27 October 2009

In defense of dithering

Former Vice President Dick Cheney (emphasis on "Vice") recently criticized President Obama for allegedly "dithering" on Afghanistan, since Obama did not immediately jump to send additional troops there when General McChrystal asked for them.

I, however, contend that there is something to be said for dithering. Sending more troops into harm's way should not be an easy decision made quickly without a lot of thought -- particularly when it's not a defensive move but rather more of an offensive one. After all, with al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan and now in western Pakistan and in cells around the world, Afghanistan itself presents no real threat to U.S. homeland security right now. Any purpose we could possibly serve by staying there -- or, worse, escalating our presence there -- would likely accomplish little more than to assuage our guilt per the Pottery Barn rule of war -- we broke it, we bought it.

So please dither, Mr. President. Dither all you need to.

After all, Bush and Cheney should have done a lot more dithering back in 2003, before deflecting our attention and our troops away from Afghanistan and into Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, had no weapons of mass destruction, and posed no threat to the U.S.

And what did their oh-so-quick-and-decisive action get us? 4,351 dead U.S. troops as of this writing, plus 31,536 wounded, plus countless dead and wounded civilian Iraqi men, women, and children, plus almost a trillion wasted dollars from our treasury.

And all because they refused to dither long enough to consider all the consequences of their bloodlust, their oil thirst, and the easy war profiteering of their corporate bedpartners (hi, Halliburton).

Or maybe they just never really cared.

Thank you, President Obama, for dithering on Afghanistan. Take your time. Too many lives hang in the balance.

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