I don't oppose all wars. . . . What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.-- BARACK OBAMA (October 2002)There is an unassailable logic to President Obama's decision to further put off what to do about Afghanistan although that logic will be assailed by the knuckle dragging congregation of the The Neocon Church of Our Lady of Perpetual War.
None of the scenarios presented the president by his national security and military advisers addressed when American troops would be able to turn over responsibility to the Afghan government.
The answer to that vitally important question is a trick within a trap. This is because the Afghan government will never be able to run that vast and ungovernable land, let alone keep the Taliban and innumerable other enemies of stability at bay.
I sense that Obama knows that, so that any timetable, timeline or timeanything will be creative writing.
The president threw down this gauntlet on Wednesday at the sixth meeting of his so-called war council as calls intensified for him to make a speedy decision on how many additional troops should be deployed.
As recently as a couple of days ago, I argued that it would be politically unpalatable for Obama to advocate a draw down and withdrawal instead of an increase. But as Wednesday's events get teased out (which is to say authorized leaked out) there now is a glimmer of hope that at some point in the foreseeable future a country that has been at war since November 2001 will have welcomed home all of its troops from Iraq and most of them from Afghanistan.
Such a bold move will, of course, upset the Perpetual War congregants, who already have wet themselves through multiple pairs of undies because of the healthy and very public debate about what the U.S. should do.
But they will be unable to get out from under a certain reality: Obama can be bold. Obama can be masterful at explaining the intricacies of policy issues. And Obama happens to be the president and commander in chief of a nation that is only slightly less sick and tired of being lied to about war than it is sick and tired of war itself.Top photograph by Hah Marai/AFP-Getty Images
Hat tip to Will Bunch at Attytood for the quote