A couple thoughts:
The first, to appease the Left included tasty tidbits:
No torture, Gitmo, successful conclusion, pull-out.
The second, to placate anyone who loves freedom and protecting the innocent:
Troop increase, generals, brave, Iraq.
The speech inspired vitriol from the left because their take-home message was:
The speech irritated the right because their take-home message was:
This will be over in 18 months no matter the mess it leaves.
Often, presidents are criticized for taking the center way and that making people unhappy is the natural course of politics. President Obama certainly looked like he knew this speech would be ill-received by all who heard it–except for the uncomfortable pauses before ovation lines. (Some didn’t happen at all.) But his speech didn’t articulate a center way. It articulate a nebulous way.
The speech was an ideological mess. It wasn’t even pragmatic. It was a political swing. This way will make these people feel better. Whoosh! This way will make these people feel better. Whoosh! Except, no one feels better and many feel frustrated.
The prescribed influx of much-needed American warriors onto the battlefield is clearly and rightly the good. And the good can withstand the bad, a Taliban enemy in the absence of reliable partners in the Afghan and Pakistani governments.
But the glimmering light of the good will surely be eclipsed by the ugly, an incoherence of strategy beneath the surface sheen of a surge. The devil is always in the details.
Sending additional troops, whether decided upon from intellectual deliberation or from political calculation, is the right call. The details of their usage, the never-ending questions of “exit strategy” and the general unwillingness to commit to victory is wholly unacceptable.
As the commander in chief, the president must act with a clarity of mind and mission. In doing so, he sends a message that the American people will do what is necessary, for as long as necessary, to defeat those who would oppress others or hide while plotting additional attacks on innocents in Afghanistan, Pakistan or here in the United States. The necessity in doing so should be clear, as the Afghan people are resistant to American aid due to the questionable commitment we’ve made to them. In this vital aspect, the commander in chief has failed.
The Left likes to imagine the President’s inexact language and circumlocution as some form of rarefied, nuanced language. He’s intelligent. He doesn’t speak in absolutes. He uses big words like “successful conclusion” [whatever that means] rather than victory [self-evident: we win, you lose].
The problem is that words communicate intent. And in this case, the intent is muddied. One can’t help but leave the speech thinking that President Obama is putting troops in Afghanistan as a short term stop gap until something becomes politically obvious–public will turns entirely against the war effort, for example.
Will the Left denounce President Obama and start marching in the streets? We’ll see how righteous they really are. Do they believe the President when he says that in 18 months, this is over? This speech, ultimately, seemed like President Obama buying time–for himself.
Americans poll positive on surging in Afghanistan. Why would that be? Because most Americans have dealt with moles, ant-hills, head lice, or some other kind of nasty infestation. The bugs die when they are 1. exterminated and 2. the environment is cleaned up.
Libs hate George W. Bush for his warmongering ways. They’re giving Barack Obama a hypocritical pass. But Bush knew that this two pronged approach is necessary to rid of pests…especially murderous pests. Killing them works, but making the environment clean so that bugs don’t grow is important for prevention.
Americans have stayed amazingly consistent: Kill the bugs. Clean the house. This is just common sense.
This podcast we hit everything from slasher films affect on the culture to the historic 9/12 march (interviewing the woman behind the 2 million rumor) to rules of engagement with Afghanistan, Iran’s nuclear time table and a trade war with China.
Surprise! New York Time’s Kidnapped Journalist A Moron Who Cost A Soldier And Friend Their Lives–UPDATEDThursday, September 10th, 2009
The paper of record will probably not report the flaming ignorance of their own reporter, Stephen Farrell, but the British press is less inclined to cover for him. Remember the NYT reporter who got abducted and subsequently rescued? Remember how good the NYT was with keeping that secret, you know a secret that mattered when lives were at stake?
A soldier lost his life to save this, what’s the Van Jones word?, that’s right, a**hole. Here’s what happened:
Afghan police and intelligence officers repeatedly warned journalists including Mr Farrell that it was too dangerous to go to the site. Kunduz is a notorious Taliban northern stronghold and was one of the last holdouts of the regime when it was toppled in 2001.
While Mr Farrell, who was kidnapped in iraq five years ago, and Mr Munadi were interviewing Afghans near the site of the bombing an elderly man warned them to leave as the Taliban were on their way.
But they stayed and shortly afterwards gunshots rang out and they were taken into captivity. Mr Munadi was working as a freelance during a break from his university studies in Germany.
