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Forum LockedDan Simmons on the Iraq/Middle East Situation

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breezit View Drop Down
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    Posted: July/15/2007 at 8:02pm
Interesting stuff, I didn't know Simmons was that conservative, I got this from his message board:

I hear this "if Bush had focused on Afghanistan and finished the job there" line all the time and haven't the foggiest clue as to what it means.

The U.S. kicked the Taliban out, secured the nation, instituted international conferences and organizations in collaboration with the EU, the UN, Russia, and even Iran to stabilize the nation, helped them draft a constitution, created the first functioning civil government there in the entire history of the region, oversaw free elections, supported Karzai's government and allowed it to survive birth pangs in a region with no history of democracy or civil gov't whatsoever, got NATO involved in the internal security and defense of the nation . . . what on Earth would "focusing on Afghanistan and finishing the job there" mean?

This is boilerplate far Democratic-left doubletalk. What it means is "Invading Afghanistan was all right, taking Saddam out wasn't." We're not failing in Afghanistan because of the chaos in Iraq. We're not failing in Afghanistan, period. The resurgence of the Taliban and violence there has everything to do with internal (and eternal) Afghan politics and ancient hatreds -- not to mention the opium trade -- as much as it has to do with Pakistan's inability to patrol its border or to eliminate the Taliban and al-Qaeda strongpoints in its wilder provinces. As long as those enemy sanctuaries continue to be allowed to exist by whoever rules Pakistan (or not eliminated by American or NATO airpower and combat teams), Afghanistan will not be secure.

Criticizing Bush's Iraq policy is one thing, but the "if he'd only focused on Afghanistan" argument is specious and silly. (Does anyone really think that the 130,000+ troops now in Iraq would have been deployed to Afghanistan for any useful purpose?)

No one here has really dealt with the pathetic and terrible reality -- but still a reality -- that one of the planet's foulest dictators WAS deposed, that one of the craziest and most aggressive nations in the volatile Mideast WAS eliminated as a threat to its neighbors, and that the people there really WERE presented with a real chance to establish a democracy and a civil society, only to throw it all away. They -- or at least enough of them to speak for the majority -- chose not to live in a free and post-feudal society. They preferred to slaughter their enemies and drag them limbless through the streets rather than do the hard work of subordinating clan hatred and local and personal greed for the good of their nation, future, and children.

If history does treat George W. Bush as a failure -- as well it might -- it is far more likely that he will be judged a failure for thinking too highly of people in the Mideast . . . of actually BELIEVING that an oppressed people liberated and given the chance of a free, sane, and civil society (that option purchased through the blood of American soldiers and paid for by American citizens)would actually discipline themselves and wean themselves away from their long history of senseless barbarism long enough to seize the opportunity never before given to any Arab state or culture. They did not. They chose continued slaughter. Now we all pay for that choice.

"If he'd focused on Afghanistan" may scan on Moveon.org blogs, but it doesn't make sense to anyone interested in the reality of the situation either in the Mideast and in our own political debate. History already knows better than that. It's just so much partisan noise.

DS



"In the real world as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems. Dean Koontz

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WhiteWolf View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WhiteWolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/16/2007 at 2:48pm
Thanks, breezit. I like Dan Simmons more and more all the time. He makes perfect sense here, and I feel the same way.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote christophersnow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: July/20/2007 at 4:41pm
I've always laughed at the "if he'd only focused on Afghanistan" bit.
"It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing." - Howard Roark
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote breezit Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/12/2007 at 8:00am
Interesting article in the NY Times today about how we've lost Afghanistan due to diverting resources to the war in Iraq.
"In the real world as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems. Dean Koontz

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote WhiteWolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August/12/2007 at 8:31am
Rubbish. But it isn't surprising to hear the people at NYT talking about "losing" all the damn time. And I doubt you can call it "interesting" in any way other than what Simmons refers to in the article above; anyone who says we should focus on Afghanistan or that we are "losing there" just don't know what they are talking about or they are so lost in their own agenda that they are blatantly ignoring facts.
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