No Exit - Poem by gershon hepner
Fighting in Afghanistan,
the US vivisects it
without a clear, decisive plan
for any form of exit.
Embroiled in battles that do not
concern us, we now fight
in places where there is no plot,
save earth for those who bite
the dust killed by an alien foe
whom we don’t understand,
a distant foe who doesn’t know
why we are in his land.
Sure, Jean-Paul Sartre said it best,
describing to us hell
as where there is “No Exit.” West
meets east today in hell.
For us and Afghans there’s no sign
of leaders who will level
with us without an exit line
persuasive to the devil,
and so like swine of Gadarene
we rush towards a cliff
that overlooks a hellish scene
with lips more tight than stiff.
Arianna Huffington writes in the Huffington Post on December 8,2009 (‘Sartre Meets Afghanistan: Obama’s “No-Exit Strategy’:
To take some of the sting out of his decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, President Obama laid out an exit strategy by setting a date - July 2011 - on which troops will begin withdrawing. The president, through Robert Gibbs, described the date as 'locked in, ' 'etched in stone, ' and having 'no flexibility. Troops will start coming home in July,2011. Period.' Sounds pretty definite. But just four days later, members of Obama's cabinet were directly contradicting their boss. Here was Hillary Clinton on NBC's Meet the Press: We're not talking about an exit strategy or a dropp dead deadline. What we're talking about is an assessment that in [July] 2011, we can begin a transition. And here was Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the same program: We're not talking about an abrupt withdrawal. We're talking about something that will take place over a period of time... Because we will have 100,000 troops there. And they are not leaving in July of 2011. Has an absolute ('Troops will start coming home in July 2011. Period.') ever morphed faster into something as ambiguous, amorphous, and conditional ('an assessment') ? Is this the famous 'team of rivals' concept we heard so much about in action? And just in case the lack of clarity wasn't clear, there was Gates again, this time on ABC's This Week: I don't consider this an exit strategy. And I try to avoid using that term. I think this is a transition. So even claiming to have an exit strategy is apparently off limits. What we've had over the weekend was the rollout of 'Operation Vague Transition That Might, Or More Likely Might Not, Actually Happen in 2011... Or Over Time.' But on Monday Gibbs acted as if Clinton and Gates hadn't actually said what they said. When asked at a briefing with reporters whether U.S. troops could start coming home before July,2011, Gibbs responded, 'It could happen earlier, sure... It won't happen later.' Feeling dizzy yet? What came through loud and clear from Obama's announcement and the subsequent multiple walkbacks of the notion that we might ever leave Afghanistan - followed by Gibbs' steadfast certainty that we will on or before July,2011 - is that this White House has a serious credibility crisis. Do they think rebuilding a war-torn tribal nation is going to be possible when they can't even successfully announce a policy to rebuild a war-torn tribal nation? They need an exit strategy for their rollout of an exit strategy….
Writing on HuffPost, David Bromwich posited that Obama 'is almost convinced of the omnipotence of words. When once he has persuaded himself of a thing - that it is true, or that it is plausible and might become true - the words that embody his conviction have for him the quality of deeds already done.' Does that sound familiar? Not only is Obama continuing Bush's war, he's continuing his method of Magical Thinking: the idea that simply saying something is true is the same as its being true. We're getting more eloquent words this time, to be sure, but the same tragic result: endless wars of choice. Gates and Clinton now claim that July,2011 isn't really an actual exit date. Sadly, I believe them. Obama isn't distancing himself from 'the Left' with his decision to escalate this deepening disaster. He's distancing himself from the national interests of the country.
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