Thursday, August 20, 2009

Poll Watching

I knew from the start that the war in Afghanistan would fail because our commanding general was named Tommy Franks. How in the hell do you win a war with a commander called Tommy? We’ve had George Washington, Winfield Scott, Ulysses Simpson Grant, Dwight David Eisenhower and … General Tommy?

What the F&%!???

Well, I have new, equally unscientific way of predicting the direction of American policies: Just look at what majorities of Americans want, and you can be sure we’ll get the exact opposite. It works every time:

A majority of Americans want single-payer health insurance. Result? It’s not even on the table, and now it appears that we won’t be getting a public option of any kind.

A majority of Americans are opposed to subsidizing bank bailouts and paying exorbitant bonuses for wealthy CEO’s. Result? Every banker on Wall Street gets a fat pay raise and tees-off the following week with a brand new set of Ben Hogan’s, courtesy of you and me.

So it’s with a great deal of trepidation that I report the following ‘good’ news: A majority of Americans now oppose the war in Afghanistan. It seems 51 percent of the people say the war is “not worth fighting,” and that can only mean one thing: more fighting.

How does my predictive model hold up?

Son of a gun, look at this! The Washington Post says, “Analysts Expect Long-Term, Costly U.S. Campaign in Afghanistan.” Screw the wishes of the American people, this is gonna be a long, hard slog:

Later this month, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is expected to present his analysis of the situation in the country. The analysis could prompt an increase in U.S. troop levels to help implement President Obama’s new strategy.

Military experts insist that the additional resources are necessary. But many, including some advising McChrystal, say they fear the public has not been made aware of the significant commitments that come with Washington’s new policies.

“We will need a large combat presence for many years to come, and we will probably need a large financial commitment longer than that,” said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the “strategic assessment” team advising McChrystal. The expansion of the Afghan security force that the general will recommend to secure the country “will inevitably cost much more than any imaginable Afghan government is going to be able to afford on its own,” Biddle added.

One might add that it will cost more than any imaginable American government can afford as well, but I suppose a ‘senior fellow for defense policy at the Council on Foreign Relations’ is too busy kissing the asses of the high and mighty to notice prosaic details like that.

I’d like to offer this post as snarky hyperbole, but it’s not. Every day brings more evidence of the conflicting interests between this country’s elites and everyone else; and every day brings more evidence showing whose interests prevail. Not some time. Not most of the time. All of the time.

Just look at the polls.

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