The White Antiwar Left Fades Into Quagmire

Retired Col Ann Wright was in Atlanta October 6th speaking on Afghanistan at First Iconium Baptist Church. She outlined what has happened thus far in Afghanistan and gave her views on what the future should hold. The corporate news venue of record in Atlanta, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, ignored the event altogether. Atlanta Progressive News reported that the retired colonel argued for withdrawal. That’s not what I heard .

To be clear, everyone except out and out fascists understands that one day the US Armed Forces will leave Afghanistan. So when we say we argue for withdrawal, without a timetable it is an ‘argument’ without meaning. That is what the colonel offered. And that is what the white antiwar left as a whole is increasingly offering. Alternet, a news organization whose self-proclaimed mission is to inspire action and advocacy for human rights and social justice, is promoting, via one of its senior editors, Joshua Holland, a more sophisticated version of what Col Ann Wright described-the quagmire.

A quagmire is a situation from which it is difficult to extricate oneself. That, according to people like Josh Holland, Ann Wright, Medea Benjaminobama (CodePINK founder) and increasing numbers of the white antiwar left are calling the US occupation of Afghanistan. But take a second and think about what a quagmire is in contrast to the former antiwar demand of immediate withdrawal.

Immediate withdrawal, unlike withdrawal, is not confusing or ambiguous and shrugs off any kind of leeching quagmire analysis. Immediate withdrawal is just that. And quagmire can have nothing to do with immediate withdrawal. But immediate withdrawal increasingly, is not what the white antiwar left is calling for. And as they become more in line with Obama’s liberal/conservative consensus, they are getting attaboys from people like Ralph Lopez, who argue for prolonged backdoor Afghan occupation-we must save Afghan women from the Taliban. Lopez who runs a website called Jobs For Afghans and is a popular blogger at the website that claims to exist to get Democrats elected, DailyKos, writes about how the white peace movement has ‘grows up’. Specifically, grows up means CodePink founder Medea Benjamin is no longer calling for immediate withdrawal but something more sensible that acknowledges our responsibility to the women of Afghanistan under siege by the Taliban. Has anyone forgot about Iraq and how the US Armed Thugs are raping and murdering imprisoned women and children????? Apparently. Lopez is claiming that we need to create jobs in Afghanistan!! Haha, what does he think this is, really?? He refers to the position of immediate withdrawal as anti-imperialist flap.

Lopez and those who agree with him are stooges for Obama and before him, Bush. Lopez may or may not understand this but it doesn’t matter. The position speaks for itself. The corporations making billions off the war and the US planners that need the regional control all want to prolong the military occupation of the region. And this Ralph Lopez-Ann Wright-Medea Benjamin wing of the white antiwar movement has grown up and want to stay as well.

Back to the quagmire. The notion of a quagmire says, it implies rather, that one is caught between a rock and a hard place. Between completing a mission on the one hand and abandoning the mission and leaving on the other. Since when did the white antiwar movement believe the US Armed Thugs actually had a valid mission to complete in Afghanistan? It really has matured, I guess.

And the timing of this maturity couldn’t be better. Obama, this man of peace, this feminist, and also mature, is about to increase the troop levels of US Armed Thugs in Afghanistan. This will allow us to defeat the Taliban/Al Qaeda, kill Bin Laden and save the women. Then we can leave. Morally. Responsibly. Right?

5 Responses to “The White Antiwar Left Fades Into Quagmire”

  1. joshua holland Says:

    I have never and would never support the continuing occupation of Afghanistan. Not in a million years. And nothing whatsoever in that blog post, or anything else I’ve written, would lead a person to believe that I did.

    If you have any integrity, you’ll take down or correct this post. There’s no justification for putting Medea Benjamin’s arguments in my mouth.

    And while I’m here, the premise of your post if ridiculous. You’re basically saying that anyone who calls Afghanistan a “quagmire” by definition opposes a withdrawal? That’s one of the absolute dumbest arguments I’ve heard in a very long while.

  2. The objective definition of a quagmire is a ‘difficult, precarious or entrapping position’. The functional, meaning real world operating definition is big, drawn out mess. And big, drawn out mess is laymen’s speak for a political legacy issue. Now you can protest that when you write quagmire you mean quagmire in the objective sense but this is irresponsible and I reject it. In our political situation, quagmire means this isn’t Obama’s fault. And functionally, you and I know this gives him an out from immediate withdrawal. And this, sir, puts you, and anyone else that sells this quagmire bullshit, in the same camp Benjamin and Wright are setting up. On a political map, this camp can be found not far from a camp containing many people that call themselves Republicans.

    And just listen to what they are saying. Bill Kristol agrees with you that this is a quagmire. David Frum writes that Aghanistan is a ‘Quagmire Worth Fighting For’.

    The whole notion of a quagmire implies that a mistake was made. That is exactly what milquetoast and enabling critiques of empire all imply. This is no mistake. Afghanistan was intended to be what it was and is today, an imperial base of operations in that region. Only those that believed in any of the original phony rationales (find/arrest/kill Bin Laden, get rid of the Taliban, free women, stop drug trade) can now reach the conclusion that an error was made in reaching one or more of those objectives and because of that we now find ourselves bogged down, in a quagmire. No.

    They went there to stay there. So they are staying there if they can afford to. And that’s it. They have no right to be there and never did. They kill innocents and they don’t care. They don’t have the right to be there another second. And its not, never was legitimate and its not a mistake. It is racist empire. And it certainly isn’t a quagmire or any other similar term that will only serve to justify Obama not leaving immediately.

    I hope you’ll be more responsible in reconsidering this notion of Washington being in a quagmire. That framework of understanding what is happening in Afghanistan doesn’t help us get out immediately. In the minds of many, it will serve as justification for a sustained presence. You can disagree with my opinion but don’t try to paint yourself as a victim of some smear campaign. I’ve nothing against you. I have a problem with your politics. I hope you understand.

  3. Joshua Holland Says:

    You can play semantic games around the word “quagmire” all day long if it makes you feel cute or witty, but the reality is that you’ve put someone with a long record of advocating an immediate withdrawl into the opposite camp.

    So either you’re too lazy to figure out the actual positions of people about whom you write, or are too dishonest to care as long as you can make your point.

    Either way, not updating the post to reflect the fact that I don’t hold, and have never held, the views you ascribe to me is simple intellectual dishonesty.

    • Joshua Holland Says:

      And of course the views of David Frum or Bill Kristol are irrelevant — they’re both partisan hacks who are only calling Afghanistan a quagmire because Bush is no longer in office.

  4. Josh, you’re reputation as advocate of progressive positions should speak for itself. I believe it does. I don’t frequent much anymore. When I do, it is in search of your articles and the work of a select few others.

    You’re just wrong on this. And since you don’t refute a single point of a my argument but instead refer to your reputation and reduce all else to what you call semantics, something tells me you know you’re wrong.

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