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Nose deep in the big muddy

We all know about stopped clocks. If they can be right twice a day, it stands to reason that Donald Trump can be right once in his life, which actually happened when he opined that we should get the hell out of Afghanistan. It also stands to reason that this rare occurrence couldn’t last, and that while he would not retreat from building walls, destroying health care, or coddling racists, he would likely retreat from the one sane position he advocated (though not all that loudly) during his campaign and even after January 20th.

Many on the left have been slow to criticize the Afghanistan mess because Obama actually ran on pressing the war there and could never bring himself to simply get out. It was probably the fact that Obama stayed in that led Trump to his initial position that we should get out. Trump has a weird fixation on Obama, his jealousy of Obama leads him to want to reverse everything Obama ever did.

It should be obvious that it makes no sense to pursue a war in which no one can even define victory (Tillerson to Taliban: “We may not win, but neither will you”), while at the same time producing material extremists can use to recruit terrorists elsewhere. If we could bomb our way to victory, as Trump seems to imply we will, the Russians would still be there and in control.

So, I find myself in somewhat bizarre company here, as Steve Bannon has already taken up the cudgel against Trump on this one. Hell, even Fared Zakaria has refused to pronounce Trump’s speech “presidential”, as he did the bombing raid on Syria, instead recognizing the corollary of Tillerson’s statement that “Trump just signed on to the forever war”.

This is one of those times that I somewhat regret that we no longer have a draft. The comfortable can safely stay out of harm’s way, so we can prosecute endless and fruitless wars without much blowback. Had we had an all volunteer force in Vietnam, we’d still be there.

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