Karl Rove has written a tidy little summary of Obama’s dizzying changes on Iraq:*
Throughout 2006 and early 2007, Mr. Obama pledged to remove all U.S. troops, even voting to immediately cut off funds for the troops while they were in combat. Then, in July 2007, he started talking about leaving a residual U.S. force, in Kuwait and elsewhere in the region, able to go back into Iraq if needed.
By October, he shifted again, pledging to station the residual U.S. troops inside Iraq with two “limited missions of protecting our diplomats and carrying out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.”
Last week, writing in the New York Times, Mr. Obama changed again. He increased the missions his residual force would perform to three: “going after any remnants of al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces.” That’s not all that different from what U.S. troops are doing now.
And just how many U.S. troops would Mr. Obama leave in Iraq? Colin Kahl, an Obama adviser on Iraq, has said the senator wants to have “perhaps 60,000-80,000 forces” in Iraq by December 2010. So much for withdrawing all combat troops.
It’s dizzying. Yet, Mr. Obama acts as if he is a paradigm of consistency. He told a Georgia rally this month that “the people who say [I've been changing] apparently haven’t been listening to me.” In a PBS interview last week he said, “this notion that somehow we’ve had wild shifts in my positions is simply inaccurate.”
Compounding all this is Mr. Obama’s stubborn refusal to admit the surge was right and that he was wrong to oppose it. On MSNBC in January 2007, he said more U.S. troops would not “solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.” Later that month he said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing that the new strategy would “not prove to be one that changes the dynamics significantly.” In fact, the surge has done far more than its advocates hoped in a much shorter period.
Yet Mr. Obama told ABC’s Terry Moran this week that even in retrospect, he would oppose the surge. He also told CBS’s Katie Couric that he had “no idea what would have happened” without the new strategy. And he still declares, in the New York Times last week, “The same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true.” Given all that has happened, it’s hard to understand how Mr. Obama can say, as he did Tuesday in a story on NBC Nightly News, that “I don’t have doubts about my ability to apply sound judgment to the major national security problems that we face.”
As you see, Rove points to the fact that Obama denies that his position ever changes — and implies that Obama knows as well as we do that this is a lie. Given that Obama shows every sign of malignant narcissism, I’m beginning to think that, for once, Obama is speaking the truth. You see, the malignant narcissist has only one truth: his immediate needs. Everything else subordinates itself to those needs. The narcissist, therefore, at any given moment, will convince himself that the facts surrounding him, and the history backing him, are completely congruent with his need right now. He is his own moral compass, he is the truth, the way and the light.
So when Obama told AIPAC that Jerusalem would never be divided, that was his truth at the moment, since his need was for AIPAC approval. When he later told Palestinians that he just meant it would never be divided by ugly barbed wire, he was also speaking the truth — because he needed for the Palestinians to hear that so that they too would approve of him. And in true narcissist fashion, he erased the past entirely. It never happened, and no amount of video footage would prove it. The past was inconsistent with his current sense of self and, therefore, no longer existed as an objective reality.
It’s a pretty pathetic coping mechanism when you think about it, because it reflects someone so insecure that he is incapable of dealing with his own past. Beyond pathetic, though, it’s quite dangerous. If a person like this is a friend or family member, he can leave you doubting yourself, and destroy completely and irrevocably your friendships and work relationships. (Because remember, just as he is lying to you about them, he’s lying to them about you.) The scope of damage he can commit becomes unimaginably worse when you give him leadership of the world’s most powerful nation.
Incidentally, for anyone interested in learning more about severe personality disorders, I highly recommend Barbara Oakley’s Evil Genes: Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and My Sister Stole My Mother’s Boyfriend.
* IBD also has a good summary and editorial about Barack’s pathological refusal to admit that he was wrong on the Surge.
UPDATE: Larry Elder poses some hypothetical questions aimed at forcing Obama to confront his continuously updated realities.