Steele Speaks the Truth

“If he [Obama] is such a student of history, has he not understood the one thing you don’t do is engage in a land war in Afghanistan? Everyone who has tried over a thousand years has failed and there are reasons for that.” In restating this obvious historical fact, Republican Chairman Michael Steele has roused a chorus of neocon critics calling for his resignation.

Instead, they should heed the words of Douglas MacArthur, who warned another young president—John F. Kennedy—in 1961: “Anyone wanting to commit American ground forces to the mainland of Asia should have his head examined”.

Those who take issue with Steele should state why he—and MacArthur—are wrong. And we Republicans who believe they should be heeded should speak up. I am one of them. There are others who question an open-ended commitment of blood and treasure to prop up Hamid Karzai and his illusory government.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has issued a statement in support of our embattled party chief. Conservative commentators like George Will, Joe Scarborough, Pat Buchanan and the late Bob Novak long expressed similar concerns about open-ended nation-building experiments.

Afghanistan has never been a nation in the conventional sense. It has had neither effective central government nor the civil and cultural institutions that can support one. It is unfair and unrealistic to expect our military to create such a nation. There are an estimated 100 Al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. There are better, more focused ways to suppress them without fighting a conventional ground war.

It is Obama who decided to send an additional 30,000 ground troops. Why should Republicans blindly support this vague and open-ended commitment? Would Reagan have done so? He wisely decided against a similar quagmire in Lebanon, which is far smaller than Afghanistan. Bush Sr. was equally prudent in his use of ground forces only for clear and achievable objectives.

I visited Afghanistan once in 1973, a relatively placid year. Still, there was little civil authority outside a few major cities. I traveled on the one national highway by daylight. Governing is conducted by a medieval mix of clan loyalties with informal village councils tempering endless family and regional feuds. Language differences made communication difficult and male civilians are heavily and openly armed. Loyalty is to family and clan, not to a nation. Afghanistan has never had a top-down government and has fiercely resisted all attempts to impose one.

Steele many not survive as GOP Chair. But our party leaders need a better answer to Obama’s confused Afghanistan policy. Republicans should be skeptical of massive costly federal undertakings such as foreign nation-building. Our troops, our budget and our national security deserve another approach.

This entry was posted in Nationwide on by .

About Chris Norby

Chris Norby was elected to the Orange County Board of Supervisors in March, 2002. Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Norby served on the Fullerton City Council since 1984, having been re-elected in 1988, 1992, 1996 and 2000. He served three years as Mayor of Fullerton - in 1990-91 and 1995-97. His 18 years of public service place him among the most senior of Orange County's elected city officials. While serving on the Fullerton City Council, Norby was a strong advocate of open and efficient government. Concurrent with his tenure as a Fullerton City Councilmember and mayor, Norby was employed as a high school history teacher.

24 thoughts on “Steele Speaks the Truth

  1. Fullerton Rudy

    Excellent post.

    Chris, why don’t you also post this over at Red County. They’re all for neocon adventuresome “nation building” over there. They really hate Ron Paul’s guts.

    Reply
  2. gabriel san roman

    a skewered rendering of Afghan history itself, but if you folks want out of Afghanistan, fine by me! I’m not down for Obama’s escalation plan!

    I don’t expect much of a real exit, however, not with all that newly discovered mineral wealth for multinational corporations to prey upon…

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    1. History Major

      Not all that “skewered.” It may be not skewed enough. Afghanistan hasn’t had an effective government since Alexander pulled out.

      Reply
  3. van get it da artiste

    My favorite painting is an Italian renaissance fifteenth century allegory that shows how time unmasks fraud.

    Our mission in Afghanistan, defined by the Bush administration and refined by President Obama’s advisers and General Petraeus, is to buy, with American tax payer dollars, laundered as foreign aid, the loyalty of narcotics trafficking, human rights abusing Afghan warlords who rule with an iron fist the local Afghan populace. In exchange, these same warlords agree to roust the Taliban from their provinces.

    The notorious narcotics trafficker and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai controls the warlords by holding the purse strings to American foreign aid.
    The Bush and now the Obama adm. call this strategy ” stabilizing through mixed democracy and sovereignty” Afghanistan.

    Where is the social contract that leads to human dignity in this foreign policy crafted by the leader of the free world?

    President Obama implied change for the better with his campaign slogan “change, you can believe in”. The real change is not coming from the White House or Congress; it is coming from Americans who are changing their minds about President Obama’s ability to lead our nation out of senseless wars that devastate our economy.

