I’m not fan of Barack Obama. I think that he’s an egotistical community activist drudged up from the streets of Chicago by a racist machine, refined by limousine liberals who wouldn’t want their daughter to marry him yet feel guilty about that, and installed in the Oval Office by Americans who were tired of Republican hypocrisy as personified by George W. Bush. I think that Obama is without question the worst president since Jimmy Carter and may yet surpass his elderly mentor within the next 3 years. But on one issue I want to see President Obama succeed and that issue is the war in Afghanistan.
Obama and his supporters wanted to see failure in Iraq just to spite President Bush, but I’m willing to let Obama take the glory for success if that results in a stable Afghanistan that no longer harbors terrorists. Unfortunately given the state of affairs that appears unlikely.
As Afghanistan circles the drain, the President has focused the power of his office on health care reform that the majority of Americans do not want. With a mainstream media acting as his personal propaganda ministry, Obama has turned into the “cheerleader in chief” for the government takeover of huge swaths of the American economy. He has given more prime time press conferences and interviews this summer than his predecessor had given his entire 8 years in office. Granted it’s much easier for Obama to get an hour of prime time than Bush when the owners of the networks are top Democratic Party donors, but the president has gained little from such spectacles; the majority of the public still opposes Obama’s plan to takeover health care.
So why has Obama made the divisive issue of health care his signature issue for his first year as opposed to the war in Afghanistan that enjoys (for now) broad bipartisan and public support?
Obama has associated himself with a very narrow ideological band of the political spectrum that views war in general as incapable of solving underlying conflicts, and the war on terror as being particularly misguided. In this view terrorism is a symptom of a deeper disease – the oppression of a people that leads them to commit terrorist acts because it is the only option they have available. Terrorism is best solved by ending the oppression that underlies it. Since one of the original three excuses for the 9-11 attacks given by Osama Bin Laden (and reiterated in a tape celebrating the anniversary of the attacks) is continued American support of Israel, the long-term solution for Islamic terrorism is for America to abandon Israel. The Obama administration has accordingly begun to distance itself from Israel although it is constrained by the large Jewish donor base to the Democratic Party as well as the Republican Party’s quick to exploit any real or apparent division between America and Israel for its own electoral benefit.
By this logic the war in Afghanistan makes no sense. In fact conducting it increases the likelihood of another attack by inflaming the underlying passions behind terrorism. This “blame the victim” logic has infected leftist thinking since the early 1970s when leftist political groups began justifying terrorist attacks conducted by leftist terrorist organizations like the Red Army in Europe and Japan and the Weather Underground in the USA. It is no coincidence that Bill Ayers, one of the founders of the Weather Underground, is a friend and mentor of the president, or why his administration missed Van Jones’s “Truther” connection: the assumption “baked in” to leftist thinking that we deserved the 9-11 attack and brought it on ourselves pervades the administration to the point that it blinds it to the fact that the vast majority of Americans don’t subscribe to the “Battered Wife” theory of terrorism and find it morally repugnant .
So why hasn’t the president pulled the troops from Afghanistan? Obama is smart enough to know that to do so would support charges from the right that he is “soft on terrorism”. In addition, having placed his former Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to head the State Department and kept on Secretary of Defense Robert Gates from the Bush administration, Obama has set up both up to be scapegoats should the Taliban march triumphantly into Kabul before the mid-term elections in 2010.
The Obama administration is laying the groundwork for a policy that Obama himself announced at the Cairo Conference in June that it believes will eventually end the threat of Islamic terrorism. This policy appears as appeasement to those on the Right, but is considered to be “draining the swamp” by the Left. This “swamp” of an activist foreign policy in general, and American support of Israel in particular explains why the administration has done little to counter aggressive moves by Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, China and Russia while bullying allies like Israel, Honduras and Colombia.
A battered wife justifies her husband’s blows and works to stop them by changing her behavior. Such a woman takes comfort in the belief that she is in control of the situation. Similarly the Obama administration justifies the terrorism experienced by the United States and its allies, and believes that the key to stopping the threat is to change its behavior towards the world in general and the jihadis in particular. However an outsider recognizes that the abusive husband controls a battered wife’s situation, and there is nothing that she can do except leave him. Similarly the only way to end the threat of terrorism is to kill the terrorists wherever they crop up and by any available means.
With Obama at the helm I am sadly left to conclude that Afghanistan is doomed. For the sake of the Afghan people and all those fighting for them, I hope that I am wrong and will happily trumpet that fact in the future should that prove to be the case.
UPDATE: More of these and I might have to change my mind about the president. I’d rather be wrong and have dead terrorists littering the landscape of Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and any other s**thole they cower in. I too will happily back the president on the GWOT if he chooses to executes it; I just have my doubts that he will.