Via Weasel Zippers, an Obama accomplishment that SNL forgot: He can make “principled” anti-war activists roll over like the good little puppies they are. If the rumors are true about Biden spearheading a movement inside the administration to scale back in Afghanistan, then we’ve actually reached the point where Code Pink is more hawkish than the vice president of the United States.
Two fun questions to ponder as you read. One: How are the boldfaced comments below any different from what Iraqi government ministers said for years about a U.S. pullout there? And two: What would the recent sober, restrained media coverage of whether to escalate in Afghanistan have looked like under President McCain?
Though Afghans have their grievances against the international troops’ presence, chief among them civilian casualties, many fear an abrupt departure would create a dangerous security vacuum to be filled by predatory and rapacious militias. Many women, primary victims of such groups in the past, are adamant that international troops stay until a sufficient number of local forces are trained and the rule of law established.
During their weeklong visit here, in which they met with government officials, politicians, ministers, women activists, and civil society groups, the small team of Code Pink members had hoped to gather evidence to bolster their call for US troop withdrawal within two years, and capitalize on growing anxiety back home about the war.
While the group hasn’t dropped its call for a pullout, the visit convinced them that setting a deadline isn’t in Afghanistan’s interests, say Ms. Benjamin and fellow cofounder Jodie Evans.
“We would leave with the same parameters of an exit strategy but we might perhaps be more flexible about a timeline,” says Benjamin. “That’s where we have opened ourselves, being here, to some other possibilities. We have been feeling a sense of fear of the people of the return of the Taliban. So many people are saying that, ‘If the US troops left the country, would collapse. We’d go into civil war.’ A palpable sense of fear that is making us start to reconsider that.”
These are the same people who had to be dragged out of Petraeus’s hearing before Congress in 2006 for screaming about the “lies” he was telling about counterinsurgency. Tangentially related exit question: The Journal’s got a nice piece today about how the entire West Wing is into a book called “Lessons in Disaster” describing how Lyndon Johnson was “marched into an escalating war by a military viewing the conflict too narrowly to see the perils ahead.” How come our lord and savior didn’t think to read that before he spent two years on the trail grandstanding about “the necessary war”?