends, and I bet his family loves that house and the war that bought it. And so on, all through the roster of presidential cronies and retired generals and congressional pals that got sweetheart contracts out of the almost limitless Pentagon cookie jar. They take good care of their families, but not quite “just like we do.” They do it in the name of National Security, which is a sort of racket they dreamed up to transfer our money into their pockets so they could take better care of their families, and such.
    And will these kinds of people ever stop thinking about their families, and how to put them in expensive houses? Will the so-called Beltway Bandits ever renounce their evil ways? Hint: The chief Pentagon bandit accomplice is being held over by Mr. “Change.”

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  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    OK, here’s the deal. If this Obama character, whom I am pretty sure is a fraud, does not comment to the public, act in our best interests, and seek accountability for the KNOWN lies and perjuries used by the Bush Administration to send our troops into harms way, then “change” is just another slimey campaign slogan from one more Washington snake oil salesman.
    And about Afghanistan. Have we already forgotten the airlift of Taliban out of Afghanistan that was okayed and executed by these lyin’ sacks of shit in the Bush Administration in the early weeks of the invasion? It was rumored that Mullah Omar was on that airlift. Fact is, these criminals in the Bush Administration have screwed the pooch so many times that it is almost virtually impossible to recall all the reasons to hang these bastards for treason.
    And Obama? What is he going to do about it? If the answer is “nothing”, as I believe it is, than he is no better than Dick Cheney or George Bush.
    http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/?q=node/247
    White House Lied About Iraqi Yellowcake Buy, But That’s Not the Biggest Scandal
    Fri, 12/19/2008 – 14:45 — dlindorff
    A new congressional report is belatedly confirming what many have long known: that the White House and in particular then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, lied to Congress in 2004 when he told them the Bush administration was not repeatedly warned by the CIA not to make the claim that Saddam had tried to buy uranium ore from Niger.
    What is astonishing about this report, which documents that the CIA at least four times tried to prevent Bush and other top officials from presenting that lie to Congress and the American public in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, is not that it documents what has long been known, but that Congress and the corporate media are still pretending that the claim itself was an acceptable justification for launching a war.
    Set aside for the moment the fact that the claim that Saddam Hussein had tried to buy uranium ore (so-called yellowcake) from the desert nation of Niger was based upon forged documents which were almost certainly the work of Defense Department hacks in the Rumsfeld/Cheney-created Office of Special Plans (see my book The Case for Impeachment). Even if this fraudulent deal had been real, how on earth could it have been used as it was by President Bush and Vice President Cheney to justify an invasion of Iraq?
    Consider that what was being asserted was that Iraq had attempted (not even succeeded!) to buy 400 tons of uranium ore. This claim was used by President Bush, in his Jan. 20, 2003 State of the Union address, to argue that Iraq had a nuclear weapons program. But in the case of a country that does not have a nuclear weapon, a program is years away, perhaps a decade or more away, from the reality of having a usable weapon…
    continues….

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  20. bangzoom14 says:

    Wow.. this is good. This is great. The bush/cheney fatheads have taught us well. We are basically so damn disgusted with the past eight years that we are ready for REAL change. Heavy emphasis on the word real. Special note to the incoming administration who has used this word over and over again during the past two years whom many of us may have voted for including myself: Over the past many months, it’s been the topic of Iraq Iraq Iraq.. and you’re still promising to end that war as far as we know and I certainly hope you do. But then you began to stick in there now and then the idea about moving over to Afghanistan. I think many people were so consumed with the Iraq War, the election and the economy that little attention was actually being focused on Afghanistan. Well now this is getting a lot of airplay and there is a steady growing chorus of people, and you’re not even in office yet, who are saying in so many words.. ENOUGH WAR ALREADY. End both wars.

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  21. Chris says:

    Why can’t the idiots we vote into power learn the lessons of history. I mean most of them are not stupid people. I read the blogs here and other places and the comments and opinions that are given demonstrate an understanding of past world affairs and how they relate to the present. These “leaders” of ours have families just like we do. Don’t they care what state they are leaving our country and the world?

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  22. TonyForesta says:

