Liberal Matthew Yglesias, on the various stories hitting the MSM about how Obama doesn’t appear to be making a whole lot of time for his generals on the issue of Afghanistan strategy (via Mark Hemingway):
Meanwhile, [s]ome of these stories about various generals not getting the kind of tender loving care from Obama that they came to expect from Bush seem to me to defy common sense. There’s a finite amount of time in the day. A major financial crisis and global recession arose last fall. Dealing with that takes time. Obama, unlike Bush, acknowledges the scientific evidence that the world is poised on the brink of catastrophic climate change. Dealing with that takes time. There’s a need for new financial regulations. Dealing with that takes time. A new administration needs to appoint hundreds of people to various jobs and get them confirmed. That takes times. And the administration is trying to pursue comprehensive health care reform. That also takes time. Doing lots of things that take lots of time leaves less time for other things.
But apparently not “less time” for things like jetting off to Copenhagen with the Mrs. to lobby for the Olympics to be held in Chicago. Apparently not “less time” to appear on David Letterman in order to sell ObamaCare. Apparently not “less time” to hold “town halls”/campaign stops on healthcare and other issues in swing districts across the country that the administration thinks Congressional Democrats have a chance of holding on to in 2010.
What “defies common sense” is Yglesias apparently believing that the issue of Afghanistan should be put on the back burner for all of the various things mentioned above that “take time.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t he one of the most vocal critics on Bush’s strategy in Afghanistan? Weren’t the left – including Obama – busy over the last year painting Bush as a derelict CIC, someone who “forgot” about Afghanistan and because of that, we needed a President who would refocus on the “war of necessity”? Weren’t the left proponents of “listening to our generals on the ground” when they were saying things that the left wanted to hear?
I guess we can chalk up the beating up of Bush on his Afghanistan strategy nothing more than another cheap, petty, and dangerous attempt by the left to use the war in Afghanistan for political gain. As Jim Geraghty said last month, it becomes more and more apparent that Democrats never meant what they said on Afghanistan:
The average Democrat doesn’t like fighting wars. They don’t like using military force. They don’t just dislike collateral damage and civilian casualties and flag-draped coffins; they cringe at the concept of combat with citizens of another country, even when the president has declared:
“Al Qaeda and its allies — the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks — are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban — or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged — that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.”
That’s not the last president; that’s the current president, an entire six months ago.
Notice this only applies to the use of military force and violence overseas; as we’ve seen, these same folks have a very different reaction when they hear about a town-hall protester having his finger bitten off. The base of the Democratic party is fundamentally pacifist and isolationist and has extraordinary, although not complete, leverage over this White House. They want the rest of the world to go away so we can focus on creating the perfect health-care system.
It’s been reassuring to see President Obama authorize the use of force in Somalia and off its coast. But those who seek to kill Americans cannot always be eliminated in quick, clean, small missions using special forces. The mission in Afghanistan is different, and the man assigned to accomplish it says he needs more troops.
We now know liberal bloggers never meant what they wrote about Afghanistan. We will soon know if the president meant anything he said about that war on the campaign trail.
Considering how he handled the issue of Afghanistan while Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on European Affairs* – which has jurisdiction over NATO – I’m not holding my breath.
*A position he took right around the same time he started running for President.