Home > Foreign Policy > Max Boot on Obama’s “timeline”.

Max Boot on Obama’s “timeline”.

Max Boot over at Commentary does a good job disseminating (actually demolishing) the President’s rationale for the 2011 date for withdrawal from Afghanistan:

The first concern, about the “reasonable cost,” is hard to square with the president’s willingness to fling countless billions of dollars at our health-care system and various pork-barrel projects in public works. Obama is no fiscal conservative, except when spending is proposed for projects about which he is unenthusiastic.

What about his second argument — that a time frame will instill a greater “sense of urgency” into the Afghan government to get its act together? This echoes a favorite talking point offered by Obama and other opponents of the surge in Iraq. They argued at the time that we needed to begin withdrawing American troops to force Iraqi politicians to make compromises. There is no evidence that troop withdrawals would have had this effect; more likely, they would have simply encouraged Iraqis to take more extreme positions to get ready for a looming civil war — something that was already beginning to happen in 2006 before the surge. Since the success of the surge, on the other hand, Iraqi politicos have started to get their act together. Even when they are stymied over a tough issue, such as the present election law, they are settling their differences through backroom horse trading, not guns and bombs.

Indeed, Max Boot’s address of Obama’s second argument blows away the entire notion that politics must be settled in order to resolve violence. That was a bunch of hogwash during the Iraq War (and proven wrong) and it is a bunch of hogwash now. So why give the timeframe since no one other than his liberal base wanted it? Two reasons: his liberal base and himself:

I still think the desire to placate his liberal base is a big part of the explanation, but so is another factor: the desire to placate a part of the president’s own mind. Does anyone doubt that if Obama were still in the Senate and President McCain were announcing a troop surge in Afghanistan, he would be in violent opposition? I don’t. It is, therefore, all the more laudable that he has gone against his natural instincts by ordering the surge. But there is obviously still a part of him that is uncomfortable with the policy. Hence the deadline.

Not having your heart in an effort that you originally wanted is a recipe for failure. If Obama does not want to win, then he needs to man up and decide to end the war in Afghanistan and own the consequences of his decision. Otherwise, our soldiers will be dying for irresoluteness of their Commander-In-Chief.

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