12.01.2009

Obama's decision

I just purchased and watched again the DVD of National Geographic’s four-hour documentary, “Inside 9/11.” The documentary traces the roots of Islamic Jihad, the forming of al Qaeda (“The Base”), the carrying out of the attacks of September 11, subsequent terrorist attacks around the world and the capture of Kalid Sheikh Mohammed and others responsible.

Two weeks after the attacks on the United States, President George W. Bush, in a speech to the CIA workforce, said, “(I)f you harbor a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist; if you provide safe haven to a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorist; if you fund a terrorist, you're just as guilty as a terrorist.”

Our mission in Afghanistan – unlike our reasons for invading Iraq – could not have been any clearer.

Since then more than 900 American and nearly 600 Allied troops have lost their lives attempting to carry out that mission.

Tonight our president will address our nation and the world about our continued involvement in a country where for most of its citizens war has been a way of life.

I recomment you read this CNN REPORT which examines all the considerations President Obama has weighed leading up to what he will say tonight.

I do not expect him to ask Americans not in uniform to make sacrifices in our daily lives. That kind of sacrifice faded with WWII. While Americans are in harm’s way on two war fronts, we at home paid homage to Black Friday.

I trust this young American president. I trust his judgment and his heart. Barack Obama is commander-in-chief of America’s armed forces and is far more privy to information essential to doing the right thing than are you and I.

Osama bin Laden defined the terms of the stuggle in October 2001 when he told Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir, “This place may be bombed, and we will be killed. We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us.” (Source of quote: “Inside 9/11,” National Geographic)

So, to those on the far right who despise him and to the anti-war far-left which feels betrayed, I say, this is Obama’s decision to make and, in so doing, he freely accepts the burden.

That takes courage, no more than he expects of the men and women who serve under him and certainly no less than we should expect of each other.

25 comments:

Falzone for America said...

BJ and friends. Please consider the comments in this article at common dreams about the the resignation of Mathew Hoh and the reported goals and resulting conditions in Afghanistan.

"Matthew Hoh Speaks Grim Truth To Power"

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/11/30-5

Infidel753 said...

I'm willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on this one. Unlike Bush, he's educated himself about Afghanistan and I think he will make, let's say, the least-bad decision in this very intractable situation. It's easy for critics to make simplistic pronouncements like "just get out now" when they aren't the ones who would have to take responsibility for the long-term consequences.

bbj said...

Reluctantly (because I truly believe war doesn't solve anything), I'm going to agree with BJ and Infidel. I do trust President Obama to make the best possible decisions on the sorry options available to him.

Andrew said...

Ahhh yes, the "good war." Now that a Democrat is in the White House, sending more troops to Afghanistan is a good idea.

I was just a baby during Vietnam, but I know enough to know that that war should have taught the US a valuable lesson about quagmires.

What do we have to gain by remaining there? What is going on there is the Central Asian version of the Hatfields and McCoys. These are very old grudges and battles. We have no business being there.

And as for President Obama - I find him to be intellectually dishonest and a sell-out. What liberal can really be proud of what Obama has done so far. His presidency has been a disaster.

Falzone for America said...

He knew well the source of that scourge in the U.S.-installed Kabul regime, a kleptocracy of war- and drug-lords holed up amid American bodyguards in "poppy palaces," while clan-based "security forces" loot the countryside, sodomize its sons, and swell insurgent ranks. "We're propping up a government," Hoh said last week, "that isn't worth dying for." So pervasive and profound is that corruption, so entwined with the private exploitation and official graft of the U.S. occupation regime -- including kickbacks or extortion payments from both the American military and civilian aid programs to both the new Kabul plutocracy and the multi-layered Taliban -- that the morass makes every other issue of policy moot.

Jerry Critter said...

Whenever I began to have doubts about the job that Obama is doing, I am reminded of the choice we had. If Obama was not our president, we would be dealing with a McCain/Palin presidency.

Thank god we don't have that!

Sue said...

I am sorry but I do not support America and Obama in continuing this farsicle war. I side with Matthew Hoh and Andrew. I gather Falzone sides with Hoh too. Do you all read Reality Zones blog?? Come get the link from my blog and read him, he is obsessed with Af-Pak and the wars.

B.J. said...

A few thoughts:

Frequent commenter Frodo and I go ‘round and ‘round about the realist vs. idealist thing. No one loves war. No one thinks "war is good."No one wants war. But, the fact remains that we’ve got American kids over in Afghanistan and Iraq giving their all for their mission.

Is it realistic to expect that we can never engage an enemy in battle (post-Vietnam) when the fact remains that enemies exist?

I pretty much knew what your comments would say, because I know and have communicated with each of you, and I appreciate and respect all your thoughts.

In anticipation of his words tonight, I did a lot of thinking about this quote from Barack Obama in a 28 February 2006 speech:

“Our enemies are fully aware that they can use oil as a weapon against America. And if we don't take this threat as seriously as the bombs they build or the guns they buy, we will be fighting the War on Terror with one hand tied behind our back.”

