Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Raw Diehl?


Again cheerleading a significant, long-term escalation of the war in Afghanistan, Jackson Diehl asks,
All that time, no one accused George W. Bush of dithering. So why does Barack Obama keep hearing the taunt as he deliberates about Afghanistan -- and why do even some who sympathize with his dilemma find it hard to shake the feeling that this commander in chief lacks resolve?
If you look at the people who are accusing President Obama of dithering, the answer is self-evident. Is there one among them who is not a staunch advocate of endless war in Afghanistan? They hope that their silly, hypocritical accusations of "dithering" (think Dick Cheney) will somehow embarrass him into doing what they want, and making Obama less likely to impose reasonable demands on Karzai's administration or have a clear end-game in mind before escalating the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.

Diehl shows his cards with this claim,
One part of the answer is easy: Bush was renowned for summoning plenty of resolve, and not enough critical thinking. No one questioned that Bush's heart was in his bid for "victory" in Iraq.
He defines "resolve" as the willingness to make a war last forever if it means avoiding admitting a mistake, but (at least in relation to Bush) not as the resolve to commit the troops or forces necessary to win. Which leads us back to the real Diehl: he wants more troops not because there's a plan for victory, or a reasonable likelihood of victory, but because he favors the perpetuation of the war until his unarticulated fantasy version of "victory" is achieved.

(It would be interesting to read an analysis of how all of the pro-war pundits and commentators miraculously settled on a somewhat unusual word, "dithering", to describe Obama's failure to immediately dispatch tens of thousands of troops to Afghanistan upon the request of General McChrystal, despite the vast improvement his administration has already brought about in Afghanistan following seven years of malignant neglect by Bush and Cheney.)

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