Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Barack Hussein Obama, War President
Tonight, President Obama is scheduled to make a speech on exactly how he's going to handle the AfPak War.
After all the delays and missteps, he's in a place where he can't vote present any more, or blame the previous administration for his problems, although I'm certain he'll take a shot at that.
No, he's going to have to make a decision tonight. And he's going to have to own it.
The problem President Obama always had on Afghanistan is that he's been stuck between balancing his campaign rhetoric about what a necessary war it was and the Leftist, defeatist nature of much of his base, who want us out of Afghanistan now.
The president, if he was still a senator would likely be lined up with those trying to sabotage any war effort in Afghanistan, exactly as he was during the Iraq war.
Because of that, just as it was necessary to talk tough about Afghanistan to show that the Democrats were serious about national security, the president will be using West Point and an audience of future officers as a giant stage prop to shore up his bonafides, something no other president has ever needed to do before.
Frankly, I'm amazed at his nerve in doing so, in view of his past.
He's looking to send another 30,000 troops or so into Afghanistan for a 'surge - exactly the strategy he criticized General Petraeus of lying to Congress about and obstructed at every turn.
His draw down date for these forces is July 2011, although he will likely be very careful to emphasize that this is a goal rather than a written -in-stone withdrawal date.
He plans to spend a great deal of money training an Afghan army to 'Afghanize'the war and to do nation building. And although he won't put it this way, he's going to try and figure out how to deal with Karzai after deliberately alienating him.
He also plans to spend a lot more money on Pakistan, building up their economy and military, affirming that they are a 'security partner' of the US.
Considering that Pakistan's military chief of staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kiani's recent remarks on how nobody can separate Pakistan and Islam and how Pakistan's ultimate goal is a true Islamic State under sharia, and considering that Pakistani President Zardari can barely step out of the capitol building because of disaffection with his regime, I hope Obama exercises some care in what he gives them.
I predict Obama will not mention the word 'victory' at all during tonight's speech. That's honest at least because what he is trying to achieve there is not victory, but a stable enough situation for us to get out honorably and for him to look good while we're doing it.No, he will speak a great deal about exit strategy and turning over security. Barack Obama does not want to have to preside over choppers airlifting the last American contingent out of Kabul.
The Angry Left will go absolutely insane over all this, and we may very well have the spectacle of of them attempting to sabotage their own president.Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already hinted as much.
And it will also be imperative for the president to defy gravity with the American people and convince them that this war is worth fighting. Given the general common sense of his fellow citizens and Obama's track record with them, he's gong to have his work cut out for him.
It's interesting that the last president we had that was a 'progressive' and an academic, Woodrow Wilson faced a similar dilemma. After campaigning for re-election on the slogan "He kept us out of war", Wilson was likewise faced with the necessity of talking Congress and the American people into going to war.
We'll see how Obama manages.
UPDATE: Here are a few excerpts, just released