Fearless Obama?

The American president, who has been talking about democracy, did not have the basic courtesy to inform another democratic president that he planned to visit his country. Barack Obama made an unscheduled visit to Afghanistan, skirted the capital Kabul and landed straight at the Bagram Air Base where his increasing number of troops are stationed.

Forget what they say, and I mean American commentators, about his concern following the Wikileaks. His comments are enough to raise questions even if they are taken within the context. Here are a few quotes deconstructed:

1. “I know it’s not easy for all of you to be away from home, especially during the holidays. But here’s what I want you to know. As President of the United States, I have no greater responsibility than keeping the American people secure. I could not meet that responsibility, we could not protect the American people, we could not enjoy the blessings of our liberty without the extraordinary service that each and every one of you perform each and every day.”

How many Taliban fighters have been knocking on the doors of the US? Are they a security risk to the American people? There was an act of terror committed on 9/11. It wasn’t the Taliban. Not the Taliban that is at war with its own people. Americans need to be protected from the policies of their government – policies that have taken away their jobs, their homes, their welfare schemes, their healthcare facilities. Many Americans would not know where the heck Bagram is. Check with Sarah Palin.

2. "We said we were going to break the Taliban's momentum and that's what you're doing, you're going on the offense, tired of playing defense."

There are several soldiers lying wounded in the hospitals. Why? Were they not supposed to defend themselves? I know that’s not what he meant. I am just flipping the argument. Soldiers may 'tire' of defensive tactics if they get orders from above or their job clearly states so. They do not attack on their own. Later, there could well be tremendous psychological pressure and they may indulge in forms of offense beyond the front, especially with prisoners.

3. “America is not defined by our borders. We are defined by a common creed. And this holiday season, it’s worth remembering that we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are the right to life, and liberty and pursuit of happiness.”

If America is not defined by its borders, then why does Mr. Obama want to secure the US borders, even due to imagined threats? What common creed is he talking about when social and racial disparities exist in the land of opportunity and political opportunism, as in lands all over the globe? What about the right to life, liberty and happiness of the civilians killed in air strikes in those lands? Oh, of course, this was to ensure that democracy prevailed.

One reads that the US-propped Hamid Karzai regime is terribly corrupt. It is not sponging on American money, but the money of its own citizens. The US Ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, said: "The meeting with AWK highlights one of our major challenges in Afghanistan: how to fight corruption and connect the people to their government when the key government officials are themselves corrupt.”

This should clearly indicate that it is failed US foreign policy. Obama should have met those government officials instead of the PR exercise of three hours with the troops.

4. “So we may face a tough enemy in Afghanistan and we’re in a period of tough challenges back home, but we do not become the nation that we are because we do what’s easy, as Americans, we’ve endured and we’ve grown stronger, and we remain the land of the free only because we are also home of the brave.”

How tough is it to send other people’s fathers, brothers, husbands, sons out to fight an enemy they don’t care about in a place they may barely have any interest in? It is a pity, Mr. President, that you believe the freedom of your people is possible only by the bravery of spreading your armed forces wide.

And, there are other lands that are free in their own way and it is not nice, really, to just drop in to meet your troops without saying hello to the guy who makes it possible for you to be ‘brave’.


  1. FV,

    How many Taliban fighters have been knocking on the doors of the US? Are they a security risk to the American people?

    I have to say here that Taliban/Pakistan (NWFP specifically) poses much greater risk to US than Iraq ever did in its 5000 yrs of history.

    Having said that, Noam Chomsky has written in detail how Taliban has repeatedly asked for proof of Osama Bin Laden's involvement in 9/11 before they will hand him over. He has spoken about usual American war atrocities when its drone attacks kill innocent civilians. But, that is also Afghan people's fault. who asked them to be "Brown"? Why couldn't they be white like the rest of the civilized world?

    I do believe that area poses greatest threat to people living there than anyone else but you can bet that Americans are going to be around for a long long time; unless another Wall Street blow up occurs and drives America into complete bankruptcy like the Soviets.


  2. Well said, FV. You da best. Love, Al.

  3. Can I publish it on Facebook?
    Why are you not on Facebook?


  4. Hitesh:

    I have no problems with America being around forever...at least at some point it can claim an ancient civilisation then!

    Come now, the Taloiban asking for proof of Al Qaida involvement is like Michael Moore doing the same....is he a threat?

    Btw, the Afghans aren't really 'brown'; they are more like tanned beach bums.


    Awww...was 'da' a typo and you meant 'duh'? :)


    Hi...no dua-salaam? How have you been?

    To answer:

    1. Sure. No one asks me...
    2. I am afraid of 'friends'...

  5. Thanks. I posted it on FB.

    Sorry for being so rude. Hope everything is okay. I have been travelling and generally busy most of the time and often try to get by with minimum words. Will be in Pak again in December. This would be my fourth visit within this year beside my other travels within the US.

  6. Btw, It is time for you to get on FB. We can use your insight and can really have some destructive discussions on the fly.

