THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 21, 2009
Mike's already raised the prospect of a looming battle between Obama and the generals over Afghanistan. But here's a potentially interesting wrinkle, from Dante Chinni who runs the Christian Science Monitor's Patchwork Nation project:
On Sept. 1, retired Army Col. Bobby Freeman, who lives in Hopkinsville [near Fort Campbell, KY], sent an e-mail to some 50 people laying out his concerns about the war in Afghanistan.
The email was a well-written historical look at the efforts to try to conquer and/or stabilize Afghanistan going back to the British efforts of the 1800s up through the Soviet failure of the 1980s. He ended the e-mail with a question: “What has changed in almost two hundred years in Afghanistan to lead Washington to believe that the United States can win a war where a Muslim population sees all outsiders as infidels and invaders?”
Mr. Freeman is no antiwar protester. He is a former garrison commander at Fort Campbell and describes himself as a patriot. His home is a shrine to his military service and that of his children, who also joined the armed forces. He was a supporter of the war in Iraq and sits on area boards dedicated to better serving the area’s military.
His e-mail, in other words, represents something of a surprise. But he’s likely not alone in Hopkinsville, considering the hard times the town has seen since the Iraq war began siphoning off large numbers of the area population. As we have noted in the past, that can have a big impact on “Military Bastion” economies like Hopkinsville’s.
My guess is that when push comes to shove, military communities would side with the generals over Obama in any intramural fight over Afghanistan policy. But it's something to keep an eye on.