I am writing this as we await President Trump’s speech to the nation about his strategy for America’s longest war, Afghanistan. I am not sure the conflict in Afghanistan can be called a war as Congress never declared war. The declaration of war is Congress’s constitutional responsibility. Conducting war is the President’s responsibility, not the declaration. If Congress allows the President to conduct strategic military activities without a formal declaration of war, Congress avoids the responsibility of the outcome of the military activity. It also allows the US to withdraw from conflict when the conflict no longer serves their interests without achieving a peace treaty. We don’t need to solve whatever problem we said we were there to solve. Of course, the issue we discussed in Afghanistan was the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York. September 11, 2001, just shy of 16 years ago. I, like most of you, remember it well. I had three young children. I now have three young grandchildren. Osama Bin Ladin is dead. Al Kaida is now a non-entity. So, why are we still in this fight? What is it about this battle that has taken so long? Why is this man that most American’s do not trust going to talk to us about war when thousands have filled the streets in protest and resistance since he took office?
The President has talked about the possibility of turning the safety and security of the US and her allies over to private contractors. Fortunately, the military opposed him, including Secretary of Defense, James Mattis. This morning, Politico published the results of a poll that found that only 20 percent of voters thought that troop levels should be increased in Afghanistan. I know that this decision is not one that the President just woke up with this morning. I do see that the need to switch up the conversation. A week now of discussion and argument about the violence in Charlottesville, VA and he is completely unable to convince America that Civil War monuments are not racist and people marching with Nazis, and the KKK are perfectly lovely people with the best of intentions. We need a crisis to divert the public. I know the eclipse has been exciting. An eclipse is hardly enough to keep people from opposing a racist President. It is not nearly enough to cause people to forget that our President did not have the grace that President George W. Bush had in calling all Americans to care and compassion for all their neighbors as they went about their day shopping. I do know that in her book No is Not Enough, Naomi Klein warned about the President’s need for a crisis event. An event that would divert the protesters from taking real action that would move a progressive agenda. An event would have to be a large increase in the military presence in Afghanistan. I don’t know if the political will is there for that. The problem is that if we are busy fighting a military buildup in the Middle East, we are not fighting devastating tax reform, privatization of our infrastructure, and other features of the far-right agenda that we would not be fighting while we fight a war in the Middle East.
I don’t know what 45 is going to say this evening. My crystal ball is still broken. I don’t anticipate liking it. Almost everything he has said that I thought I liked ended up with a twist that turned out to be bad. This article is not strictly speaking about communication. It is still not the review of the Inconvenient Sequel I just wanted to get some thoughts out there.
So, comment, like, share.
More to come in the next day or two.