Juan Cole · President Obama

Will Afghanistan Become Obama’s “Waterloo”?

I am a supporter of President Obama’s policies that work.   I oppose those policies that appear to be destined for failure.  Obama’s Afghanistan policies appear to be heading for the latter.

Juan Cole articulates my feelings on this:

Serial Catastrophes in Afghanistan threaten Obama Policy

You probably won’t see it in most US news outlets, but on Monday morning in Kabul and Jalalabad, hundreds of university students demonstrated against US strikes this weekend that allegedly killed a number of civilians. I want to underline the irony that the students in Tehran University are protesting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while students in these two Afghan cities are calling for Yankees to go home. Nangarhar University in Jalalabad only has a student body of about 3200, so ‘hundreds’ of students protesting there would be a significant proportion of the student body.

The demonstrations could be a harbinger of things to come, but there was worse news. CIA field officers blown up, four US troops killed Sunday, and the rejection of most of the cabinet nominees by parliament, all signal rocky times ahead.


First, the US military launched a raid in Kunar Province two days after Christmas on a village at night, in which President Hamid Karzai alleged that 10 civilians, some 8 of them schoolchildren, had been killed (some say dragged out of their beds and executed). The NYT reported the head of a Kabul delegation to the village saying,“They gathered eight school students from two compounds and put them in one room and shot them with small arms.” (The spokesman is a former governor of Kunar and now a close adviser to President Hamid Karzai– i.e. not exactly a pro-Taliban source). The charitable theory is that in a nighttime raid, US troops got disoriented and hit the wrong group of young men.

These sorts of atrocities will only further  encourage terrorist attacks against the United States and it’s “interests”. 

Coming from a background where my political awareness manifested itself in the 60’s and 70’s I can’t believe I am talking about ‘American Interests’.  Back then,  that term  implied Corporate interests and as far as I was concerned THEY were the enemy.  I still see corporations as the enemy.   The “interests” I speak of are our military men and women based around the world.

What we do overseas has a direct impact on the rise or decline of terrorism.   The Obama administration should look at its actions in the middle east and analyze the direct correlation between our negative actions and the global rise in terrorism.

There has to be a better way to deal with al Qaeda and The Taliban in Afghanistan than the same old “cowboy mentality” that the Bush administration manifested over there for eight years.   We don’t need a continuation of failed policies from the previous administration. 

If President Obama really wants a lasting legacy for his presidency, it may not be health care, but how he handles and concludes the war in Afghanistan.