National unity? Count me out. | Wis.Community

National unity? Count me out.

I listened to President Obama Tuesday night.

I heard: This is not another Vietnam. These are different circumstances, and there will be a different outcome.

I'd like to believe that, but I don’t.

It looks too much like Vietnam, when another liberal Democratic president got talked into a war we couldn’t win.   

I heard: this is going to be the shortest surge in history. In 18 months, the troops will start coming home.

I'd like to believe that, but I don’t.

I don't think Obama's lying to us. He's lying to himself. It's wishful thinking, based on what he’s heard from the same old “experts” -- Robert Gates, David Petraeus, and more -- that George Bush was listening to a year ago.

Obama has Joe Biden, not Dick Cheney, and Biden's pressed for a different course in Afghanistan. But Bush listened to Cheney.

Congress does still have a voice in this, however irrelevant that may seem. Russ Feingold has spoken out strongly. So has Tammy Baldwin. Dave Obey says we can’t afford this war.

But my Congresswoman Gwen Moore, who's been great on Iraq, and speaks at our peace rallies, is not yet with us on Afghanistan. She is worried, understandably, about what will happen to Afghan women if the Taliban end up in control.

I worry about that, too. But I also wonder how many Afghan civilians – men, women and children – will suffer and die if we send 30,000 more troops into their country. We can’t impose our values and enforce human rights at gunpoint – and we shouldn’t even if we could. Obama, by the way, didn't even mention the women's issue in his speech.

I also heard: This should have a time of national unity, like after 9/11 when everyone was waving flags and couldn’t wait to invade someplace.

To that, all I can say to President Obama is: Count. me. Out.

We need another kind of national unity, for people to come together to say enough is enough. Let’s not wait 18 months, let’s start bringing them home next year – and not send any more.

We got movement on Iraq, even from Bush, when 70% agreed it was time to end that war. That’s what we need to do again, to build that kind of consensus on Afghanistan.

Ready to get started? I am.


December 4, 2009 - 4:03pm