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I can’t figure out what is the worst thing to come out of this Washington Post article on the new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Let me mention several candidates for worst news:

1. It basically confirms Carl Scott’s suspicion (in this long-ago No Left Turns thread). Obama’s opposition to Bush’s surge in Iraq and Obama’s argument that Afghanistan was the real war that he would pursue to victory were both examples of sociopathic show biz politics.

2. The glad-handing senatorial windbag who is vice president makes President Obama look like a combination of Aristotle, Churchill and Einstein.

3. If you only take the public relations elements of Obama’s actions into account, he played it just right when it comes to public opinion. He promised to expand forces in Afghanistan during the 2008 campaign, followed through just enough so he could say the promise was formally kept, and then triangulated against his own counter-insurgency policy as public support faded for a policy he was not willing to invest in explaining. It’s not bad strategy if you are all right with undermining the chances of success of an operation that is costing American lives and making it more likely that the Taliban will take over Afghanistan.


More on: Foreign Affairs

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