Whether you like it or not, if you voted for President Obama last year, you are partly responsible for this strategy. That’s not entirely a bad thing depending on your position on the war, but it’s worth repeating that the president never spoke of drawing down our forces in the Af-Pak region during the campaign, nor did he mention such a thing during his first 10 months in office.
So last night’s announcement shouldn’t come as a shocker.
Admittedly, during the campaign, he never specifically said that he would drop 30,000 additional soldiers into the war. And while he never specified the exact “30,000” number, he also never said anything about a July, 2011 date for beginning the withdrawal either. In other words, and unlike the Bushies, he’s making adjustments to his strategy based upon what’s happening on the ground rather than holding himself to a firm “smoke ’em out” meets “bring ’em on” endless and unchanging war policy. And, suffice to say, this underscores his considerably non-Bushie penchant for thought, rationality and informed deliberation.
Nevertheless, this thing is painfully confounding.
Yes, I obviously voted for President Obama. Yes, I understand how this strategy is, in fact, a vast departure from the Bush administration’s conduct and strategic planning (insofar as the Bushies “planned” anything — all gut). Yes, I understood the president’s hawkish language about “the good war.”
But I’m very reluctant to support this decision, because history has proved that similar plans have too easily gone horribly awry. Be that as it may, I just don’t see how the president’s solution can be avoided.
The war in Afghanistan is like a terrible form of cancer. No one wants it, but I don’t know how we can avoid dealing with it without facing serious consequences. I don’t want an escalation. I don’t want more casualties. I don’t want more spending when Congress is being miserly on domestic programs. I want the thing to end. I didn’t even want it to start in the first place.
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