Friday, July 02, 2010

Michael Steele is Right

Michael Steele said the war in Afghanistan was a war of Obama's choosing and that it was unwinnable. Steele has been resoundingly criticized for his comments.

It's really unfair. We liberals called foul when our opposition to the war in Iraq was called unpatriotic. Steele has added a courageous voice to the discourse on the Afghan war. He should not be shunned. He should be debated.

Obviously, it's short-sided to claim that Obama chose the war in Afghanistan. Some may argue that the Taliban chose the war by harboring al Qaeda even after the attacks of 9/11/01 (although Mullah Omar was still mulling over whether or not to turn in bin Laden when the U.S. invaded). Bush played a significant role in choosing the war. Obama inherited it. But, Obama has chosen to deploy more troops to Afghanistan. Certainly, he has earned some ownership. The Washington Post runs a series called "Obama's War." Obama can't be given a pass for the war's persistence.

I agree with Steele that the war is unwinnable. There is no overarching goal. The plan is to fight the Taliban and hope things work out. American policy continues to dream that Karzai will be able to set up a strong central government, despite the evidence showing its impossibility. The war in Afghanistan is a quagmire without a clear purpose. It sustains because of a vague desire for an elusive retribution. I'm just surprised Michael Steele of all people initiated this much needed perspective.

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