1 October 2010

Woodward - kicking The One when he's down

Normally I find it difficult to summon up any sympathy for politicians even if they suffer tragic personal loss. I would not give them my hand if I were drowning, so I sincerely do not care what what happens to them.

But I do feel a bit sorry for The One following the publication of Bob Woodward's Obama's Wars. They are Bush's wars, dammit, made and lost by him before he left office. It was Bush who switched resources from Afghanistan to Iraq, Bush's SecDef Rumsford who decided to use the Iraq invasion to prove that the USA could do more with less, and Bush who committed the USA and its allies to "nation-building".

Comes Woodward's book to reveal in excruciating detail - drawn from his usual wide range of disloyal government officials, many of them bearing classified documents to twist the knife - that The One acceded to his military commanders' urging to repeat in Afghanistan the "surge" that they believe turned the corner for them in Iraq, and responded to his political advisers, the Democratic leadership of Congress and the unease of his NATO allies by announcing a date for beginning to wind down direct involvement in the Afghan war.

Woodward tells us that while Obama was publicly declaring that the pacification of Afghanistan is a “vital national interest”, he was privately demanding an "exit strategy", within a time frame that made a nonsense of the institution-building strategy that Generals McChrystal and Petraeus crafted, and that he himself endorsed. This was because, Obama said, "I can’t lose the whole Democratic party".

Well, he couldn't contemplate that, could he? Not and hope to carry out his domestic agenda.

The One's administration is now in trouble precisely because of that domestic agenda, which is more than fair enough. But to suggest that he - or anyone else - could have found a magic solution to the military/geopolitical mess he inherited is grotesque.

No comments:

Post a Comment