AP assures us that Obama’s Afghanistan dithering is actually a show of strength *UPDATED*

Obama has known for more than 12 months that he was going to become CIC, with responsibility for Afghanistan.  This means 12 months of presidential advisers able to give this neophyte help in figuring out the best strategy for the war that he declared, during the campaign, was the essential, central battlefield in the war against those pesky insurgents.  He’s also had two (or is it three?) months of specific recommendations from the general in charge of the Afghanistan operations.

And yet Obama has done absolutely nothing.  He’s floated myriad and contradictory trial balloons:  No troops was his first balloon, a strategy that played out when he played hide-and-seek with General McChrystal.  This balloon got shot down by ordinary Americans horrified that their sons and daughters are in a turkey shoot.  His next attempt at gauging public opinion was to say that he’d send some troops.  This balloon also bit the dust when savvy political and military observers pointed out that, under the circumstances on the ground in Afghanistan, half a loaf would not be better than none.  He then tried a completely different approach, announcing that he’d send lots of troops, albeit on a weirdly attenuated and pointless timeline.  Even the attenuated timeline, though, wasn’t sufficient to assuage his Lefter flank, and Obama quickly drew back on that idea too.

And since we know that Obama has no fixed principles, except for the desperate desire to receive universal accolades and to socialize the American economy, there are no internal impulses moving him in any direction on Afghanistan.  With his trial balloons grounded, he’s inert.

Or at least that’s what I thought.  The AP explains to me that 12 months of inertia, interrupted only by sending up abortive trial balloons, avoiding generals, and having endless meetings, is actually a sign of Obama’s incredible foreign policy expertise:

President Barack Obama’s drawn-out decision-making on Afghanistan is sending messages. To the Afghan government: Clean up your act. To the Pentagon: I’m no rubber stamp. To the American public: More troops can’t be the sole answer.

Obama has been accused by some Republicans of “dithering” about whether to send more troops and deepen U.S. involvement in an increasingly unpopular war.

The slow process also has left him open to critics who recall his pronouncement in March, after developing what he called a “stronger, smarter and comprehensive” Afghan war strategy, that the situation there was “increasingly perilous.” He ordered more troops to battle then, with little discernible result so far.

This time, he’s making it clear he won’t be rushed. Or pushed. And the way the messages he’s sending play out could help determine whether the war effort is sustainable in the long run.

Thank God for the AP.  Without their guidance, I never would have understood how subtle our President is.  Obama’s not ineffectual.  He’s engaging in a thrilling, practically telepathic, negotiation with just about everyone, simply by sitting still.

I’m sure that the troops currently serving in Afghanistan in unprotected positions as a resurgent Taliban contemplates the wonders of an apparently dormant president, are also delighted to learn that this is really all part of a grand plan intended to send marvelously nuanced messages to all sorts of people across the globe and right into the heart of the theater of war.

I’ll leave you with this Carole Burnett spoof of Brief Encounter, because it reminds us that Obama’s gone one better than these funny one-word lovers by doing away with words entirely:

UPDATE:  Unsurprisingly, Big Lizards has a better post about the flight from reality than anything I could do, with his focus, not on the media, but on Obama himself.

UPDATE II:  At American Digest, an excellent post suggesting that the media doesn’t need to spin so madly to cover up for Obama, since Obama really wants to do what he’s doing, and the resulting anarchy is a desired goal.

http://biglizards.net/blog/archives/2009/11/i_reject_your_r.html
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Comments

  1. SADIE says

    See what happens when you send up stupid balloons…
    Richard Heene has been charged with one count of attempting to influence a public servant, a class 4 felony. The penalty range for a class 4 felony is two to six years in the Department of Corrections and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.
    Mayumi Heene has been charged with one count of false reporting to authorities, a class 3 misdemeanor. The penalty range for a class 3 misdemeanor is up to six months in county jail and a fine of $50 to $750.
    Don’t forget to add the Afghanistan election balloon, to the list. Of course, if your balloons are just the usual hot air….http://www.balloonboygame.com/
     

  2. BrianE says

    Pretty concise summary by Victor Davis Hanson at NRO:

    What Bush Inherited, and What He Left Left Behind   [Victor Davis Hanson]


    George W. Bush inherited a recession. He also inherited the Iraq no-fly zones, a Middle East boiling after the failed last-minute Clintonian rush for an imposed peace, an intelligence community wedded to the notion of Saddam’s WMD proliferation, a Congress on record supporting “regime change” in Iraq, a WMD program in Libya, a Syrian occupation of Lebanon, Osama bin Laden enjoying free rein in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, a renegade Pakistan that had gone nuclear on Clinton’s watch with Dr. Khan in full export mode, and a pattern of appeasing radical Islam after its serial attacks (on the World Trade Center, the Khobar Towers, U.S. embassies, and the U.S.S. Cole).

    In other words, Bush inherited the regular “stuff” that confronts most presidents when they take office. What is strange is that Obama has established a narrative that he, supposedly unlike any other president, inherited a mess.

    At some point, Team Obama might have at least acknowledged that, by January 2009, Iraq was largely quiet; Libya was free of WMD; Syria was out of Lebanon; most of the al-Qaeda leadership had been attrited or was in hiding; a homeland-security protocol was in place to deal with domestic terror plots; European governments were mostly friendly to the U.S. (unlike during the Chirac-Schröder years); and the U.S. enjoyed good relations with one-third of the planet in China and India.

    The fact that in the Bush years we were increasingly disliked by Ahmadinejad, Assad, Castro, Chávez, Kim Jong Il, Morales, Ortega, and Putin, may in retrospect seem logical, just as their current warming to the U.S. may prove to be cause for alarm, given the repugnant nature of these strongmen.

    Bottom line: Obama’s second year as president is coming up, and it is long past time to move on and let historians judge the Bush years.

    http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OWYzNWE3ZGZjN2IxMmRiZmZkMDkyZDMxNmQ4ZGFhZTk=

  3. SADIE says

    Quite right, every adminstration inherits something from the past. Aside from being literally an orphan, Obama is an emotional orphan. He inherited nothing from his mother or father except the abililty to be vague and disappear when needed. He has lived more than half his life in non commital mode. Totally incapable of confrontation, he defers decisions, delegates authority than retreives it for fear of loosing what little control he has ever had of  his life.  There is no doubt in my mind, that Michele was the genesis of moving him along and directing him towards the ‘movers and shakers’ in Chicago. He always wanted to be the center of attention and now he is. Unfortunately, for all of us he is now what he always wanted to be -  a ‘child star’ except for the fact that it’s 40 years too late, politics is no place for kids and the White House is not the Good ship Lollipop and he’s no Shirley Temple.

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