Cultural Revolutions

Change We Can Laugh At

With the election of Barack Obama, opponents of U.S. intervention abroad were supposed to throw their hats in the air and cheer: The millennium had arrived!  The war in Iraq would end rather shortly, and the Bad Old Days of the Bush-Cheney-neocon Axis of Evil were coming to an end.

So why are we embarking on what promises to be a decades-long occupation of Afghanistan, and what, exactly, are we doing bombing civilians in Pakistan’s tribal areas?

The official rationale is that Al Qaeda has established base camps in the region and is “plotting attacks against the United States” from its “safe havens.”  Yet what sort of “haven” is required to plot an attack?  Do the terrorists really require the thousands of squares miles of Pakistan’s tribal region to plot and scheme?  The September 11 attacks were planned in apartments in Hamburg and on the Atlantic coast of Florida, where the hijackers lived for a time.  By this sort of presidential “logic,” we should be taking on the Germans and bombing the Sunshine State.

Obama’s justification for the war is that the Afghans, under the Taliban, hosted Osama bin Laden and his allies—eight years ago.  Yet Bin Laden is long gone, and he may not even be alive.  Moreover, the Taliban are out of power, and they aren’t a unitary group anyway.  Are we really going to occupy that country for...

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