January 3, 2010
BY DAWN ORTIZ-LEGG
It has been a month since our new President made his expected announcement of troop increases for Afghanistan, yet it seems our country (and world) is farther from security and stability than when you-know-who was in office!
Daily bombs obliterate civilians, domestic threats at home, and news of more US personnel deaths. It is a mess and general chaos reigns in those “far away places” that Obama says are making our lives insecure here.
Well, Mr. President, how about our influence over there which make their lives insecure?
For me, this was the most disappointing aspect of the President’s flowing oratory on why we had to send more young Americans into a hopeless mêlée.
It was sickening to hear Obama use the same dichotomous rhetoric of good and evil, which seems to have been transfused into the DNA of US reasoning since the Cold War began.
Whether you understand counter-insurgency (COIN) tactics promoted by the experts or the pundits call for targeting specific countries (latest being Iran and Yemen) – the plans put forth by this Administration have already been proven futile, expensive and bewildering to any logically minded person.
The only clarity that came from this speech I can see is:
1. Obama’s foreign policy allows Americans to see that no matter if it is Democrats or Republicans in charge – our country is hell bent on military operations as solution in whatever hopeless foreign interventions we are told are necessary. Most unfortunate, but this is who we are.
2. U.S. overt and covert actions for the past 60 years have fueled, if not instigated radicalization, instability and hostile responses. Knowing the history of US operative actions in Pakistan and Iran provide evidence for this statement. There are many more I can list if you want.
3. As I wrote back in February 2009; US national security is a business plan for the Pentagon and those who fed quite handsomely from it – and no President, Congress person or peace activist is going to change it until the money is all gone.
4. Finally, America does not want to hear straight talk about how to shift gears and stop wasting time, money and lives on a “war” that it will never ever win.
What I mean is this: since the 9-11 tragedy, what U.S. leader has truly asked and listens for answers to the simple question “what exactly is your beef?”
Oh yes, there are hundreds, if not thousands of books clamoring about clash of civilizations, religious Armageddons and the like. What a boon for publishers and authors alike. But there are never any real answers provided other than kill everyone that doesn’t agree with you.
In my estimation, this would be a lot easier if could be a little more frank and direct as the comments of independent journalist Nir Rosen reflect after he listened to Obama’s Afghanistan speech.
“I would have at least liked to hear the words Kashmir and Palestine. If we are talking about Al Qaeda and the whole reason for why we are in Afghanistan allegedly is this threat from Al Qaeda which has been severely exaggerated, then at least understand their motives. Their chief motives are the Indian occupation of Kashmir, the Israeli and American backed occupation of Palestine. These are the motives. If your goal is to weaken Al Qaeda, understand their motives, address their grievances. This is not some James Bond villain the wants to attack the U.S. for no reason. These people who have grievances, the same grievances that have been troubling people around the world for decades.”
Rosen lays out the essential “beefs” but of course, critics will write and say it isn’t that simple. Well, what if it was? We have done the other route and it is not working. Can we not at least try something else for a change?
I know one thing – the rest of the world is going ahead without us, technologically, environmentally, financially and strategically. My next blog will address the loss opportunity of U.S. global leadership by continuing on this losing path.
If we don’t change gears soon, it is going to be a lonely road ahead.
Dawn Ortiz-Legg is a political activist and member of the San Luis Obispo chapter of Code Pink.
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