Well, any lingering hopes that Obama was something different can now be out of their misery. He’s just another American establishment politician after all. Drawing on the rhetoric of 9/11 Obama has committed to an escalation in Afghanistan:
WASHINGTON – President Obama unveiled his plan Tuesday night to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, declaring the safety of the American people rides on winning the long, bloody fight there against Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies.
“I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Obama told a solemn assembly of U.S. Army cadets at West Point and a national television audience. “This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by Al Qaeda.”
This is a move which seeks to defy the lessons of history, both with respect to Afghanistan (“the graveyard of empires”) and America’s recent military performance (the “surge” in Iraq). “Success” is unlikely. Particularly so given that, in trying to offer some hope to an electorate that voted for change, Obama also set a deadline, July 2011, to begin withdrawing American troops. As many commentators have pointed out:
President Barack Obama’s effort Tuesday night to reassure Democrats who oppose the deployment of another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and to emphasize a U.S. exit strategy […] could backfire. … “It’s a big mistake,” a U.S. defense official, who requested anonymity to speak freely, said of Obama’s announcement that a U.S. withdrawal would begin in 19 months. “It just tells the Taliban and everyone else how long they need to last.”
Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Obama’s disaster – as much of the media reaction has put it: “Afghanistan is President Obama’s war now”.