The Gleaner is pissed over Harry Reid's acquiescence, and I can understand. It's not like Congress has no power... Remember who controls the purse strings here? Still, I just see this as a symptom of the larger ailment of unchecked executive power and unwise imperial hubris in President Obama really thinking that somehow things will be different when he escalates the military occupation in Afghanistan.
And anyway, I really think Mike Lux is right on all counts here:
I am deeply saddened on so many different levels by the President's speech last night, and his Afghanistan policy in general. Steady escalation is not the answer to this godawful complicated mess. It's all well and good to keep making the argument as to why this is not another Vietnam, although it sure does feel that way to a lot of us, but the big question in terms of comparisons is how this is different than Britain or Russia's experience in Afghanistan itself.
I am also deeply anguished as someone who has a much broader agenda than just this war or even foreign policy and national security in general. The money we will spend, and the political capital that will be burnt, by this war are a horrible price to pay- and for what goal? Will this surge defeat Al Queda [sic] and the Taliban once and for all? Will they make Afghanistan and Pakistan safe places for the long run? It just doesn't seem very likely.
This is at its core also bad politics on so many different levels. History is very clear on this topic. Two of our last three Democratic Presidents have had their presidencies broken and sunk on the rocks of a terrible relationship with the progressive base: Jimmy Carter over economics, and LBJ over a wrong- headed land war in Asia. With this escalation, and with Geithner and Summers running Obama's economic policy, this President seems like he wants to pick fights with us in both areas. It truly is heart breaking.
Yep, yep, yep. Obama is "spending his political capital" on what, exactly? Escalating an increasingly unpopular war? Forcing a corrupt government on people who don't want it? Doing something that may do nothing to stop al-Qaeda but may do everything to risk losing the cooperation with the Muslim World that the Obama Administration is just starting to rebuild after Bush squandered it all on Iraq?
Our troops don't deserve this. They don't deserve to have their time wasted on this. I only hope that President Obama is being honest when he says he wants to begin troop withdrawal in 18 months.
It really is time to let the people of Afghanistan take back their own country, and it's too bad we won't let them do it sooner.