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September 01, 2009

Over There! D'oh! No, Over There!.. No...That's Not It

Wunderbar. After months of letting others do the heavy lifting for him, Obama's finally going to come up with a plan - with specifics, no less! - for passing health care:

This time, the President is going to be specific [Emphasis mine]. Next week, President Obama is going to give Democrats a health care plan they can begin to sell.

To paraphrase the Church Lady, "Well now, isn't that special." It is so reassuring, after 8 years of listening to Democrats excoriate the Bush administration for insufficient planning, to watch a smart leader who has all his ducks in a row.

This is what happens when we elect a candidate whose executive experience placed him in the bottom sixth percentile of candidates who won the nomination of a major party. Instead of principled leadership we get haphazard attempts at community organizing. Unfortunately, major legislative battles are not the spontaneous result of disconnected grassroots efforts by concerned citizens. They require careful planning and most of all, they require decisive direction from the top. If you want people to follow, you must be willing to lead.

This is something Barack Obama appears either unwilling or unable to do. That's bad enough when the question is whether or not the President will be able to reform health care, but when American citizens are fighting and dying to effect a constantly changing set of foreign policy directives the spectacle of a President who leads by straddling the fence becomes downright obscene.

For years I listened to the anti-war crowd (and too many conservatives) berate George Bush for mismanaging the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Compared to Obama, Bush's leadership now appears positively Churchillian. Bush was reproached for failing to sell the war to the American people. For not asking us to sacrifice. For failing to make the case for war. On the campaign trail Obama made ample use of these complaints to argue that he would do a better job as Commander in Chief.

So it seems entirely fair to ask: what is he doing to sell the war to the American people? How often does he mention the fact that we are still embroiled in two wars? If winning in Afghanistan is vital to our national security (and Obama claims it is), if Afghanistan is truly a war of necessity, a war America can't afford to lose, why isn't Obama out there making the case for our continued commitment? If declining support for the war was Bush's fault, what should we think now that opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all time high? What does it say when the President can't even get the support of the people who voted for him?

Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time high in a new national poll.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say they oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, with 42 percent supporting the military mission. The percentage of those in opposition to the war is up 11 points since April, and is the highest ever in CNN polling since the launch of the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

The poll indicates that opposition to the war is coming mainly from Democrats and independents.

I suspect Obama's failure to lead has much to do with his reluctance to stir up his anti-war Democratic base. But if Americans are to be sent into harm's way, don't they deserve the full support of their Commander in Chief? Don't they deserve what Obama promised voters - that he would keep America safe? Do we really have the right to ask our military to risk their lives when their own President is ducking the fight? What is he so afraid of? Though Obama has continued George Bush's policies (including those he opposed on the campaign trail), he has faced few of the arguments used against his predecessor.

During the Bush years, we in the armed forces were constantly reminded, usually by folks with no connection to the fighting, that real sacrifices were being made.

Who knew?

That these sacrifices were voluntary was rarely acknowledged. It didn't seem to matter whether military folks supported the war or what they had to say about conditions on the ground. The anti-war crowd discounted the testimony of those who were actually in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was so much easier to dismiss our soldiers and Marines as ignorant, gullible victims too stupid to think for themselves. This is an easy thing to believe when "thinking for oneself" means "agreeing with us". By definition, anyone who finds your arguments unconvincing is obviously not thinking for himself. The arguments flew thick and fast:

1. The cost was too high. Nothing was worth the endless parade of amputated limbs or the tears of bereaved parents and wives.

2. Democracy promotion was a fool's errand. Adults know those little brown people can't handle freedom the way we civilized types in the United States do. Savages, really, the lot of them. Not like us.

3. The armed forces were broken. Overstressed. Ready to snap at a moment's notice.

4. Families were being "torn apart" by repeated deployments. They just couldn't handle any more.

5. We didn't have enough boots on the ground.

6. Iraq was unwinnable. Sending more troops - aka, the 'so-called Surge' - would only make the violence worse.

7. It was dangerous and wrong to adjust recruiting standards to reflect conditions in the labor market.

8. On the other hand, it was a really smart idea to force a draft down the throats of the military. Never mind that no one wanted to fight alongside conscripts who don't want to be there and don't have to meet the high standards made possible by an all volunteer force. Never mind the testimony of military professionals and academicians alike who reminded them of the drug problems, the crime, the rampant morale issues and unprofessionalism that were the predictable result of forcing people to do a job they hadn't volunteered for during the Vietnam era.

Quality was a tool. It only mattered so long as it could be used to damage the military and interfere with their mission.

All of which leaves this Marine wife wondering what, exactly, has changed since Barack Obama took office?

If this is a war of necessity, will the President ever get around to selling it to us? What has he asked America to sacrifice for this war of necessity? Are fewer young men and women in harm's way?


Has Guantanamo Bay been closed? Has Obama rolled back the fascist, Constitution shredding policies that caused George Bush's opponents to talk of impeachment and executive overreach?

No. And yet in the months since Barack Obama was elected, the flood of criticism has dwindled to a trickle. Why is that? Where are the protesters? What happened to the passionate anger of the anti-war crowd?

... many liberals continue to support Mr. Obama, or at least are hesitant about openly criticizing him.

“People do not want to take on the administration,” said Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets.org. “Generating the kind of money that would be required to challenge the president’s policies just isn’t going to happen.”

Tom Andrews, national director for an antiwar coalition, Win Without War, said most liberals “want this guy to succeed.”

Gone - all gone. It its place we hear vaguely worded muttering about mission creep, but no public demands to bring our supposedly over strained troops home. How did the supposedly dangerous levels of stress and strain abate so quickly? Is the Army un-broken now?

