Bruce Kesler sent around an email asking whether we thought victory was possible in Afghanistan. My reply was that I don’t think the Democrats can conceive of victory as a possible outcome. As I wrote to him, I’m the child of parents who fought in WWII and the Israeli War of Independence. Although they were bone-deep Dems and loathed Goldwater, they too understood that the only way to fight a war is to win. Otherwise, you’re just sacrificing your own troops needlessly in an endless slow bleed.
I don’t think the Democrats are capable of conceiving an outcome to a war that is tantamount to “victory.” To them, all wars are failures because they are . . . wars. This means that there are no strategic goals that the Democrats can contemplate that will justify continuing to fight a war. They will therefore approach war in a half-hearted way, waiting, not to win, but to withdraw.
Obama’s support for the war in Afghanistan has never been a committed belief in the necessity of destroying the Taliban there and protecting Pakistan. It has always been a political move to distinguish himself from Bush: “Bush never focused on the real war. That’s why I focus on that war.” Obama, though, is a Democrat and believes that all wars are unwinnable, so he’s doing the Democratic thing. He’s throwing in bodies, but actively supporting cutting costs and appeasing the enemy.
Taking own his practical experience in Vietnam, and his breadth and depth of knowledge, Bruce came up with a post that intelligently develops my own instinctive feeling that, with war, as with pregnancy, you can’t just be “a little bit” engaged in that situation. It’s an all or nothing proposition. I urge you to check out Bruce’s post and cast your vote on the side of true victory in Afghanistan.