  7. This is a specifically targetted to HP :
    I would love to know the Pak perception about Wikileaks "tift" between Iran and other neigbouring (mostly Saudi Arabia) Arabian countries.
    Please feel free to throw some light / specifically probe on this.
    Thanks and Cheers,
    p.s.: I don't know what your nationality is but since you hinted at Pak Travel - trying to glean information out of your "travel experience".

  8. "Awww...was 'da' a typo and you meant 'duh'?"

    FV, Not a chance I would think such a thing about you (of all people!!!)....I would rather perform surgery on myself with a dull butter knife than think such impure thoughts!! ;-) Love, Al

  9. Thanks for asking Mahesh but I have been instructed by the federal govt. to not comment or even read about wikileaks.
    I my job here is to surveil this blog occasionally.


  10. FV, yer blog is under surveillance for political activity....I can see why they use the term " intelligence agency" for departments that advocate such intelligent policies that are not a waste of taxpayer money.


  11. HP:

    Nah, it wasn’t rude…I was just kinda pushing it. December is a good time to visit Pakistan, in terms of weather.

    Btw, It is time for you to get on FB. We can use your insight and can really have some destructive discussions on the fly.

    Thanks for the insight bit…but I suspect we want a storm in teacup sort of scene!

    my job here is to surveil this blog occasionally

    Tell me when and I’ll really act up.

    PS: Mahesh’s query was genuine from the little I know of him here. Buy one never knows…he must be also on the same job for a dif agency? I really must stop being so mellow.


    Heck, anyone who thinks there is any activity I am capable of then it is jogging my memory :)

    And, puhleeze, all intelligence is subject to agents. Why do you always bring money into it?!

  12. Al:

    Not well done. Try a steak knife, for thinking about me is rare!

  13. Farzana (and HP),
    Thanks for clarifying about the "genuineness" of my query. In case it is not clear to HP yet - anybody sensitive to "communal rhetoric" about Pakistan would have similar queries.
    Having said this - let me pose a question to HP :
    What exactly did you have in mind when you declared your role about "surveiling" the blog ? Were you "signalling" your "serveilance activity" ? In case - you were , this most likely is the wrong place for you to look for (if you have been reading the blog and comments here).
    In case you weren't "signalling" something - you may have "spilled the beans" quite un-necessarily.
    So , again - a pointed question, why not ignore the pointed queries which you are in position to answer ? Including this one. :-)
    And yes, I hate saying this since I recollect you participating reasonably in some debate at this blog, your response abour surveillance *did* sound creepy.

  14. A correction to my comment above.....
    "In case you weren't "signalling" something - you may have "spilled the beans" quite un-necessarily.
    So , again - a pointed question, why not ignore the pointed queries which you are in position to answer ?"
    Was meant to be .... (please look for asterisk - * - marks for the crrected text....)
    "In case you weren't "signalling" something - you may have "spilled the beans" quite un-necessarily.
    So , again - a pointed question, why not ignore the pointed queries which you are in *no* position to answer ?"

    - Mahesh.

  15. ".not well done....use a steak knife for thinking about me is rare."

    FV, ouch, ok. :-( Seriously, Meant no harm or foul in anything I wrote and that be the truth. Sorry if you read what I wrote as sarcasm, what I wrote was just stupid and silly.


  16. Mahesh:

    Your queries are reasonable, but from what I gather about HP's comment, it was deadpan humour...obviously, he is not surveilling this blog.

    However, do not be surprised if this blog is under the radar.

    I guess the HP comment just sent out mixed signals...

    PS: Are you on Facebook?!


    I did not know you were vegetarian. I just felt butter knife was too timid...no offense taken and have some margarine.

  17. FV, ah yes, I suspect you have not tried to cut yourself with a butter knife and draw blood...and, no, I won't explain why I tried that :-P.....it is not as painless as it sounds...a dull knife is more painful than a sharp knife while cutting...of course, after the "slice" it is the size of the wound that matters...


  18. FV, My only condition is that the food not walk away from me while I am trying to eat it...insulting, to say the least.


  19. I cannot even slice through butter with a butter knife...

    AND cheer up...I am sure your food will be politically correct and appease you :)

  20. Farzana,
    Bummer me that i got worked up with HP's "sense of humour".
    For a moment it felt nice having questioned a spy. Too bad you called off the hoax. Hrrrmph, deflated me. ;-(
    Kind of reminds me of good old days when the "data mining for security" tools were in there infancy and people would mislead them using all sort of nasty keywords such as OBL, GWB et al.

    p.s.: I don't use FB - why do you ask ? (Notice my conspiracy antenna raising again . Pls. feel free to post HP's FB link so i can see how "spies" post things via FB. ;-)
    p.p.s. : Have a nice weekend.

  21. Mahesh:

    Sorry about the deflation. How about if I say FV is probably a keyword or something?

    PS: I asked about FB just to take HP's invitation forward and see if you'd find some conspiracy there...no, I don't have his FB link. Will the FBI link do?!

    PPS: Have a spice weekend.


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