I believe that. This country must face the fact that it needs a realistic energy policy, something the Republicans will fight nail and tooth.

BTW, where IS Frodo???

BJ

B.J. said...

P.S. to Jerry Critter (I love critters!):

I am so happy you are visiting DemWit, and a big AMEN to your comment. You gave Obama the “Dear Abby” test. She once asked a woman contemplating divorce, “Are you better off with him or better off without him?”

BJ

Jerry Critter said...

P.S. to BJ (I love ...oops, I better not say that!)

Thanks, BJ. I have been lurking DemWit for a while now.

Frodo, tonight with the strangest dream, said...

Barack Obama, somewhere along the way,has learned that the Presidency is a process, not a series of events. The worst Presidents dealt with things one-at-a-time, and the best put their time into things all at once. Andrew, for example, feels that Obama has been a "disaster," when there is nothing further from the truth. In fact, Obama's first eleven months are not rife with names like Gonzalez, Cheney, Brown, Paulson, Rumsfeld, Chris Cox, and whatever the name is/was of that moron who almost destroyed the Veterans Administration (some things, and some people are better lost to history). Obama has applied principles to the problems, and that is both courageous, and frustrating, especially to those who can't see beyond the trees. Given all that, Frodo,too,is very concerned about losing one more kid for anything remotely involving the Khyber Pass. Frodo,too,believes that we have asked too few to do too much, and he cannot, in good conscience, ask others to suffer the burdens which he does not bear.
Frodo has remained silent out of respect for the Presidency, and to try and put perspective into what is said, and not that which is premature. Afterwards, he'll walk into the darkness of the Shire and look up at the stars. For sure, Mick, the Wonder Dog will be at his side. Nothing else is assured.

B.J. said...

Not premature to say I trust the commander-in-chief to make a decision based on all he knows. (And, thanking God every breath that GWB is back in Texas.)

Being refreshingly TV-less (“Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one”) and on dail-up without the benefit of podcasts (“Simplify, simplify, simplify”), I will await the written transcript.

I invite everyone to come back and access the address to the nation (and the world).

Three cheers for the Comment Zone.

BJ P.S. to Jerry Critter: I know exactly what is was you’d better not say. On my first night as editor here, a slob of a copy editor said, “Up here, B.J. means ….” Welcome to South Carolina.

B.J. said...

Gallup chimes in at 5:10 p.m. EST:

“As President Obama outlines a new U.S. military policy in Afghanistan, Gallup finds that 35% of Americans currently approve and 55% disapprove of his handling of the situation there. That rating is down sharply from September, and is his worst of seven issues tested in the poll.”

Read more of poll

Sue said...

Can I just say this is the paragraph from Andrews comment that I agree with....
"What do we have to gain by remaining there? What is going on there is the Central Asian version of the Hatfields and McCoys. These are very old grudges and battles. We have no business being there."

Having explained that I would also say I think President Obama has done a stellar job so far. I'm fiercely anti-war, not anti-Obama and surely not anti-American. Sorry if my comment above was harsh, I was just feeling upset, :-)

P.S. Jerry you better behave yourself, LOL!

B.J. said...

Sue: You weren’t harsh at all. I knew everyone’s opinions about war before I posted this. I really am not anti-war, but I am anti-the wrong war (Iraq).

I know Frodo, Tiny, Annelle and I have read “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Everyone should read that book. We (the CIA and Congress) greatly aided the Mujahideen in expelling the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. As soon as they left, the young Mujahideen warrior Osama and al Qaeda turned its sights against the United States. Go figure.

The book is by the late George Crile (“60 Minutes” producer), and not only is it informative, it’s entertaining! (Movie stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and Philip Seymour Hoffman – also very good!) Excellent background for the current situation.

Probably the first time I’ve disagreed with the sharp-as-a-tack bbj, but when the 101st Airborne, Rainbow Division, was parachuting into Western Germany and the Russians were marching on Berlin, Adolph Hitler put a pistol in his mouth and the Allies liberated the death camps. In that case, I believe war – despite its horrifc toll – solved something.

BJ

Falzone for America said...

What about being anti the wrong war (Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Kosovo, Columbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, even WWI was highly suspicious as well as many others we don't even know we have been involved in.) There are military actions resulting in American and innocent death throughout our history across the globe. If not declared war they are still just as wrong. An enemy able to use oil as a weapon means we should have solved the problems oil causes long ago and in ways other than war. I agree about the support of Obama. I know that he's the leaser of many evils as you have stated. I still will rail against war unless our shores are being threatened. War is not diplomacy. To carry a big stick doesn't mean to beat the blood out of someone. This IS the wrong war as were many others. Bin Laden is a criminal not a nation. The Taliban are brutal as are the cabal of Christians in congress pushing for the death sentence for homosexuals. Our nation should not war against either minority.

I am not anti war either. I will kill to defend this country, my home, and my life.

Tiny said...

