Michael Steele is Right About the War in Afghanistan

And no one in the Republican party wants to admit it:

Top Senate Republicans on Sunday stopped short of asking Michael Steele to resign for his suggestion last week that the war in Afghanistan could not be won, seeming to signal that the ever-embattled Republican National Committee chairman will survive his latest self-inflicted wound.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman, the Connecticut independent who caucuses with Republicans on most foreign policy issues, all harshly criticized Steele during appearances on Sunday’s talk shows – but none of them joined the chorus of Republican foreign policy hawks demanding that Steele step down.

Steele has survived previous flaps ranging from ill-advised criticism of Rush Limbaugh all the way to approving a $2,000 expense at a bondage-themed strip club. At a fundraiser Thursday, he said that “everyone who has tried over a thousand years of history has failed [to win in Afghanistan], and there are reasons for that,” and called the conflict, approaching its ninth year, “a war of Obama’s choosing.”

I can’t say that Steele is the optimal chairman of the party, but he’s right on this one, and the “hawks” need to face reality.  Afghanistan has been a graveyard of military reputations for a lone time, and our overrestrictive rules of engagement (which have been developed, in part, by our military brass) only make matters worse.

Besides, it’s patently absurd to expect a President with the intellectual heritage that Barack Obama has to properly conduct a war of any kind.  If we want a President to properly lead our military, we need a different one altogether.  The GOP needs to work towards that end and quit criticising its chairman for stating the obvious.  But stating the obvious is the quickest way to get into trouble in American politics.

One thought on “Michael Steele is Right About the War in Afghanistan”

  1. Don,

    Your plaint about the US Forces’ Rules of Engagement seems to be a direct echo of those of Reverend Sun Myun Moon’s Washington fishwrap at the time.

    You are perhaps not aware of the crimes committed by Canadian troops, who operated under rules that the Reverend might have approved of. Several are now serving long sentences, though on Army bases, not in the grim prisons.

    My own view is that American Rules have done a small amount of good — particularly in allowing the natural generosity of some troops, plus America’s wealth, to do some good.

    I’ve liked most American soldiers I’ve known, and but I don’t have much use for the US enlisted man as a force. The officer corps are almost entirely superb, though slightly infected with political insanity, but the human material they have to work with is, well, flawed. (That the insanity is as minuscule as it is, despite the great loudness of the various fools, blowhards and cranks hard at work among the public, is strong evidence of the basic good sense and decency of the American timber. And timbre.)

    American air power has been only marginally, and only occasionally, useful from a military point of view, thrilling though it has been for the home audience.

    If President Obama had been President in 1960, the US might have had some small chance in Vietnam. Then again he might have recognised that the Bien Hoa Raid of 1962 was a sign that the FLN ruled the country as much then as the Northern CP were to do eleven years and more than a million deaths later — after we had conveniently murdered the FLN for them and cleared their way.

    -dlj.

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