The Who2 Blog

Obama, Sherlock Holmes, and Afghanistan

Today’s Mike Lupica column expresses exactly how I feel about sending more troops to Afghanistan.

You know when we are going to be out of Afghanistan, where the United States has become just one more losing road team? Sometime around the 12th of Never. The more who die there, the more we send over. This is Obama‘s surge, just without him calling it that, because that would make him sound too much like the big war President before him.

Obama’s critics on the right aren’t doing this to him, neither are career draft dodgers like Dick Cheney. The change candidate becomes just another President telling us that if we lose Afghanistan then there goes Pakistan next, and after that, look out, Minneapolis.

Perhaps President Obama can convince me on Tuesday night that it’s somehow a smart choice, sending 30,000 more Americans to get picked off in Afghanistan. But I sure don’t see the “why” of it from here.

Even with the “why,” I don’t see the “how.” I don’t really believe it’s possible to win in Afghanistan, if “win” means “controlling the country in some manner by force.” Who has in the past? Didn’t we just get done chuckling about the Soviet Union’s dismal failure there? Didn’t anyone in the White House at least read or watch Charlie Wilson’s War? Were they too distracted by Amy Adams‘s great legs to notice the part of the movie where the Soviet Army got clobbered?

A few weeks back I was reading through some old Sherlock Holmes stories, where Dr. Watson remarks on the “Jezail bullet” he caught during his stint in Afghanistan with the British Army. (“The Jezail bullet which I had brought back in one of my limbs as a relic of my Afghan campaign throbbed with dull persistence.”) That was written 120 years ago!

In fact, Watson got his bullet in the Second Afghan War (1878-80), which followed the First Afghan War (1839-42), which started 170 full years ago. The British Empire then was as all-powerful as our military is today, and look where it got them. (They went back for a Third Afghan War in 1919, just for laughs.)

Wars of occupation in Afghanistan just don’t go over very well. It’s not a good fact or a bad fact — it is just a fact.

We should have nabbed Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan when we had the chance. We didn’t. It won’t help throwing 30,000 or 100,000 more troops into an occupied country now.

I’d like to trust President Obama. I’d like to believe he knows far more about world affairs and has much more inside information than I do. I really would. But this just seems nuts. It’s two big scoops of 98% butterfat krazy. It leaves me feeling pretty hopeless.

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