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George Will is no Cronkite

By John Martin - Posted on 01 September 2009

I can't remember the last time I heard about a journalist’s column two days before its publication date. If George Will was trying to create buzz ahead of his call for an Afghanistan withdrawal, he succeeded. Before anyone even read what he had to say, people were discussing how he was helping split Republican opinion and creating even less support for President Obama’s plan to win this war.

Why is Will only now coming out against our efforts to defeat the Taliban? After all, we have been in Afghanistan for almost eight years, as he points out. Is it because we are just now devoting the resources, manpower and attention needed to actually win this thing? If George Will is right— if Afghanistan was a lost cause from the start, with no chance to develop or create a decent government— you have to wonder why he didn’t realize this back in 2001. Maybe he just started reading up on his Afghan history after Obama was sworn in.

If we pulled out all ground troops and relied on our Special Forces and drones to go after specific targets within Afghanistan, as Will recommends, we will guarantee that 30 million Afghans will be our sworn enemies for the next 100 years. When we turned our attention away from Afghanistan after the Soviet defeat in 1989, we helped create a breeding ground for our worst enemies and a people ever suspicious of our motives. Instead of working to help create a stable, normal nation, we abandoned the Afghan people, as they suffered through years of famine, civil war, and the brutality of Taliban rule. Only in the wake of 9/11 did some begin to believe we could finally help them achieve stability—provided we were willing to stay the course.

If we were to leave now, the Taliban would immediately return to power, and we would never be forgiven by the Afghan people. Women would again be permanently locked inside their homes, girls would again be prohibited from attending school, and people would be regularly shot, hung and stoned in public at the whim of extremist rulers. If George Will thinks we’ll be able to rely on good intelligence to find and kill our enemies hiding in their Afghan havens, he underestimates how difficult intelligence gathering will become among a population with a renewed hatred for America and the west. Additionally, a strategy limited to bombings and Special Forces raids (under Will’s plan) will continue to kill innocent victims, becoming a propaganda bonanza for the Taliban, as they emerge looking like the good guys in this fight.

Thankfully, our last President ignored the George Wills of the world when he changed strategies in Iraq and devoted the necessary manpower needed to bring victory there. Now that the ball is in Obama’s court, you’d think Will would give at least some deference to our president and some support for the soldiers currently fighting to prevent the return of the Afghan terrorist breeding ground, and a victory for our worst enemies.

You had me at "George Will is no Walter Cronkite"
Yeah, he tries to maintain the statesman image, but Cronkite he is not.

It's sad that we've reached a point where 'government service' is a dirty word... If we're the greatest country on earth, maybe we can have the greatest government.

Lewis Black

Hmm. I was skimming his old archives. I don't see anything so much "gung ho" for invading and/or occupying Afghanistan, but neither do I see much directly against it.

I didn't read every op/ed from the past ten years, though. The gist that I got was still a pretty health skepticism for foreign adventurism and nation building. I can't pinpoint it, just a feeling that I got.

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." -- Douglas Adams

We abandoned them eight years ago. They don't want us to stay. We are thousands of days late, and billions of dollars short. If all of the time, money, and effort that went to Afghanistan instead of Iraq , then the situation there might well be far different from what it is today.

Edit: Never mind. Deleted. I don't feel like arguing.

"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so." -- Douglas Adams

I'm sorry you deleted it.  Maybe rewording it would have been a good idea, but I agreed with your premise.
I agree, I don't think anyone should not be challenged just to avoid the discussion. I know there is always the risk of a back-and-forth with little budging but I think if there is a question to be asked, then it should be kept there. If Tin doesn't have time to pick up the argument someone else might. I do that sometimes I find that others can frame the argument better than I can. If no one asks or points out what i'm thinking, then I give it a go. I guess it helps when there are a few people here that have nearly the same stance as I do on certain issues....
They want us to stay if we can improve their lives.  If we can do that, I promise that our 8 years of wishy-washy committment will be forgiven.

