T/S and The Hastings Report, one stop shop for war related predictions!

Forget for a second the semi-ironic name of this blog, but I am going to take a moment for self-congratulatory back patting, all in good fun. As Coates pointed out, the intrepid Phil Zabriskie called the exact number of troops President Obama was going to send to Afghanistan a month ago.  Adding my own crystal ball gazing to our gloat, The Hastings Reportsuggested what the President’s decision was likely to be back on Sept. 21:

Meanwhile, we’re heading towards [Obama’s] inevitable cave–Obama is going to do what McChrystal says, I would guess–so talking about the El Salvador Option is perhaps moot.

And even earlier, on May 14th, THR hinted that after McKiernan’s firing and the additional 21,000 troops, we might soon be on our way to 100,000.

Lastly, the Afghanistan Troop Count, per Gates. 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year…with possibly 10,000 more next year…I’m watching the creep towards the 100,000 mark…

We’ll be at 100,000 by next summer. As my grandmother likes to say, even a blind squirrel catches a nut every once and while. And we all know what they say about broken watches.

The bigger picture here is that unlike the cheerleading in the media that led up to the Iraq War, and the popular support the war had, there are now plenty of voices out there who have waved a bunch of red flags. There isn’t popular support this time, either, though that doesn’t seem to matter, which makes you wonder about democracy. And–make no mistake!–what we’re about to do in Afghanistan(what we’ve been heading towards since last January) is essentially embark on a whole new war, or at least a radically new phase of the war. (We’re in fact about to do what the previous administration had explicitly wanted to avoid in Afghanistan–getting bogged down in a quagmire land war in Central Asia. There’s a reason Rummy wanted the Afghan invasion to be done mainly by Special Forces and the Northern Alliance.) The Iraq Surge saw a troop increase of about 25 percent to what had been there before. In Afghanistan, Obama has now signed on for a 100 percent troop increase, if my meager math skills are correct.

Last point: it’s true that Obama had promised during the 2008 campaign to focus more on Afghanistan than Iraq, as Salon’s Alex Koppleman points outin his post on Michael Moore’s now public opposition to the war. But what if Obama’s’08 pitch had been: “I’m going to end the war in Iraq. But don’t mistake that with bringing the troops home. I’m going to send 100,000 or more Americans to Afghanistan to fight for at least for four or five years, possibly another decade.” I would think that his supporters would not have been happy. Had McCain said something like that, or even Hillary, Obama fans would have called them reckless war mongerers. 

Afghanistan seems to be the one campaign promise Obama is willing to go ahead with 100 percent–unlike the inconsistent Gitmo decisions or his watered down health care promises. I think his supporters have a right to be a little miffed. Why is Afghanistan the one “issue” where Obama has not been accomodating or willing to compromise? Strangely, he’s actually pandering to his political opponents and a minority of voters, and doing the exact opposite of what his antiwar base would have liked.

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About michaelhastings

Journalist
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8 Responses to T/S and The Hastings Report, one stop shop for war related predictions!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Michael Hastings - The Hastings Report – T/S and The Hastings Report, one stop shop for war related predictions! - True/Slant -- Topsy.com

  2. libtree09 says:

    I am a long tooth, deja vu all over again.

  3. jayhuerbin says:

    I didn’t like what McCain brought to the table during the last election. I was (am?) actually a pretty big Ron Paul supporter because of his stance on bringing the troops home. I was skeptical of Obama, but made that “mistake” (read: voted for) of thinking that ending the war in Iraq meant the troops would be back in America. It’s a shame what’s happened and every once in a while I like (read: laugh to myself) to hear my anti-war, pro-Obama friends talk about how much better things are without Bush or McCain. But now, even more troops will be sent to war.

    • Michael Hastings says:

      Jay, thanks for your perspective. How is Obama’s support on college campuses these days?

      Yes, I think with a decision like this Obama is laying the ground work for a circa 2000 Nader or Paul kind of third party run in 2012.

      • jayhuerbin says:

        To be honest, Mike, I think a lot of his support has dwindled. At least it’s nothing like it was a months and months leading up to the election. No more Obama shirts. No more Obama pins. No more Obama volunteers shoving voter registration papers down your throat. Its peaceful, but his support has gone down.

        I’d be interested in looking at two national studies: one that looks at Obama’s overall approval rating with the college crowd; and another that looks at whether that crowd agrees with or disagrees with sending more troops to Afghanistan.

  4. Mr. Hastings,

    Mr. Obama inherited the war in Afghanistan but he just added a second story and swimming pool. It is indeed his war now.

    I do not believe that his actually pandering to the right, it is not really clear that the right-wing base of the Republican Party is any more enthused with the war in Afghanistan than is the base of the Democratic Party. I am not saying that re-election politics are not a factor but I do not believe that it is the decisive factor.

    I believe rather that Mr. Obama has bought into the notion that the US needs to maintain political and military hegemony in South-West Asia. His generals and advisers I am sure sat him down and pointed out how strategically important Afghanistan was, how it was located next to Iran, the nations of the former Soviet Union, China, and how it was simply unacceptable to let “The Taliban” control it. The math is pretty simple, it is really not too different from when Alexander the Great or Leonid Brezhnev did it. So long as suzerainty is the goal, it is very difficult to imagine a different solution.

  5. fleetlee says:

    It’s fitting “The Who” are playing the Super Bowl this year- bet they will play “won’t get fooled again” even though it just happened. I think Obama is just afraid of being called soft on terriorists by the GOP if he did what most Americans want him to do “stop making war”.

  6. mastergrb says:

    Obama is not the only one to blame,look at the administration, look at Corporate America.Look back invade Iraq for weapons of mass destruction and wind up trying to control Oil. Invade Asia to stop Communism wound up with Heroin distributers, invaded Central America more DRUGS, Now after Charlie Wilson aided the Afghans we want to fight them. The basic issue stems from GREED. The new U.S.A.( useless Society of A**holes.

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