Cultural Revolutions

Fish or Cut Bait

President Obama’s nationally televised speech announcing an increase in troop levels in Afghanistan was everything we have come to expect from one of his speeches: vapid, dishonest, puerile, and–most of all–confused.  Speaking grandly of an exit strategy he never defined, he did not once address the more serious question of an entrance strategy.  What possible reason did we ever have for going into that awful place, except to kill people we don’t like?  I’ll give Obama this: The man never disappoints; he always lives down to my lowest expectations.

So do the Republicans.  While the reaction to Obama’s speech by many peacenik Democrats was at best lukewarm, Lindsey Graham, John Mc­Cain, and even Karl Rove jumped on Obama’s war wagon, thumping their little tin drums for more blood.  Their only complaint is that it has taken so long to fall 10,000 soldiers short of General McChrystal’s request.  To a man, the GOP’s leadership appears to think that General Petraeus should be left to run the war–and the world, if necessary.

The problem with Obama and his administration is not that they are either pacifists or militarists but that they are as clueless as Robert McNamara or Jimmy Carter.  For my entire adult life, I have watched U.S. foreign-policy and defense gurus lead us into debacle after debacle.  Whether in Southeast Asia, Central...

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