a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Quick Afghanistan Take -

Tonight Obama, who I voted for and probably you did too, becomes LBJ without the Great Society. 

There really was a political way out:  "We can't afford it." 

Somehow, Democrats never understand the "we can't afford it" objection resonates with the public whenever the Republicans make it about a social program.  There shouldn't have been a single Democratic objection to either war over the past decade that didn't begin with the phrase, "Well, first of all, we can't afford it."  And now, a year into an Administration that does not have an exit strategy for double digit unemployment, we're about to escalate by 30,000 US troop involvement in Afghanistan. 

We can't afford it. 

According to the Cato Institute, the 2010 Pentagon budget (which doesn't assume additional money for this escalation) means "every man, woman and child in the United States will spend more than $2,700 on (defense) programs and agencies next year."

When you consider the escalation, that makes one year of the defense budget the equivalent of ten years of health care

Why is that a good tradeoff?

We are, as I've written previously, in a period of rapidly unlearning what took generations to understand (that would be the title of my book: The Unlearning).  The difference between Obama and LBJ is LBJ didn't have a Vietnam to look back upon.  When Obama announces this troop escalation tonight, what I will see is the equivalent of that Republican Presidential debate when the candidates raised their hands to indicate they didn't believe in evolution. 

A decade of trillion dollar wars and tax cuts for the wealthy - a quarter century of deregulation on banking and corporate America has left our cupboard bare.  One out of every 8 Americans and 1 out of every 4 American children is currently on food stamps.

That's socialized food.  Probably a Nazi/Muslim/Communist plot.

1 in 4 kids.  Right now.  Today. 

And right now, today, we're about to escalate our involvement in an absolutely unwinnable Afghanistan.

We can't afford it.