Oh, Daily Beast, you are a wonder. When I tire of the right wing war blather, there you are, serving up the liberal equivalent.
Last summer, he tried to split the difference—surging in Afghanistan while simultaneously pledging to retreat on the theory that within eighteen months the U.S. could so weaken the Taliban that they would sue for peace. Six months in, that strategy looks increasingly absurd. As its most honest proponents concede, counterinsurgency is a long, messy business, especially when the president whose country you’re trying to save is indifferent, if not hostile, to the effort. In all likelihood, when the deadline for troop withdrawal arrives a year from now, Obama will be forced to choose between something that looks like an unlimited commitment and something that looks like defeat. He’ll be forced to make the choice that he avoided last year.
Obama should make it now. He should use McChrystal’s transgression to install a general who will publicly and unambiguously declare that America’s days in Afghanistan are numbered.
Yep, I’m with you, Pete. A have-cake-and-eat-it-too strategy has obvious internal inconsistencies and plenty of magical thinking — all in the face of public opposition to the war. Alas, here is where we part:
He should use this moment not just to show that he won’t tolerate insubordination, but to take control of his foreign policy, as Truman did in 1951. Calling McChrystal on the carpet isn’t the point; the point is ending a war that could wreck Obama’s presidency. That would be the best revenge.
Saving Obama’s presidency is the point of ending a failed war? I thought it was the lives of innocent people and exploited cannon fodder. Silly me. As with Hoge’s preoccupation with the executive schlong, Beinart’s priorities are in line with the think-tankers, the villagers, the war-mongers and the rest of the Conventional Wisdom crowd that has brought us ten years of unnecessary violence and destruction. The default mode of thinking is concerned with the President’s hold on power, regardless of how the exercise of such power affects the world. Only courtiers care for the fortunes of the king. We peasants can fob off.