On October 9th, 2009, President Barack Obama was announced as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Apparently acknowledging that he had not yet done anything to deserve it, he said, "Throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action.”
On December 1st, 2009, President Barack Obama answered this call to action, announcing plans to send 30,000 more U.S. troops into Afghanistan.
As incongruous as this may seem, it fits the Bismarck-esque model of American foreign policy--the mailed fist is the surest path to peace. What better way to bring peace than with the superior firepower of 30,000 more troops?
Unfortunately, history fails to bear out this hopeful hypothesis. It wasn’t so long ago that a president named Lyndon B. Johnson ordered more US troops into Asia to counter an insurgency, promising quick withdrawal. Moreover, the war in Afghanistan is now eight years old, just one year short of eclipsing Russia’s nine-year-long futile occupation of Afghanistan. Of course, in the Russians’ defense, the US was funding the opposition, which made their job considerably more difficult. (Hey, there’s an idea for the Pentagon spin-machine--maybe the Russians are funding the Taliban!)
Turns out that a leading Southern Baptist ethicist shares my anxiety about this decision, but for him, it was because Obama wasn't sending enough troops to "defend our freedom in a difficult and dangerous world." Oh please. The way this guy talks, you'd think he was George Bush's Press Secretary. Why is it, why, why, why, I ask, that the more "born-again" you are, the more pro-war you are? And we wonder why we're losing the "culture war."