Bob Herbert’s op-ed piece in the New York Times is devastating. President Obama will announce this evening that he plans on sending thousands of American troops to Afghanistan. According to Herbert, this is a war that “has lasted most of the decade and has long since failed. ” Anti-War Democrats who thought Obama was the Messiah of peace have now discovered that he is as intensely hawkish as the Bush administration. While Obama supporters praised Obama for deliberating, seeking advice from others before making a wise decision, Obama proved that his deliberation stemmed from answering the question “What is more politically expedient?”
It would have been much more difficult for Mr. Obama to look this troubled nation in the eye and explain why it is in our best interest to begin winding down the permanent state of warfare left to us by the Bush and Cheney regime.
Obama is no ideologue. Bush was. Bush was a warmonger and he liked being one. Obama compromises. After all, with 2010 elections coming along, being truthful and honorable is not a political characteristic. Herbert is right: “Politicians are seldom honest when they talk publicly about warfare.” No doubt invading Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001 was right and proper, but that “war was botched and lost by the Bush crowd, and Barack Obama does not have a magic wand now to make it all better.” As Herbert concludes:
We still haven’t learned to recognize real strength, which is why it so often seems that the easier choice for a president is to keep the troops marching off to war.