2009/11/16

Open letter to a columnist

Re: "Enough Afghan debate" by David Broder WaPo Nov 15

In going over the various options for Afghanistan, David Broder claims that President Obama has "stretched the internal debate to the breaking point." What? What is Broder talking about? What exactly is threatening to "break?" America has a bunch of crazy warmongers who want action NOW and the majority of the population that sees no point in staying any longer and feels that we should leave Afghanistan to those who live there.

"Given that reality, the urgent necessity is to make a decision -- whether or not it is right." This is a completely insane idea, that we need to approach life and death decisions in any sort of hurry or that there's any urgency to the decision. The Taliban are native to Afghanistan and represent a substantial portion of the population there. Al Qaeda is neither here nor there in this debate as the Taliban are angry with al Qaeda, blaming al Qaeda for the Taliban's loss of power in the first place.

Broder claims US allies are "waiting impatiently." Sorry to hear that, but there's still no obvious reason as to why the US needs to rush pell-mell into a decision. After the many, many years that the US has had troops in Afghanistan without any clear strategy or direction, one would think that our allies could cool their jets a bit and help US official figure out just what we can reasonably hope to accomplish there.

Broder has no effective answer to Karl Eikenberry's very sensible and obviously-accurate objection to delving deeper into Afghanistan, that Hamid Karzai is "too weak and corrupt to govern the country effectively." Broder doesn't even try to come up with any real answer to the objection of progressives, that General McChrystal can't suggest any way to really end the war in Afghanistan other than by simply leaving.

As the "dithering" talking point was clearly taken directly from the poisoned pen of Karl Rove, Broder should at least credit his source for his article and admit that the "dead-enders" of the failed neoconservative movement are the people behind this column.

A good leader is not someone who simply stays the course because that's the course he's on. A truly good leader is someone who takes a thoughtful approach to problems and who thinks "Do we really need to do it this way?" I am 100% in favor of Obama's more careful, thoughtful approach and urge that Broder's advice be rejected entirely.

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