Watching Fox, you can see the core line of attack now decided upon. The GOP will support the surge as McChrystal's effort, but spend the entire war to denigrate Obama as commander-in-chief and implementer of it. They will attack him as weak even if he adds 30,000 new troops under the smartest strategy he can. I have to say I have now watched the entire Fox coverage and all of it - all of it - is hostile to a president at war in a conflict he inherited spiraling into collapse.
Only O'Reilly has a smidgen of fairness. O'Reilly is now the independent voice on Fox. Now, I'm now watching Karl Rove use McChrystal against Obama and accusing the president of isolationism. Yes: he used the term "isolationist" to describe the addition of 30,000 more troops. If they're going to call you isolationist anyway, why bother intervening?
Obama's answer is that we cannot tolerate another terror attack. But at what cost? Is there any limit to the cost?
The way our politics of fear is now constructed, there is no limit to the costs involved in nation-building in every conceivable failed state that could be a safe harbor for Jihadists. We cannot have the adult conversation about how much terrorist damage the US should tolerate compared with the costs of trying to control this phenomenon at its source. We are not mature enough as a country to have that conversation. And Obama has decided it isn't worth confronting that question now.
I just don't believe that Afghanistan will be in much better shape in 2011 than it is now, or that withdrawal in 2012 will have any greater a chance of avoiding subsequent implosion than withdrawal now or withdrawal from Iraq in 2010.
So I am left with this deep ambivalence and concern. But we are at war and he is the president and he has committed the troops. I'll do with this what I did with the 2007 surge: support the troops once the decision is made, even though I disagree with the decision. And I fervently hope and pray this strategy succeeds in ways that the Iraq surge has not yet succeeded. And I just as fervently pray that the uncertainties and risks of those two countries do not destroy this president as they destroyed the last. And that they do not take this country with him..
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