Thursday, December 3, 2009

No Nuance

I've been doing a little more reading than writing on the blogs today, when my internet and cable wasn't out (DAMN YOU, TIME WARNER!!!) and it's pretty interesting, the blackness and whiteness of it all. No, I'm not comparing President Obama to the Senate. I'm reading the left ripping their hair out over the fact that they were duped by Mr. Hope and Change and this Afghanistan decision proves it. I'm reading the right throwing their feces at the arrogance of the Manchurian Candidate's timeline that includes a withdrawal date, because the enemy will just wait us out, even though since they live there, there can always wait us out.

Nuance has never been a forte of the far left or right. I had a conversation with someone regarding the President's speech and ultimate decision after almost three months of planning and thought. I expressed how I didn't like the idea, hated that we'd have to stay, how we've done nothing substantial there for eight years but that leaving now would be like the early 80s all over again, when we funded the Mujahideen in Afghanistan in their fight against the Soviets and then cut and ran when we needed to help them rebuild. I thought that a timetable for withdrawal was a good thing, making sure Pakistan's nukes didn't fall into Taliban hands was a good thing, how it's really no surprise as Obama has characterized Afghanistan as "the good war" as opposed to Iraq and how he voiced his opinion while still Senator to expand there.

And the response I got?: "So you're for the expansion of the war then?"

Fuck! No, I'm not for war expansion, who is? But what other choice does President Obama have? Are others privy to information behind closed doors at the White House that I am not, and can make a better decision than the President? I wasn't happy about President Bush's escalation when he decided to surge troops into Iraq either, but it seems to have worked out there and I was wrong. Obviously they know more than we do. And yet I see the left calling Obama a sellout and caving to the Pentagon. The same Obama that rejected every initial plan from the Joint Chiefs and told them to come back when they included an exit strategy.

Were they not paying attention when the President, then Senator, said he would escalate in Afghanistan during his campaign run? Or were they "duped" then too? And anyone supporting the President on this most difficult of decisions is now an Obama apologist, or has drank the Obama Kool-Aid. That seems to me to be the old Bush, "you're either with us or against us" black and white ideology. Has anyone been happy with the policies of a politician they voted for 100% of the time? Can't it be possible to still support a president for the things he's doing right and take a "wait and see" attitude with things on which you disagree?

I read things like, "This is not what I voted for" or "He's supposed to please his base." Well he's not supposed to please anyone, he's supposed to do what he thinks is right and what's best for the nation. It wasn't his base that won him the nomination, it was the independents. His base, who is now calling him worse than Bush and a sellout, were whining back them about how he was blowing the campaign by not addressing Rev. Wright immediately or letting the "pallin' around with terrorists" fester. And he kept showing us that he was smarter than any of us.

The title of David Sirota's column today made me wince. "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a president's political image?" Pretty clever, rephrasing John Kerry's question in front of a Congressional hearing during Vietnam, and in my opinion, pretty shallow to suggest that this decision was made based on Obama's image. But I would submit to Mr. Sirota that the same question could be asked had the President ordered an immediate withdrawal.

Now, if the President backs off on the withdrawal date, whether the situation on the ground dictates it or not, then I believe he may be in trouble. We might then see a one term President and I'm sure that Obama knows this. The real thorn in Obama's side isn't Afghanistan, but slow job recovery and the economic downturn. If those factors don't turn around by mid to late 2011, it might be one and done.

But there is one thing I can believe: this decision from this President was not made lightly. And I believe he made it because he thinks it's the best decision for the country.

1 comment:

NowhereMan said...

If you saw the movie "Charle Wilsons War" after the Soviets pulled out due to the military loses they were suffering from the weapons we gave the Mujhideen,Wilson asked Congress for a lousy 11 million dollars so they could build schools which they rejected.Thats why our government is so pathetic.They supply billions upon billions in the name of war,but humanitarian aid?God forbid!And they wonder after 911 why do they hate us?