No one can say Michael Moore doesn’t deliver a heartfelt plea to Pres. Obama. However, it’s not Barack Obama’s fault if Moore and a multitude of others thought Barack Obama was someone he isn’t. When we hit Afghanistan it was because of 9/11. Anyone who forgets that is just rewriting history, which I assure you Pres. Obama is not doing. He always believed in this war, but has had to adjust to the harsh realities of Pres. Karzai’s re-election in the midst of overwhelming evidence that corruption got him there. Anyone knowing anything about Afghanistan shouldn’t be shocked by this, unfortunately, we’re not a world savvy society. But the fog of people who expected something different from Obama is now costing our President, especially when people make pronouncements that are politically tone deaf, not to mention impossible to pull off.
Moore reveals the problem throughout his letter, buy here’s one snippet:
When we elected you we didn’t expect miracles. We didn’t even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn’t even function as a nation and never, ever has.
When Moore says that people didn’t expect “miracles,” not even “much change,” but then goes on to pronounce that after what’s happened in Afghanistan since 9/11 Obama should “stop the killing,” he’s revealing a lack of understanding about what Obama faces.
There is no palatable political way out for Pres. Obama on Afghanistan. None. Zip. Zero. Deal with it.
The notion that withdrawal from Afghanistan is possible at this point is ludicrous. Given our investment, as well as that of NATO and our allies, such a rash move would lead to bedlam. It’s preposterous to posit. As for the troop escalation, I’m against it, as I’ve learned from talking to many experts that 30-40,000 troops won’t make a bit of difference. (Though I believe strongly in aiding Afghanistan on the civilian side, supporting Obama wholeheartedly on believing this country is in our strategic interest to aid.) On the other side, if Obama sends 30,000 he’s not only not giving McChrystal what he said was needed, but he’s picked an arbitrary number for his own purposes. Additionally, with regard to Obama saying he intends to “finish the job,” as he said last week in his press conference with PM Singh, which I attended, he’s not going to be able to lay out a point-by-point strategy to get out, because this is a one step at a time situation he’s inherited.
Unfortunately, the mood of the audience that awaits Obama tomorrow night is not a happy one and they’re sick of hearing promises.
Couple all of this with the back drop of West Point, which will enrage the President’s base and others who want out of Afghanistan, like Moore, including many readers here and beyond, and you’ve got a very toxic mix.
Pres. Obama likely doesn’t care, as he could see all this turmoil on the left as a good sign for him. The right will be equally dissatisfied if Obama gives a bit less than McChrystal wants, but also talks about an end at some fictional place in some fantasy war scenario. Landing Pres. Obama in the middle of the mayhem. He admitted long ago he wasn’t an ideologue, so no one should be surprised he’s not acting like one.