The ultimate political Rorschach test
The number of different opinions about the meaning of Obama’s Afghanistan speech is truly remarkable. As just one example, some pro-war conservatives cheer the speech, because it means that the U.S. is not withdrawing right away and will be doing more to defeat the Taliban (though what the “more” consists of ain’t clear), and because they think that since the July 2011 withdrawal date is contingent on existing conditions, Obama will end up keeping the troops there beyond the deadline. They think that the promised withdrawal is a sop to the left that Obama doesn’t really mean. They are happy and cooing.
By contrast, Melanie Phillips, also a war supporter, but never a person to be happy and cooing about anything, says that the speech
is nothing less than surrender dressed up in deepest, blood-boltered hypocrisy. The media have reported the headline announcement of an extra 30,000 troops as if he has finally junked his anti-war persona and turned into George W Bush reborn. Even some hawks who should know better are purring that he has finally done the right thing in committing America more fully to fighting and winning the war in Afghanistan. Are they all nuts? This is nothing of the kind. Obama’s speech amounted to announcing an 18-month timetable for withdrawal—and the extra troops are being thrown in to mask the fact that he is running up the white flag.So, does the set deadline for troop withdrawal contradict the troop increase? Or does the flexibility of the deadline for troop withdrawal contradict the deadline for troop withdrawal? Obama has created a multi-sided mental mirror in which every faction, and every sub-faction of every faction, can see its own hopes—or fears—fulfilled.
And VFR reader Jim C. thinks that Obama has no more than a 105 IQ!