Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Peace, Afghanistan, Hard Choices

What did you think of Obama's speech in the evening of Tuesday Dec 1, 2009? And the course he has set for Afghanistan?

Here are my thoughts:

0) He is a great speaker and will be recognized as one of our greatest Presidents.

1) Obama is getting us out of Iraq and has a timetable for this (unlike the Republicans).

2) Obama has set a timetable for getting out of Afghanistan even though there is a temporary increase happening. BTW, setting a deadline is often the best way to make sure time is used productively.

3) I'm against war, but sometimes there are compelling reasons to finish what is started as well as to defend ourselves.

4) We are short of money and resources (best to get out as soon as we can).

5) Obama has succeeded in finding a reasonable middle ground regarding Afghanistan and is holding true to steering a moderate course between liberal and conservative extremes -- we need our country working together right now (a strong parallel to Lincoln -- united we stand, divided we fall) (some people on both sides are not completely happy but some on both sides are also getting some of what they want) (BTW, I predicted early on that Obama would be a moderate and he is meeting my expectations).

6) Unlike Iraq, where many were fooled about "weapons of mass destruction", we know for certain that:
a) Pakistan has nuclear weapons
b) India has nuclear weapons
c) The future of Afghanistan and Pakistan and India are tightly intertwined
d) If things go badly in Pakistan, we may face a nuclear war between Pakistan & India as well as supply nuclear weapons to terrorists or lead to use of nuclear weapons in the Middle East
e) Pakistan is pretty fragile right now, serious problems in Afghanistan could also topple Pakistan
Thus there are clear reasons to continue to invest a known quantity of security resources to help Afghanistan and Pakistan move further along the path of mutual stability.

7) I personally do not feel the need to participate in peace demonstrations at this time even though I continue to be a vocal supporter for achieving peace. The world is not a perfect place, and at this time there is still an unfortunate need to use force. That's why we still have police, military, security guards, etc. So I am in the spot of advocating for peace but supporting our President in his choice for us in Afghanistan -- he is the best person and in the best position to make this decision:
- has the right training
- has the right perspective
- has the right background
- has most correct information anyone could possibly have to make such a decision
- has the responsibility to do this as the President of the US and the commander & chief of our military.

I think as good a job as can be done is now being done for Afghanistan and so am focusing my own limited resources elsewhere.

Tim Oey

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