Vietnam Syndrome: Liberating Afghanistan

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Kyle has graciously lent me the Citizen Orange platform again after a hiatus of several months.  Going forward, I will most likely be spending more time here and at the Sanctuary (more to come soon on recent events in the social change-o-sphere, such as it is). 

This by way of pointing out that an uncouth pseudonymous libertarian blogger has again accurately deciphered the most recent chapter of the U.S. imperial adventure--Vietnam Part VIII: Afghanistan.  Now that the last U.S. troops have finally exited Iraq, all four million Iraqi refugees have happily returned to their ancestral lands, and Iraqi citizens have breathed a collective sigh of relief to live in the peaceful, fully sovereign, beacon of democracy they now inhabit, President Obama has turned a stern eye to the Enemies of Freedom currently plaguing the good people of Afghanistan. 

Or at least that's the version of events Tom Friedman subscribed to until recently.
Now he has seen the light, in a manner of speaking, and is hemming and hawing and looking uncomfortably at his watch, but can't bring himself to plainly state that the invasion and occupation (for our American readers, that means "liberation") of Afghanistan has been a complete and total fucking disaster that will only get worse from here.  (But this is progress, of a sort.  We are progressives after all, aren't we?)

Friedman's infantilization of the Afghan people is so thorough that he titles his column "From Baby-sitting to Adoption" without a trace of self-awareness.

This is what we're up against with immigration reform, friends.  Members of the American Foreign Policy Elite are people who believe themselves to be cultured, cosmopolitan, and open-minded.  They are well read and well traveled.  Most even speak a second language, though haltingly.  They know what is best for their non-American subjects no matter how firmly those subjects object. 

The much smaller Immigration Policy Elite applies the Foreign Policy frame to immigration, nominally a domestic concern.  Many of the same errors and assumptions born of power and paternalism influence the consensus positions of the Immigration Policy Elite.  That is why "everyone who matters" knows the rough outlines of the consensus CIR position, but nobody is allowed to talk about it until it is handed down on stone tablets.  That is why nobody who isn't in the Immigration Policy Elite knows when President Obama will move on CIR or what Schumer and Emanuel's bill will contain.

Whatever comes out of this choreographed obfuscation and horse-trading we are told represents meaningful political process, it is unlikely to be of much use to any of the stakeholders who really matter: immigrants, their citizen families and communities, and the broader voting public. 

(You won't find this analysis at change.org because it's not "accessible" enough to Joe Sixpack the Internet Surfer whose children are our future and who must be persuaded of the righteousness of the progressive project or the planet is doomed.  Also because I didn't bother to put up a tasteful, relevant CC photo from flickr.)

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1 Comments

analisa said:

The much smaller Immigration Policy Elite applies the Foreign Policy frame to immigration, nominally a domestic concern. Many of the same errors and assumptions born of power and paternalism influence the consensus positions of the Immigration Policy Elite.

It's this type of incisive analysis that makes me turn to your blogs, Dave. You know, I'm getting leery of anything with the word "change" in it. Thanks for keeping it real. :-)

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This page contains a single entry by David Bennion published on September 6, 2009 5:28 PM.

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