    Mr. Norby, your courage to speak the truth unmasks our leaders, in Wash. D.C., battle cry “America is fighting for Afghanistan’s democracy” when in fact we are militarily and financially propping up an oppressive government.

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  4. Rain

    Michael Steele is the “perfect” phony to lead the gutless “moderate” (aka Democrat) wing of the “Republican” Party.

    General McArthur was an advocate for America waging nuclear war to remove the Communists from China (aka mainland Asia) just as others (Patton) advocated America waging on Communist Russia in order to avoid the subsequent hundred million murders committed by those two Communist nations throughout the world since.

    Michael Steele is a PRO-ABORTION “Roman Catholic.” I should let that just sink in for a few minutes, but at the risk of insulting the intelligence of anyone who has the intelligence-education to be able to read, Abortion is considered MURDER by actual members of the Catholic Faith.

    The folks, like Mr. Steele, who pretend to be “Roman Catholic” AND Pro-Abortion, are the same type of phonies who claim to be “conservative” AND Pro-Amnesty for illegal alien criminals (as Mr. Steele also advocates), as well as Pro-Affirmative Action (as Mr. Steele supports).

    The only “truth” about Mr. Steele is that he is the essence of the “moderate” RINO who is totally complicit in all of Leftist destructive big government expansion of the Democrats, by only supporting “moderate” (phony) election losers (but Communist media darlings all) such as John “the hero” McCain, and the others who have made the word Repuglican so instantly understandable.

    The ONLY thing that President G. W. Bush (or his father) did “right” was their heroic Leadership effort in waging the “police action” to remove Sadaam from Iraq, and the police action in Afghanistan to pursue the War on Terrorism. Unfortunately both Bushes relied too heavily on the amazingly brave freedom seeking people within those Muslim nations to boldly and quickly rise up to overthrow both their dictators and their demonic government-religion.

    But guttlessly leaving the world-wide Islamic-Muslim-Terrorist threat “well enough alone” is exactly the type of “wisdom” which phony moderate RINO “leaders” such as Mr. Steele counsel.

    No wonder the Repuglicans can barely rally a minority anywhere, even as our nation is being destroyed from within by a Democrat Party-Communist Totalitarian passing unconstitutional legislation through a Democrat-Communist Party congress.

    Reply
  5. Leon George

    “The ONLY thing that President G. W. Bush (or his father) did “right” was their heroic Leadership effort in waging the “police action” to remove Sadaam from Iraq, and the police action in Afghanistan to pursue the War on Terrorism.”

    Actually both were two of the biggest contributors to terrorism against America. So long as this country insists on a foolish and expensive nation building policy under military force, and blind loyalty to Israel, we will never be free from it.

    “Unfortunately both Bushes relied too heavily on the amazingly brave freedom seeking people within those Muslim nations to boldly and quickly rise up to overthrow both their dictators and their demonic government-religion.”

    In other words, they didn’t know what they were doing. Which is EXACTLY the point of this post.

    Reply
    1. Rain

      Leon, you’re going to be real free under the Obama Muslim Communist policies which are attacking our entire legal and economic system right now, while the MUTE opposition Party, run by guys like Mr. Steele, who figure that just a few little fixes here and there and then great big giant government will become perfectly “American.”

      The Bushes mistake was timidity in not pushing much harder and earlier for their objective in the face of the tremendous opposition from our many “allies” in Europe and at home, among guys like you.

      I don’t pretend to have any great reserves of boldness and courage, but more war making (definitely including going over into Iran and sealing the Iraqi border with Syria) and less police actioning was needed back then – and it will resurface in the near future, while you guys are strategizing about how to replace Mr. Steele with perhaps Haley Barbour, who would love to just tweek that “almost perfect” Socialized medical industry legislation.

      Reply
      1. Leon George

        Rain, most of your comment is gibberish, but the fact that you would even use the terms Muslim and Communist in the same breath indicates a deplorable ignorance.

        And Obama is just as pro-Israel as the rest of our leaders who prefer to put America’s interests behind Israel’s.

        War will “resurface” when Israel starts bombing Iran.

        Reply
        1. Rain

          Leon,

          I don’t have the Internet-blog knowledge-facility to locate references as quickly, as would have helped in this discussion. Consequently, I’m somewhat tardy in providing additional insight for you to consider. The remarks quoted below come from a member of the Dutch Parliament (and of course, I lost track of his name, but I’m sure he would be happy that I posted his comments for your benefit):

          “Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam means ‘submission’. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.

          Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam ‘the most retrograde force in the world’, and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran.”

          Leon, I hope you reconsider just exactly how much you know about our nation and the forces arrayed against it (i.e. us).

          Reply
          1. Leon George

            If we weren’t knee-jerk supporters of Israel these “forces” wouldn’t be arrayed against us.

            And now please don’t spin off on some sort of moral crusade. We support Israel for internal political reasons in state primaries like Florida and New York, more than in any rational national self interest.

            BTW: you can’t remember some Dutch guy’s name (who gives a damn?) but you can quote him verbatim? That’s pretty unbelievable, but really, who cares? You neo clown guys love to throw around terms like Islamo-fascism (and now communism) proving that you know nothing about fascism or communism.

            The closest parallel to fundamentalist Islam is fundamentalist Christianity.

            Reply
          2. Rain

            Leon,
            In response to your comment # 14 or so (there is evidently a limit on the number of quotes and replies which this blog system can accomodate, so I post this additional comment, here-above and out of order with the your earlier text response below this addendum to my comment #12)

            I was able to cut and paste the Dutch PM’s comments (thus quoting exactly) but I forgot his name which was elsewhere in the text that I read and wanted to share with you.

            I won’t bother you with anymore such information or explanation.

            Reply
  6. Allan Bartlett

    Thanks for lending your voice on this topic Assemblyman Norby. I think a lot of Republicans think what you just wrote, but are afraid to speak up because most in our party don’t want a real debate on this topic about all the costs of continuing our failed foreign policy under all recent Presidents.

    Reply
  7. van get it da artiste

    cutting past the jingoism, obama desperately seeks alliance with russia but after petraeus outing our prez as incompetent, medvedev chooses to surreptiously still hang tight with Iran’s ahmadinejad. Continued US troop presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is a human wedge between Iran and russia. but this is just my theory

    Reply
  8. Allan Bartlett

    Patience Joe 🙂 I’ve been enjoying my “blog downtime”. I’ll be back soon with an OC centric blog.

    Reply
  9. gabriel san roman

    Hey History Major: It’s funny Norby brings up Reagan in the context of Afghanistan and stability. No Reagan didn’t commit troops to the ground (he only did that against juggernaut threats like “Grenada” haha!) but he did contribute to the funding/arming of the worst, most Islamic fundamentalist aspects of the Mujahideen. These are many of the very same corrupt warlords that are making this current supposed “nation-building” (read) occupation operation a difficulty!

    Btw, I’m not partisan in this manner. The meddling in Afghanistan started under the Carter administration. The Clinton administration turned a blind eye to the tragic civil war that followed for control of Kabul (of which the Taliban would win and W. Bush’s initial air war teamed with human rights abusers known as the Northern Alliance against the five years later)

    Afghanistan has had civil society roots (RAWA) honest politicians (Malalai Joya/ Bashardost) and historical moments of stable/liberal governance. It just has never been in the West’s (or the Soviet’s) interest to support them. No, quite the opposite. That is of no interest to those who merely see Afghanistan in the geopolitical light of a buffer state.

    Reply
  10. van get it da artiste

    gabriel, you know US foreign policy. Where do you find your facts? I can tell you don’t pull your opinion solely from the liberal media.

    Reply
  11. gabriel san roman

    I rarely turn to the liberal media. msnbc bores me. the information is out there. one must turn a discriminating intelligence towards independent media, reliable scholars and critics, weigh arguments and assess them accordingly.

    Reply
  12. Leon George

    Rain :
    Leon,
    In response to your comment # 14 or so (there is evidently a limit on the number of quotes and replies which this blog system can accomodate, so I post this additional comment, here-above and out of order with the your earlier text response below this addendum to my comment #12)
    I was able to cut and paste the Dutch PM’s comments (thus quoting exactly) but I forgot his name which was elsewhere in the text that I read and wanted to share with you.
    I won’t bother you with anymore such information or explanation.

    Thank you for the relief, comic and anti-intellectual.

    Reply
  13. senior

    Polls show Democrats tend to be less supportive of the war effort than Republicans. But that may be changing. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who is considering a run for president in 2012, is now openly questioning the war effort, and experts say that Afghanistan could emerge as an issue in the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination next year.

    Reply

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