    I have argued before that Afghanistan and the netherreaches bordering Pakistan are some of the most treacherous in inhospitable warspaces on earth.
    What is required is covert police intelligence and special ops.
    Further hurling thousands of troops in uniform and big invasions and occupations and tons of mechanized armored forces and lodgin all the necessary support and logistic into Afghanistan is a recipe for disaster; fruitless, bloody, costly, and doomed to fail.
    And finally that thousands of troops roaming the lands of any occupied nation like legionaires erecting puppet governments, slaughtering and oppressing the victim nations innocent civilians and forcing any alien government down the victim nations throat is TYRANNY and IMPERIALISM, not democracy or liberation, and also doomed to fail. Does the military bother reading any history?
    The military industrial complex pipedreams of invasions and occupations, and thousands of troops, dozens of permanent bases, and tons of costly support materials may be exceedingly profitable for the predator class, – but are futile, fruitless endeavors that are doomed to fail.
    It’s all about the oil.
    Like Iraq, Afghanistans’ citizens are of absolutely zero concern to the US predator class, the military industrial complex and the private military and private intelligence complexes, and oligachs, or the fascists in the bushgov who are forcing policy on the Obamagov.
    The people of Afghanistan, like the people of Iraq, or America, or anywhere on earth for that matter have no say in how the future of their respective nations are developed. The predator class feeds the predator class exclusively.
    Also, like Iraq, -Afghanistan and the socalled neverendingwaronterror against the evildoer de jour – is actually ALL ABOUT THE OIL.
    The US geopolitical designs and machinations in the region are bent on hedging Russia, Iran, Pakistan, India, and China militarily (through cross purpose military agreements and increased military presense in South Asia and South Caucasus), and controlling, securing, and profiteering wantonly from control of oil and natural gas out of Caspian.
    While blandisments and message-force multiplying of liberation democratization, and defeating evildoers may be entertaining on TV, – the bruting is a distraction, a misdirection, and a deception masking the construction and securing of a gas and energy corridor through Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan bypassing Russia.
    The US is using the “rubric” or the masquarade of increased US military presense in Afghanistan and throughout the region and the necessary “support” presense, logistic infrastructure, and air rights and air bases necessary to project power along critical supply routes into Afghanistan and through out the region as a backhanded means to control oil and natural gass flows out of the Caspian, bypassing Russia.
    The real negotiatons with the Taliban will involve security and financial agreements concerning future oil distribution routes, – and not the best interests of Afghan people, the American people, or any people anywhere on earth.
    Decisions of war and peace are always made by the predator class, for the predator class with absolutely no concern the people of any nation as more than soldiers or consumers. The people and the peoples interests are nothing more than integers, x’s and o’s in the predator class domination and control calculus. Afghanistan, like Iraq, – it’s all about the oil.

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  23. WigWag says:

    “…he will end up not as the new FDR, but the new LBJ. His progressive economic, environmental and energy agenda at home will be wrecked by a futile, costly and deadly military commitment abroad, every bit as wrongheaded as Iraq and Vietnam.”
    And let’s not forget his progressive agenda on gay rights…
    Oh, that’s right, he remained silent on Proposition 8 and he’s annointed the homophobic Rick Warren as the new Billy Graham.
    Never mind.

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  24. Carol says:

    I also feel Afghanistan is another useless war where we will be for more years than we can count, we have been there for ages already and what really have we achieved??
    If the Russian’s were driven out after years of fighting with no “victory”, then I don’t know how we think we can do any better.
    It just seems more of the same as we have in Iraq, killing troops and civilians for what….something that will continue indefinitely.
    I think the time has come for the troops to come home from both countries quite honestly, not one more life is worth it.

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  25. Bart says:

    Like their brothers and sisters in Iraq, those who fight and die in Afghanistan will do so in vain.

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  26. Linda says:

    If Obama can read about and learn from Lincoln, he can read about and learn from LBJ and Vietnam. Also he is old enough to recall what happened to USSR in Afghanistan.
    Vague’s message is clear. It’s only Obama goals and exact plan for Afghanistan that are vague.

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  27. ... says:

    also as for the drug biz, i thought the cia and bushs buddies had control over that anyway? isn’t that why none of this is working?? call me dumb, but that is how i see it..

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  28. ... says:

    it might be the WRONG MOVE, but what is a military industrial complex supposed to do????
    one thing they have success in as well is getting canucks into afgan as well on their first non peace keeping move since the korean war… the bootlicker for a prime minister here in canada – harper likes the similiar agenda…. this much i know…. money and war seem to be inseparable and they don’t really care about much other then money and war…

    Reply

  29. Syed Qamar afzal Rizvi says:

    Richard Vague ‘ reservations over the US policy of sending more troops to Afghanistan aside, the veritable truth is that sending more and more troops to Afghanistan by no means give the US or its allies the surety to win this devious war.

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  30. JohnH says:

    Obama’s too young to have remembered the lessons of LBJ. Bush was too dumb.

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  31. JohnH says:

    Buying illicit Afghan drugs… Sorry, but that’s just not possible. Only wealthy bankers get bought out. And auto makers, and commercial real estate developers, etc. etc.
    BTW, instead of talking about the futility of trying to defeat the Taliban over and over again, when will a commentator here start to frame the Afghan debate in terms of the futility of going to war without a clear mission?

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  32. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m extremely concerned about Obama’s plans for Afghanistan. That graveyard of empires will be the ruin of him! If Obama continues to heed the siren call of nation building in the warlord-torn Afghan wilderness, he will end up not as the new FDR, but the new LBJ. His progressive economic, environmental and energy agenda at home will be wrecked by a futile, costly and deadly military commitment abroad, every bit as wrongheaded as Iraq and Vietnam.

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Vague said analysts had suggested that the United States buy Afghanistan’s illicit drug crops as a way of easing tensions. He says that’s no crazier than the way the United States paid tens of thousands of insurgents – “our former Sunni antagonists” – to stop shootings in Iraq.”
    Its really quite amazing how Vaque, in less than a sentence, tells us everything we need to know about this myth known as “the success of the surge”. Of course, this mass marketing and advertising agency known as the “main stream media” has utterly failed to inform the American public what a sham the so called “surge” is, just as they will fail to point out what Maddow underscored last night, that “combat troops” will remain in Iraq, but will simply be renamed as “advisors”, “trainers”, “support personnel”, etc. Smoke and mirrors horseshit is what we’ve been fed, are getting fed, and will continue to be fed by the Obama Administration.
    Ask the Russians what a cakewalk Afghanistan was. With a projected 60,000 American troops being proposed for Afghanistan, thats just ten thousand more than the CASUALTIES suffered by Russian troops when they waged their war against Afghanistan. This fraud Obama promised us “change”. What a load of crap.

    Reply

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