Tuesday, October 20, 2009

October 20, 2009

      Exam time is coming.  If you're a college student, that means boning up on chemistry, or Roman history, or whatever.  But exam time is coming for President Obama too--different kinds of tests in different subjects, of course.      By the time the new term starts, we'll probably know whether he's going to get a health care bill.  There are all sorts of other questions within that big one, of course.  Just one is whether there will be a public option, a government plan to compete with insurance company plans.  But the really important one is simply:  will there be a bill?  If there is, it will probably be flawed--it's a very complicated subject--but that's okay, because Congress can go back next year and amend it, make it better.  If there's nothing, Congress will have to start over again.  After all the fuss and bother this year, could we really blame them for saying, "Oh, the hell with it. Let's take 2010 off."      Another test coming is on Afghanistan.  By then, the issue of how many, if any, more troops to send, may have been decided.  Some questions:  do we really want a big, semi-permanent U.S. force in Afghanistan?  If we do, why, what's the point? Afghanistan as a country doesn't threaten us.  It's government is, by all reports, crooked, but that's their problem, not ours.  It may be used as a base by terrorists, of course, but if we keep them out they'll probably base themselves somewhere else--say next door in Pakistan.      And that's a real problem.  Pakistan has nuclear weapons.  Afghanistan doesn't. If terrorists can destabilize Pakistan, that's a genuine threat to other countries all over the world.  I'd rather the bad guys stayed where they are.
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