McCarthy on Obama’s Afghan fraud—and Obama’s conservative enablers

If you liked Diana West’s take on our Afghanistan policy, read Andrew McCarthy’s take on the role his fellow mainstream conservatives play in it (emphasis is mine):

If you accept, as I do, the premise that President Obama is an Alinskyite, last night’s speech was totally predictable. From 2003 forward, he and his party cynically raised the Afghanistan mission into a noble calling—not because they thought it really was one, but because it made their political attack on the war in Iraq more effective. Now, Obama is cratering in the polls and his party is in even worse shape. Politically, they can’t afford to abandon the noble calling at this point: Even the legacy media couldn’t protect them from the fallout, which would intensify when the Taliban overran Karzai right as we headed into our midterm elections next year.

So we can’t leave, but we can’t wage war either. The Obama Left can tolerate, barely, the appearance of waging war if that’s what it takes to prevent rank-and-file Democrats from revolting. But they have no interest in defeating anti-American Muslims (who, after all, have a point, right?) or in pursuing American interests for their own sake.

What to do? Well, the Right has given Obama his escape hatch. Conservatives keep talking about “victory” but they never define it. We keep saying, “Give General McChrystal the troops he needs to win,” but because we’re as vague as Obama when it comes to what “winning” means, no one will really care what the additional troops actually do in Afghanistan. Thus, as long as Obama agreed to send a contingent—low-balled, but reasonably close to the 40,000 in McChrystal’s last request—he knew he’d be fine. Now, Obama can continue purporting to define the mission “narrowly … as disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al-Qaeda and its extremist allies,” and conservatives will dutifully tell themselves that we are over there to demolish bin Laden’s network and the Taliban—so let’s rally behind our president! In reality, however, we’ll be nation-building: the thankless, impossible dream of turning Kabul into Kansas. Our unwavering resolve for this task will last 18 months—during which we will continue solidifying the new narrative that the war is not ours but Afghanistan’s, and that the hapless Karzai isn’t producing results fast enough. That will get Democrats through the midterms.

By that point, it will be the middle of 2011—and that’s when the “taking into account conditions on the ground” kicks in. If the Left has succeeded in souring the country on the whole enterprise such that Obama’s reelection chances won’t be impaired by a withdrawal, we’ll pull-out. On the other hand, if the noble calling is still perceived as noble, Obama will satisfy the Right by bravely staying the course and giving General McChrystal the time he needs “to complete the mission successfully,” and satisfy the Left by re-promising a phased withdrawal in about 18 months, so that those resources can be invested here at home in rebuilding our economy and putting Americans back to work (since unemployment should be hovering around 12 percent by then).

I’m glad Andrew McCarthy is showing the emptiness of conservatives’ off-the-planet talk of “victory” in Afghanistan. I made the same argument for years with regard to our involvement in Iraq. See this entry which has a collection of my quotes on the subject.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at December 02, 2009 12:07 PM | Send

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