Saturday, March 28, 2009

Out of the Bubble and Onto the Hot Plate

I think the media are having some schizoid episodes right now, torn between their need to lionize Obama and their commitment to oppose America’s defensive actions against jihadism.

An example of that is this piece from the AP, in which reporter Ben Feller can barely hide his disappointment that Obama, now that he actually faces some of the same challenges Bush had to meet after 9/11, is manifesting Bush-like views of the situation.

WASHINGTON -- Expanding the war in "the most dangerous place in the world," President Barack Obama launched a fresh effort Friday to defeat al-Qaida terrorists in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, defending his strategy with shades of the dire language of George W. Bush. (“Obama to widen war on al-Qaida”).

Obama is even emulating the Bush rhetorical style, when he says that defeating Al-Qaeda and keeping them out of Pakistan and Afghanistan “is a cause that could not be more just.”

And see if this doesn’t read like media reports about the “endless war” in Iraq from 2004 through 2007, if you merely substitute “Iraqi” for “Afghan”:

His strategy is built on an ambitious goal of boosting the Afghan army from 80,000 to 134,000 troops by 2011 -- and greatly increasing training by U.S. troops accompanying them -- so the Afghan military can defeat Taliban insurgents and take control of the war. That, he said, is “how we will ultimately be able to bring our troops home.”

There is no timetable for withdrawal, and the White House said it had no estimate yet on how many billions of dollars its plan will cost.

No timetable! No exit strategy! No estimate about how much it will cost! And now we realize that “Much like Iraq, the war effort in Afghanistan has been longer and costlier than American leaders expected.”

Feller can’t hide his disappointment. He makes only one lame effort to make Obama’s predicament Bush’s fault, suggesting that Afghanistan is “a war gone awry,” instead of what it actually is, a very difficult war to win, in "the most dangerous place in the world." And he quotes Obama telling the lie that Afghanistan was going without “resources it should have received years ago, ‘denied because of the war in Iraq.’”

But it doesn’t matter. This is Obama’s war now, the one he wanted, The one he said was the only one that mattered, while Iraq was a diversion with “no military solution.”

Well, diversion or not, George Bush won his war in Iraq, and he did it his way. Let’s see Obama do just half as well and not lose this one.

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