Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Shoes I Don't Want to be in? . . .

. . . are Barack Obama's, because while his health-reform program is being veg-o-maticed here at home, the situation in foreign policy is swirling the bowl. To wit,
1. Iraq is starting to reach a new crisis point, in the wake of today's disastrous bombings in the heart of Baghdad's government district (and couple that with Gen. Odierno's expressed desire to insert US troops in Iraq's north in order to keep Arab Iraqi troops and Kurdish pesh merga from tearing into each other);
2. more US soldiers are being killed in Afghanistan - 6 more today;
3. the public seems to have turned against that war (according to the most recent poll), and
4. tomorrow's presidential election in Afghanistan promises to be (1) bloody and (2) perhaps fatally flawed, especially if Taliban intimidation prevents too many from getting to the polls. And beyond that, serious allegations of fraud are in the air. Moreover, the favorite in the presidential election is the incumbent, Hamid Karzai, whose government is notoriously corrupt, and who recently has attempted to boost his chances by bringing on-board a warlord, Mr. Dostum, whose atrocities and human rights abuses are legend.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials are dissing Mr. Obama, and Mike Huckabee seems to have launched his 2012 presidential run by giving speeches in Israel trashing Obama's stance on Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The "Surge" in Iraq did not work, and US troops are going to be withdrawing from a country whose ruin was caused by their invasion (for which, of course, we can't blame them. This one's on Boy George's tab.) and will likely deepen after they're gone. And, of course, count on the Republican machine to blame Obama for "losing Iraq" (because, you know, the Surge was working! We'd won! Then those pusillanimous Democrats messed it up!)

A US military victory in Afghanistan is not possible now, and probably never would have been, even if Bush hadn't digressed into Iraq. But you can see the start of a full-court press (by, among others, John McCain - who wants to double the number of Marine battalions in Helmand from three to six - no surprise there, of course) on Obama to insert more US troops.

Vietnam, anyone?

I think we're fast approaching the point where Obama may need to hit the "reset" button.

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