afghanistan -war on terror advantage - - ENDI 2010

afghanistan -war on terror advantage - - ENDI 2010 - Obama...

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Obama is no different from Bush – his methods in Afghanistan are only a continuation of The War on  Terror Cohen 10  ( Michael A.,  senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, where he directs the Privatization of Foreign Policy  Initiative, “No-Win Policy for Afghanistan,” Dissent, Volume 57, Number 2, Spring 2010) Yet when Barack Obama delivered a major speech on the topic at West Point in December, he was not there to claim victory but to make the case for why the United States should stay longer in Afghanistan and actually increase its military presence. The president's announcement that thirty thousand more troops would be deployed to Afghanistan meant the U.S. military footprint would rise to nearly one hundred thousand— all this to face a Taliban insurgency that by some estimates totals around twenty thousand core fighters and an al Qaeda organization in Pakistan that counts perhaps two hundred key operatives. For a war with clear links to a post 9/11 world,     it was not surprising that     Obama's remarks featured many of the same rhetorical tricks so often utilized in the Bush years . There was the scary imagery of September 11, 2001; the agitated warnings about the risks of an al Qaeda return to Afghanistan; vague platitudes about the need for resoluteness in the face of terrorist threats; and above all, meager specifics on how the latest U.S. policy shift would turn the tide of battle . Obama's speech, rather than clarifying America's new approach in Afghanistan, revealed a glaring discrepancy between the ambitions of U.S. leaders, the capabilities of its military, and the increasingly divergent interests of its partners in the region . What is needed in Afghanistan is not a radically new approach, but a more modest one , one that recognizes the limitations of U.S. power and the constraints that all counterinsurgencies face . Only by recognizing these limitations can the United States hope to put in place a policy that will safeguard U.S. interests and stabilize Afghanistan. During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama obliquely referred to Afghanistan as the "good war ," (in stark contrast to the "bad war" in Iraq ). He pledged to increase attention to the conflict , which he claimed was ground zero in the fight against al Qaeda. Missing from Obama's rhetoric was a clear strategic rationale for escalation . Although there is no doubt that the Taliban insurgency has gathered steam since 2006, it is less clear that the United States has direct interests in stabilizing the country (not to mention the capabilities for doing so). Al Qaeda has not maintained any serious presence in Afghanistan since 2002 ; and across the jihadist blogosphere, there are growing signs that the Taliban and al Qaeda are not as closely allied as they were before 9/11 . Indeed, a relatively similar phenomenon took hold in Iraq in 2006 when the global jihadist goals of al Qaeda-in-Iraq ran headfirst into the more local concerns of Iraqi Sunnis. War on terror kills human rights -- Othering makes everyone expendable. Dehumanization sets no 
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This note was uploaded on 02/23/2012 for the course DEBATE 101 taught by Professor None during the Spring '12 term at Berkeley.

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afghanistan -war on terror advantage - - ENDI 2010 - Obama...

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