02 December 2009

Obama as Bush? Give me a break!

I love Rachel Maddow. I really do. Her intelligent and well-parsed commentary and debate are a joy to watch.

That said, I highly and respectfully disagree with last night's piece on President Obama's Afghanistan war policy...

Obama as Bush? Give me a break!

Look, I'm a lefty but I'm no dove, yet I am not a hawk either. Like President Obama, I am not against all wars, I am simply against dumb ones. Iraq was a war of choice, fought illegally on the wings of a lie, at the expense of the real war in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Had the previous president kept his eye on the ball we would be wrapping this up right now. But he detoured, and now his predecessor is forced to finish the fight and clean up the mess.

This move should shock and disappoint no one. (NO ONE.) My fellow compatriots on the left who are crying foul this morning obviously weren't paying attention during last year's presidential campaign. Mr. Obama made no secret of his desire to wind things down in Iraq so that we could tidy things up in Afghanistan. Am I thrilled? No. In a perfect world we'd pull out. But to have watched last year's presidential campaign and then turn around and act shocked and dismayed at this decision flies in the face of reality.

And to compare Mr. Obama's new Afghan policy to the irresponsible and incompetent policy of the Bush/Cheney team is over the top and an insult to those of us who voted for Mr. Obama with the knowledge (however much we disagreed with it) that he was going to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan. Mr. Bush shot from the hip, making snap decisions without fully fleshing out the pros and cons (thus, the mess Mr. Obama inherited last January). I for one am extremely content with the knowledge that President Obama and his team took the time to talk this through, time and time again, over the course of several months, to come up with what they felt was the right approach. Whether it will succeed only time will tell. But the grown-ups were at the table for this one. And I sleep better at night knowing that.