Thursday, May 21, 2009

Escalation times six

Tom Engelhardt at TomDispatch does his usual excellent job in describing Obama's six-fold escalation in the AfPak war.

But I think his best point is the following:
For those old enough to remember, we've been here before. Administrations that start down a path of expansion in such a war find themselves strangely locked in -- psychically, if nothing else -- if things don't work out as expected and the situation continues to deteriorate. In Vietnam, the result was escalation without end. President Obama and his foreign policy team now seem locked into an expanding war. Despite the fact that the application of force has not only failed for years, but actually fed that expansion, they also seem to be locked into a policy of applying ever greater force, with the goal of, as the Post's Ignatius puts it, cracking the "Taliban coalition" and bringing elements of it to the bargaining table.
From being the backwater in the ex-GWOT, and now the forefront of the OCO, AfPak has all the elements of a really long war. US troop levels for Afghanistan are going to hit 68,000 this year, and you can bet the generals are planning a another increase even as we blog. The new Camp Leatherneck is said to be for at least 8,000 troops in the aptly named 'Desert of Death'. Expect it to grow. From there its only a hop, skip and a jump to Quetta, in Pakistan, where Mullah Omar is said to hang out.

Meanwhile, the other side of the AfPak war, that is Pakistan, continues to create refugees in the hundreds of thousands. Zardari is taking the new billions he's been promised seriously, and has unleashed the kind of war that reminds one of Gen. Sherman and his march to the sea. So far the Taliban have been taking their lumps and the Pakistani press is all rah-rah. We predict the enlargement of that theater into the heart of Pakistan in the near future. Let's see how rah-rah they are when that happens.


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