Monday, October 24, 2011

Come Home, America

I’m taking the administration at its word that it really tried to negotiate a continued U.S. troop presence in Iraq and failed. It’s hard to say how much of that failure derives from Iraqi intransigence, or diplomatic ineptitude and/or lack of resolve on the part of the administration.

When presented with lemons, every American president does his best to make a little lemonade. Yet in this video (h/t Powerline) issued by the administration in connection with the president’s weekly radio address, Obama sure looks like he’s doing more than that. He’d have you believe that not his getting the amendments he wanted to the Iraq Status of Forces agreement was part of his master plan.  And he looks like he really means it:

Notice that the only foreign policy objectives Obama mentions are the strategically insignificant ones behind the Libyan mission, getting rid of Gaddafi as a way of protecting Libyan civilians. The only objective he mentions in connection with the strategically weighty operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is bringing our troops home. That’s especially odd with respect to Afghanistan inasmuch as you’d have thought Obama must have had some vital military objectives in mind when he ordered a major military escalation less than two years ago.  Now he's acting like his work is finished because he has mounted another couple of terrorist heads on his wall.

You don’t hear the faintest echo in Obama’s words from 2008, when he was proclaiming his determination to “finish the job in Afghanistan” or his expressions of intellectual sympathy for the realist internationalism of the first President Bush. But you sure hear echoes of George McGovern imploring America to “come home,” to get on with the urgent business of domestic nation-building. Is this just Obama's way of rationalizing failure or is it a matter of his recovering his authentic voice?

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