Tiny trusts our president to make the best possible decision with the information he has garnered from the ones he needs to in order to understand the situation in Afghanistan. As much as Tiny detests the lost and mangled lives of our young people, she is keenly aware that President Obama is not the one who sent them to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Tiny will listen to our president speak tonight and then access the information he provides. She does not believe he will follow in the footsteps of GWB. That his decision will be based on winning a peace with the people and bringing our young people home. Shall we wait and see what the man has decided and why?

Frodo, puttin' Mick to bed, said...

There are clouds aloft, portending rain on the morrow. Were it colder, it would be snow.

There are, after all, things for which we need be grateful.

B.J. said...

Oh, Hobbit, don’t get me excited. It’s cold enough up the road from the Shire – mountain weather, you know.

I got the full text of Obama’s address on the New York Times as soon as he was finished, and I have just now finished reading all 14 pages of it at 10:56 p.m. EDT. Needless to say, it wears me (and my vision) out to read so much at one sitting.

But, I’m glad I did. I noted that Obama made some points I made within my post. I liked his commitment to balancing our programs at home. I liked very much his truism that we cannot keep spending untold amounts on war. Most of all, I liked the moral core of his message.

I honestly believe there are those who do not comprehend what a threat the al Qaeda network – not, it’s not a network, it’s a movement – really is. Perhaps it’s even more important than stopping the senseless killing to stop the corruption of Muslim youth. All 19 Saudis in the 9/11 attacks were highly educated and from well-to-do families. Yet, they were lured by radical cells in certain mosques, then found their way to bin Laden in Afghanistan where these bright young men were convinced that suicide would transport them to Allah where sex with those 72 or 73 vigins would be waiting.

This is what religious extremism can do to the human mind. Such a waste of 19 lives. Such a waste of 2,973 lives.

Just thinking at the keyboard. Going to bed and hoping for snow!

BJ

Tiny said...

What a difference a leader makes! As Tiny listened to our president then read the transcript during his replay on CNN, she was very impressed with his sincerity and his moral compass. No cute remarks to bolster his ego, just down to earth, passionate, well thought out directions for leadership for our country, our military, and our relationships with our friends around the world.

Can anyone argue with 43 countries in agreement on ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing our troops home? Not just our young people in harms way, but those from other countries also.

He gave three core elements of our strategy in bringing about an end of the conflict and balancing that with our economic problems here at home. "No more blank checks" was music to our ears. Everyone has to pull their fair share reminds Tiny of the Biblical quote, "God helps those who help themselves."

President Obama appears to be operating with that same principle in both Iraq and Afghanistan when he stated, "As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responaibility, our means, or our interests." That, to Tiny, is being a responsible leader. And his efforts to bring back the balance between our national security and economy.

He has Tiny's support in moving forward with the plans he laid out this evening. May all the good Powers of the Universe be with him, our military, our nation of people and all people of the world working toward living in peace and harmony with our fellow human beings.

The Shire and Carolina mountains aren't the only places shivering tonight. We are getting liquid sunshine, in the Sunshine State, along with cold wind and very low temperatures. Tiny's fireplace was lit early this morning along with the vaporizer to put a bit of moisture back in the inside air.

Everyone look to a better future and help bring it into being.

B.J. said...

An excellent assessment, Tiny. You noted two striking points: balancing our programs at home with our war efforts and, essentially, realizing the limitations of our treasury.

Tiny said...

Thanks BJ. After hard downpour all night, Tiny is in an area under tornado watch and flooding in our three surrounding counties. Just listened to them give the names of about all the streets flooded in her area. School buses are still running, but many children aren't going to be able to get to the bus. Schools should be closed today. Tiny hopes this will subside before we have our book signing Friday evening.

B.J. said...

This is a little off the post point, but send me the link for your book, Tiny. I’m sure some of us love Southern writers!. Raining cats and dogs here, too. I’ve been here on God’s Little Acre for 24 years, and I don’t ever recall so much rain over a period of time. I hope this takes care of the drought South Carolina has been in since the early 1980s.

Falzone for America said...

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2009124902/imperial-blues-0

But Afghanistan comes first?

President Obama made the best possible case for dispatching more troops to Afghanistan last night. But his speech left me with a haunting foreboding. Surely this is the way that great imperial powers decline. Their soldiers police the ends of the earth. There is always another enemy, always a threat—sometimes imagined, often real—that must be faced. And meanwhile, the productive economy declines, the rich live increasingly off investments abroad, the poor depend on public sustenance, the middle declines. No battle is so costly that it cannot be afforded; no battle so unimportant that the nation must not be mobilized. The soldiers become professionals, "volunteers" in our terms. The institutions of the Republic—the Congress, the Senate—are scorned, often deservedly so. The executive decides the questions of war and peace. The secret state expands. The country finds itself constantly at war. New presidents inherit the wars of their predecessors. They are faced not with deciding to go to war, but whether to accept defeat in one already in progress.

Tiny said...

Tiny thinks Falzone for America might read something positive for a change, like:

90 Accomplishments of Pres. Obama Which The Media Fails to Report....

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/11/19/805925/-90-Accomplishments-of-Pres.-Obama-Which-The-Media-Fails-to-Report

Be the change you want to see!