It's not as though Obama hid his intention to send more troops to Afghanistan when he was on the campaign trail. Then, as now, he reminded us that Afghanistan is the good war. The necessary war. The one we can't afford to lose but mustn't speak of winning because victory is a troubling concept best achieved by redefining Afghanistan as a not-war against not-enemies who will be not-defeated just as soon as we manage to not-kill enough of them.

And then there's George Will, whose main function in life seems to be to prove that Americans just can't get enough cognitive dissonance. Herr Will, a ardent disciple of the Jack "Redeploy Them to Okinawa" Murtha School of Unexpected Military Tactics, offers a truly brilliant suggestion: apparently, all we need do is "redeploy" our troops to a safe location where they can talk our enemies to not-death in relative safety. What could possibly go wrong?

We’re dealing with an enemy that declares a victory every time one of them successfully farts without getting a Hellfire shot up his bum. Our withdrawal from Somalia is what precipitated this war on terror - pulling our forces “off-shore” (anyone who saw a shore in Afghanistan, please tell us about it) will only embolden those stone age cretins and encourage even more attacks against our interests.

How many times during the Bush years did we suffer the slings and arrows from the Left about how we didn’t fix Afghanistan in 1988 - now twenty years later, they’re ready to follow the same strategy. And George Will is giving them the political cover to set us up for the next attack as well as rebuild support with Democrats’ far Left constituents just as they are beginning to oppose Obama.

I have to hand it to George: nothing says moral authority in the eyes of the international community more than the sight of the world's largest superpower bombing an already traumatized 3rd world nation back to the Stone Age. What's a bit of collateral damage compared to the warm, caring image projected by wealthy industrialized superpowers who wage not-war with billion dollar weapons from a safe location?

Will's defection only reinforces The Pockistan Doctrine: in politics, the "real war" - you know, the one that matters - is always the one we're not fighting at the moment.

Too bad no one told these guys about that whole not mattering thing. Sometimes there are no happy endings: only ones that are less bad than the alternative.

And sometimes, you just need to put your head down and win. Oops. My bad. Winning is one of those things, like terrorist or the war on terror, that we're not supposed to mention.

Posted by Cassandra at September 1, 2009 06:04 PM

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"Win" has always been a dirty word for Democrats.
Only treason against America satisfies them.

Posted by: democratsarefascists at September 1, 2009 11:06 PM

Yeah, that Will guy. I've had a bellyful of him and his nuance. What a freakin' gutless wonder. I hope all this war stuff doesn't screw up his social calender and the gig on Stephi's show.

Eff that guy to Hades.


Posted by: Don Brouhaha at September 1, 2009 11:35 PM

Dems/Libs are just so wrong on so many levels. I think that diplomacy should be defined as talking to the enemy until you get a good sight picture. Take a breath; let half out and slowly squeeze the trigger. Ahhhhh...diplomacy.

Will - and 99% of the other pundits with no military experience and a background of reading war novels need to suit up or shut up. Come stand in the suck and tell everyone how you can negotiate with IEDs/VBIEDs, people who think suicide is the highest form of religious expression, and that anyone who does not believe what you believe should be dead. Infidel. Apostate.

While conservatives may think liberals are wrong (because they are), they do not generally cut off their heads, hand them from bridge trusses or drag them through the street as we have seen in the recent past.

Without victory, there is no freedom. As much as Barack may want to not use the word, it must be used and it must be achieved. Otherwise, it is a loss, and a loss means that we have two options: to live on our knees or die on our feet.

As Churchill said (multiple quotes):

"The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong."

"Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others."

"The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult."

"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves."

?You ask, What is our policy? I will say; “It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.” You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory — victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.?

"...We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."


Posted by: kbob in Katy at September 2, 2009 01:22 AM

All of which leaves this Marine wife wondering what, exactly, has changed since Barack Obama took office?

The Oval Office is vacant on weekends, for one thing...

Posted by: BillT at September 2, 2009 06:33 AM

"All of which leaves this Marine wife wondering what, exactly, has changed since Barack Obama took office?

The Oval Office is vacant on weekends, for one thing...

Posted by BillT at September 2, 2009 06:33 AM"

Well I say, thank goodness for small miracles. Now if only the Congress would take the next year and a half off...

I used to enjoy reading Will. But then long ago, I used to enjoy reading Noonan too. I could go on listing other conservative writers/opinionators that I used to enjoy reading, but why? Heck, now thanks to George, I even have issues wearing blue jeans and a polo shirt in public. *shakes head at the inherent cruelty of Will's fashion dictates* Succumbing to Will's pressure, I now opt for a formal manner of dress. I go with denim bib overhauls.

On a serious note. I do not think B.O. nor the weasels in Congress have any intention of doing one whit more than that which is the least possible with regard to protecting and/or defending the nation or her interests. Maintaining relations with our traditional allies? Pwwtttt!

Nope, B.O. does not lead but he sure does talk purty... often.

I've always tried to be a glass half-full kinda guy, but I think we're now in a world of <expletive deleted>. And we will be for at least the next 425 days and a wake up. The need to remain engaged and vocal in the face of our government is, IMHO, absolutely necessary.

Welcome to utopia, comrades.

Posted by: bthun at September 2, 2009 09:27 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 09/02/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by: David M at September 2, 2009 10:52 AM

bthun - time to make up a short timers chain...

Posted by: Kbob in Katy at September 2, 2009 06:44 PM

Had one since January Kbob. Why wait? =;^}

Posted by: bthun at September 3, 2009 09:49 AM