After US President Barack Obama fired his top General in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal for insubordination and appointed General David Petreaus to head the mission there, Andrew Sullivan finds troubling parallels emerging with another intractable quagmire:
Obama’s gamble on somehow turning the vast expanse of that ungovernable “nation” into a stable polity dedicated to fighting Jihadist terror is now as big as Bush’s in Iraq – and as quixotic. It is also, in my view, as ment of resources and young lives that America cannot afford and that cannot succeed. It really is Vietnam – along with the crazier and crazier rationales for continuing it. But it is now re-starting in earnest ten years in, dwarfing Vietnam in scope and longevity.
Make no mistake: this is an imperialism of self-defense, a commitment to civilize even the least tractable culture on earth because Americans are too afraid of the consequences of withdrawal. And its deepest irony is that continuing this struggle will actually increase and multiply the terror threats we face – as it becomes once again a recruitment tool for Jihadists the world over.
This is a war based on fear, premised on a contradiction, and doomed to carry on against reason and resources for the rest of our lives.
Maybe this is why you supported Obama – to see the folly of nation-building extended indefinitely to the least promising wastelands on earth, as the US heads toward late-imperial bankruptcy. It is not a betrayal as such. But it is, in my view, a huge and metastasizing mistake.
I pray that this already great President does not let himself be ensnared by this tragic and never ending war.
(Photo: President Obama leaving the White House Rose Garden after announcing that he had replaced Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. By Win Mcnamee/Getty Images for The New York Times)