Escaping Afghanistan: Democrats Hunt for Excuses

Evidence continues to mount demonstrating how much better Democrats are at campaigning than governing. Legislative chaos, Gitmo waffling, missile defense implosion, metastasizing debt, and skeletons tumbling out of the closet (Van Jones, Acorn etc.) to name just a few items continue to enhance the Democrats’ reputation as the “Gang that Couldn’t Shoot Straight”- great at running for office, but terrible at running the government.

The best- or we should say the worst- is yet to come however as the nation watches the bizarre unfolding of an Obama Afghanistan strategy with a high potential for disaster.

Six months ago Obama with much fanfare informed the country that following an exhaustive review of the situation in Afghanistan- consultations with Congress, military experts, allies etc.- he had settled on a “new strategy” that would bring success to what he had long trumpeted as the “right war” or the “must win war”. As further evidence of his ‘hands-on” decisiveness he fired the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and appointed his own commander- General Stanley McChrystal- and instructed him to look at everything and make recommendations about what he would need to deliver success.

Now six months later Obama with much fanfare informed the country that he would conduct an exhaustive review of the situation in Afghanistan –consultations with Congress, military experts, allies etc. – and then he would announce a “new strategy” and what it would take to deliver success.

This left people scratching their heads and wondering what happened to the old
“new strategy” and what about the recommendations that General McChrystal had been asked to deliver.

Well, that was then; this is now. What happened between then and now is that when General McChrystal reported that success in the “must win” war would require thirty to forty thousand additional troops the left wing of the Democratic Party went bonkers.

Up until now being “hawkish” on Afghanistan has been a “win-win” for the Democrats because it allowed them to flagellate George Bush over the “wrong war”- Iraq-while proclaiming their determination to win the “right war”.

Now that it is “put up or shut up” time on Afghanistan the Democrats are desperately seeking excuses for rejecting the advice of their handpicked general and embracing the alternative strategy of Field Marshal Joe Biden.

It isn’t easy to disguise a “cut and run “ strategy as the “Road to Victory” in the “must win” war, but the Democrats are hell-bent on putting “lipstick on the pig” any way they can.

What follows are nominees from the “Best Excuses” Contest being run by the Democrats; they range from the patently disgraceful to the merely laughable. The media has attributed most of them to “unnamed White House sources”.

1. General McChrystal being “just a soldier” doesn’t see the “Big Picture” (unlike Rahm Emanuel and David Axlerod).
2. Colin Powell agrees with Field Marshal Biden.
3. This war has lasted longer than World War II.
4. The Taliban isn’t the real enemy. Its’ Al Qaeda and they’re mostly in Pakistan.
5. Al Qaeda is also camped out in South Yemen.
6. A “surge” wouldn’t work in Afghanistan.
7. The Afghans are “drug dealers”.
8. Iran will be more reasonable when U.S. forces have left Iraq and Afghanistan.
9. Train the Afghan army, and they’ll win the war for us.
10. We have discovered corruption, and even-gasp- election fraud in Afghanistan.
What a howler: guys from Chicago “shocked” by corruption and vote stealing! Should we have called off World War II because Joe Stalin wasn’t democratically elected?
11. The polls for Obama and Afghanistan are heading south.
12. Best for last Dept: How can a Nobel peace Prize winner (go figure) escalate a nasty old war? Wouldn’t John Lennon want us to: “Give Peace a Chance”?

What we are witnessing is the triumph of politics over the national interest thanks to a Democratic Party obsessed by the ghosts of Viet Nam- seeing false analogies everywhere- and terrified that Barack Obama could become another Lyndon Johnson.

All of this has the making of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Obama- true to form- will try to have it both ways splitting the difference between his military and political advisors. In doing so he will –like Lyndon Johnson before him- be too clever by half and spawn a series of self-defeating, half measures that will bring disaster upon himself, his party, and his country.


William Moloney is a Centennial Institute Fellow and former Colorado Education Commissioner. His columns have appeared in the Wall St Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Baltimore Sun, Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post.

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