I'm hearing some rumblings that the right will take political advantage of the left's anti-war sentiment, to frame Afghanistan as "Obama'a Vietnam".  The plan is to build on that sentiment as a tool to regain seats in 2010. 

Funny how the right never grumbled for seven years, but after seven months and a renewed commitment, they are re-framing it.  Will was just the and see.

So if even if there is no sign whatsoever that he is going to leave, they will claim he wants to bail? Even when he's not? Because the left says so?

It's a confusing going in circles and backtracking. I think I get it: If he stays, they'll attack him for it. If he goes, they'll attack him for it? Am I just making the issue more confusing? Where's neocon Steve to explain it for me. ( :

We need a timeline.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to talk to the media, said Biden has argued that without sustained support from the American people, the U.S. can't make the long-term commitment that would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan and dismantle al Qaida . Biden's office declined to comment.

A timeline seems nearly impossible and premature because we are just now starting to put focus on the country in a way Bush never did. With us leaving Iraq slowly and moving forces, how could you guage how long it would take if the troops aren't even in place yet? I can't imagine how difficult it must be for the people who actually have to make these decisions...

The far left is anti-war in general, and see no justification for almost any war.  They are upset over the increased troops and escalation in Afghanistan, and as the casualty numbers increase, they are starting to say we need to get out.  They say this, even though Obama campaigned on increased efforts there. 

The right sees this as an opportunity to build anti-Obama convincing the people that Obama has us mired in another Vietnam, another unwinnable war.  They can use this meme as anti-White House rhetoric in next years Congressional elections, in order to win back seats from the Dems.

They (the right) are counting on him not leaving, as the President seems committed to this.   The will conveniently ignore the fact that Bush had us there, and lost ground, for seven years.  All of a sudden, this is Obama's war, and an quagmire.  Again, it's politics first, country second for the right. 

I thought that's what you meant, but it just seems so absurd that you'd think the question shouldn't even be asked because it has to be something else. How could they make such a u-turn like that and how in the heck could it ever work? What about their shouts of patriotism, or the dems firing back that they care more about finishing the job punishing those responsible for 9/11, or alienating the vets the right has on their side, them being quiet for the entire length of Bush's presidency and even using the war to win hearts and votes; The list goes on. It's just all seems like such an asinine stance that is hard to imagine actually working. Scratch that. It's such an asinine stance that I can't imagine an adult with half a brain would come up with or actually consider using it successfully.

I can imagine them getting the base on board pretty fast, but that's about it....

I think the right is preparing to paint Barack a failure on this (before his plan is even implemented, of course), but I think there will be many who'll just say that he's doing a BAD job and has a bad strategy-- not that we shouldn't try to win there. 

George Will's proposals have the convenient advantage of committing us to a military presense there, but also not keeping us involved in the day-to-day efforts of bringing that country back to its feet.  If the right fully turns against Obama it'll talk about how he's not strong enough (in focusing on killing the "bad guys") and how he's wasting our money to a corrupt and incompetent Afghan system.


< it just seems so absurd that you'd think the question shouldn't even be asked because it has to be something else.>

ME???  Ummmmm, Steven, who said the question shouldn't be asked?  Besides, I didn't give my personal opinion, I reported what I'm hearing. 

Or is it too early for me to be coherent, and I'm misreading what you are saying?

Lol, no suzi. I meant that the whole strategy seems so ridiculous that it can't possibly be what it looks like. So by me asking if I read it right, seems like an obvious answer: No. But I did and I can't believe anyone on the right who considers themselves competent would even pose such a plan....

Perhaps I'm just adding to the confusion.... ( :

ROFLMAO.....Can you tell I don't do mornings very well?  (And the fact that I have a whining four year old on my hands doesn't help the situation. ;-)
Cheney's at your house?!

LOL...I said whining...not evil!!! 

And thankfully, the whining has stopped, and I have my good as gold Ryan back.  Yayyyyy

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