The dramatic rescue operation came in the early hours of Wednesday when a troop of Special Boat Service commandos supported by a company from the Special Forces Support Group left an American base in US helicopters. But the young British soldier died in the battle to the distress of his commanders.
One senior Army source said: “When you look at the number of warnings this person had it makes you really wonder whether he was worth rescuing, whether it was worth the cost of a soldier’s life. In the future special forces might think twice in a similar situation.”
Another military source said: “This reporter went to this area against the advice of the Afghan police. So thanks very much Stephen Farrell, your irresponsible act has led to the death of one of our boys.”
Was his life saving? No. He knew the risks in his job. No doubt, his friends and family members are relieved to have him back in one piece. But there are other people, a British soldier, his interpreter, a woman and a child now dead because he ignored the advice of those who knew better.
And the New York Times? The paper couldn’t be bother with Van Jones or John Edwards, or, most of all, their own idiot reporter.
The reporter a Brit, tells his story. He concludes:
It was over. Sultan was dead. He had died trying to help me, right up to the very last seconds of his life.
There were some celebrations among the mainly British soldiers on the aircraft home, which soon fell silent. It later emerged that one of the rescue party was also dead, mortally wounded during the raid. His blood-soaked helmet was in front of me throughout the flight. I thanked everyone who was still alive to thank. It wasn’t, and never will be, enough.
The soldier’s name. What is his name? At this point, the reporter’s “ordeal” means little. The man who died for him does.
If NYT … WSJ, CNN, Fox, assorted freelancers, the lot of them … stopped taking risks, we would have very little information about what happens in bad places. I don’t believe that most of them do it lightly, though I’ve known a few who do it irresponsibly and have been lucky they didn’t end up in this situation. A lot of them now have considerable time incountry, experience with these issues, and receive professional training and advice. A lot of them have also died, been injured, or spent time in captivity. It often comes down to judgment calls about what level of risk to take. Here’s an easy call to make in the aftermath: It looks like Farrell made a bad one. Harder to say about the military, which also had the option of standing off and exercised its own judgment in the moment.
I guess what makes me so angry is the way the newspapers so easily trash the very same who would save their sorry hides. The military is treated with contempt by the Western media. As a citizen (recognizing that all parties involved were British), I don’t feel inclined using vast resources and potentially putting solider in harms way for a risk-taking fool who works for an organization working in opposition to their own country’s interests.
The newspapers have no trouble putting soldiers in harms way with irresponsible reporting–remember the flushed Koran? How many false stories have put American and allied soldiers at risk? And now, a soldier’s family must live with the idea that their son, brother, father died for an agent who often indirectly colluded with the enemy.
I’m upset at the gross injustice in this. Over at Jawa, the reporter is described as a “self-indulgent asshole”. That’s being kind.
That this has happened is so distressing, I can hardly think about it let alone write about it.
War is hell and all that, but the thought of one of our service men at the mercy of these barbarians makes me sick. I hope we obliterate the bastards holding him.
Is this soldier a deserter? That changes everything. If so, let him rot.
Oops! This was an Afghani soldier:
Iraq must be doing better because even the AP indirectly acknowledges it:
Spc. Grover Gebhart has spent nine months at a small post on a Sunni-Shiite fault line in western Baghdad. But the 21-year-old soldier on his first tour in Iraq feels he’s missing the real war — in Afghanistan, where his brother is fighting the Taliban.
Military officials say violence in Iraq is at its lowest point in the past four years.
With violence in Iraq at its lowest level in four years and the war in Afghanistan at a peak, the soldiers serving at patrol station Maverick say Gebhart’s view is increasingly common, especially among younger soldiers looking to prove themselves in battle.
“I’ve heard it a lot since I got here,” said 2nd Lt. Karl Kuechenmeister, a 2007 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point who arrived in Iraq about a week ago.
The reporter goes on to report that only the newbies want to go back, but since anecdotes are news, I have some of my own. I corresponded via email from a soldier yesterday who was talking about serving again after taking a break after serving in Iraq. He wants to go to Afghanistan now:
And yeah, I am going back because it is getting worse. I want to do what I can to help the country. When I saw the glee in the little girls eyes when they got comic books and crayons etc after years of being refused such things, I just needed to help anyway I could.
A seasoned soldier (and if I can get his permission, I’ll use his name since he blogs, too) wants to go back and fight to help people in a 3rd world country have what we have in America. It is absolutely humbling to know that thousands of American men and women are actively choosing to serve not just America’s interests, but those of the less fortunate in the world fighting for freedom. Amazing.
Cross-posted at Right Wing News