Is Obama making the same mistakes in war as Bush?
The Daily Collegian
University of Massachusetts–Amherst
Matthew Robare says that President Obama has not delivered “hope” or “change” in foreign policy, as he promised. Robare is correct: Obama has not distinguished himself from Bush on the war.
Obama repeats Bush’s mistake, not because he is party to some imperialist conspiracy, but because he assumes that to stop Afghanistan from serving as a staging ground for future terrorist attacks, we must build and secure the Afghan nation. He believes that to win the “hearts and minds” of the Afghan people, we must offer them infrastructure and jobs, security and “democracy.” To achieve this, our soldiers must risk their own lives to ensure that Afghan civilians are never harmed.
Obama repeats Bush’s mistake because he assumes that we have an obligation to secure prosperity and freedom for Afghans who have never sought to earn either for themselves, and that our troops should die to deliver this unearned gift.
The rationalization for this suicidal policy is that by enacting it, we maintain our own security. But do we need to build an entire distant nation to prevent terrorist attacks that might originate on its soil? And since when do we pacify our enemies by paying tribute to them?
Thomas Jefferson and James Madison knew better. When Barbary Pirates threatened American sailors, Jefferson and Madison were determined not to pay tribute. The alternative was not to perpetually occupy Tripoli and Algiers and “rebuild” their infrastructure. Instead the United States overwhelmingly retaliated against the capitals of the Barbary
states, and threatened to do so again if more attacks ever originated from their soil. After 1815, American sailors were safe.
Both Obama and Bush could learn from the giants who preceded them.
Photo by The U.S. Army on Flickr