The other day when President Obama spoke about Afghanistan, he said something that bothered me and it stayed with me. I’ve gone back to a transcript of his speech and it’s there—plain as day—and it still bothers me. Here is what he said:
“The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They’ve been confronted with occupation — by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes. So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand — America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country.”
That my friends is good-old-Washington spin. In the midst of our eight-year occupation of the country—which certainly has had its share of violence—we point out the Soviet occupation and al Qaeda’s presence there—and make it sound as if we’re NOT occupying the country ourselves. After all, “We have no interest in occupying” Afghanistan. Does this stated lack of interest make it any less of an occupation?
So on top of this presence-that-isn’t-an-occupation, we are now going to send another 30,000 troops over there to further not-occupy the country.
The most amazing thing about the speech is that he got away with it.
In closing, he said “We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might…” but when it comes to defining what is and is not an occupation, apparently it is more like “might makes right”. Make no mistake—Mr Obama chooses his words carefully and if he wanted to avoid the Freudian connection of the two, he could just as easily used different phrasing. No, what he wanted to say and most likely hoped would be subconsiously taken from his wording is that as the American president, he believes that might does make right.