TIME asks Obama how we will be able to tell if he is successful in the two years before we vote again. He mumbles some gibberish about domestic, economic, energy economy but then he gets down to it.
On foreign policy, have we closed down Guantánamo in a responsible way, put a clear end to torture and restored a balance between the demands of our security and our Constitution? Have we rebuilt alliances around the world effectively? Have I drawn down U.S. troops out of Iraq, and have we strengthened our approach in Afghanistan — not just militarily but also diplomatically and in terms of development? And have we been able to reinvigorate international institutions to deal with transnational threats, like climate change, that we can't solve on our own?
Get past the torture BS and the fact that the Constitutional balance in re. our security demands could swing a good ways further before tipping and we have an almost pathological need to get out of Iraq or end the war there and a headlong rush into the best example of a quagmire I can think of. How does he get away with this? Once we invaded Iraq it became, by our enemies own admission, the(ir) central front in the war against us. Why has Obama been given a pass on trying to cut & run from Iraq where, no thanks to him, we have won, while re-inforcing a potentially, un-winnable one?
There is no intellectual consistency to the positions unless you are willing to believe that even though al Qaeda thought Iraq was the right war, it is so tainted that the only thing to do was bail. Since that is foolish we are forced to confront Obama's incoherence on a vital, life & death issue. What cause is he willing to spend American lives on? He cannot say it is al Qaeda as he showed zero interest in fighting them on the battlefield of Mespotamia where they flocked to. At the time of our invasion of Iraq, AQ was routed in Afghanistan and the only remnants were in Pakistan where we whacked them whenever they popped their heads up. His point that Iraq caused us to take our eyes off the ball there makes no sense. It was not our inattention, it was Pakistan ceding the tribal areas to the bad guys and the normal process (for these guys) of recruiting, refitting and eventually returning to Afghanistan.
He was wrong about Iraq consistently and vehemently and we barely stopped him and the Dem leadership from flat-ass losing the Iraq War to al Qaeda and Iran. I find his bellicose attitude toward the Afghan/Paki theater interesting, but I have deep questions about whether it was simply designed to inoculate him from the charge he is a pacifist (not my kind for sure). I fear that the politician who is Obama took his war positions from a votes calculus rather than a strategic one. What will he do in two years when there is no progress in Afghanistan. Will we be cutting & running then? And if so wouldn't we be better off doing so now? We can always default to the Derbyshirean "Rubble doesn't make trouble" and just flatten a bunch of camps and revisit every half year or so. I could be wrong, but I defy you to show me any coherence in Obama's positions and that worries me, because that makes the troops political pawns.