What are we to make of Obama’s eagerness to amp up the death pit of Afghanistan, which foreign-policy-wise was America’s aboriginal Iraq? Historians know that the idea of “winning” there is a joke. No colonial power has ever come close. Over the centuries, all of the expensive attenuated military attempts to steal the Silk Road away from its native defenders have ended in humiliation for prouder empires than our own. Each had to drag their sorry asses and state-of-the-art armaments home with their tails between their legs. Most recently, the worn-down Russian army was so weakened after its brutal fumbling in Afghanistan that a mere puff of wind knocked over its Cold War power structure a few years after they scuttled out in defeat.
One can visualize the bescarved mujahadeen grinning incredulously as they watch from their mountaintops as yet another idiot superpower unloads its clueless troops into the dusty valley below.
And to what end? To fight the evil Taliban (whom, true to form, Uncle Sam once befriended and armed)? To find Osama? To root out al Qaeda from every nook and cranny of the torturous Afghan topography? Come on. It’s difficult to imagine that the young GIs being helicoptered in to this desolate terrain believe in any of these official stories. And it’s downright impossible to imagine that a man as well-informed as Obama believes in them. Which really begs a lot of questions, if the American people could remember how to ask them.
During the long years of the Bush nightmare, the US populace was too browbeaten and shut-down to muster up the curiosity to wonder about Washington’s true motives in Afghanistan. Now, with many newly-engaged citizens all agog with Obamaphilia, it remains to be seen whether Americans’ curiosity will return… or whether their critical thinking is still in abeyance for opposite but equally dangerous reasons: from hero-worship of a new commander-in-chief who they assume can do no wrong.