Krauthammer’s devastating critique of Obama’s Afghan Speech

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Skynet, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. Krauthammer’s devastating critique of Obama’s Afghanistan speech

    By Nile Gardiner World Last updated: December 4th, 2009

    Charles Krauthammer, the most influential conservative columnist in the United States today, has written a damning indictment of Barack Obama’s West Point speech for The Washington Post. The whole article deserves to be read widely on both sides of the Atlantic, and here are some key excerpts:
    What a strange speech it was — a call to arms so ambivalent, so tentative, so defensive.
    Which made his last-minute assertion of “resolve unwavering” so hollow. It was meant to be stirring. It fell flat. In August, he called Afghanistan “a war of necessity.” On Tuesday night, he defined “what’s at stake” as “the common security of the world.” The world, no less. Yet, we begin leaving in July 2011?
    Does he think that such ambivalence is not heard by the Taliban, by Afghan peasants deciding which side to choose, by Pakistani generals hedging their bets, by NATO allies already with one foot out of Afghanistan

  2. Hmmmmmmmm

    Right wing reporter writes a right wing article on a democratic politician, for a right wing newspaper - reported on by . . . . . . a right wing newspaper.

    Huge story - deserves a thread.

  3. Krauthammer is an idiot but the speech was flat. He does nail the rhetorical money shot: "because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own.".

    This speech was not meant to soar. It was aimed at Barry O's base who are none too keen on this going abroad to slay dragons shtick. He's in the run up to 2012 and watching the dismal numbers on support for the venture. You could read it less as military strategy but the best balance of options and spin for getting him over the next electoral hump something that his predecessor was equally obsessed with to disastrous affect. I recall Fallujah#2 being shamelessly choreographed around an undeserved second term.

    Barry is not pumping his troops up for victory or even selling the long grind that realistically would be necessary. As in Iraq victory is being defined down to getting out without a regional collapse. Making some space for political progress which is exceedingly unlikely to happen in these corrupt middens.

    He did a very poor job on pimping the vital Pakistani side of the equation and that may be because any sort of grand bargain with the Pak Military is vapor. If this speech was aimed at anybody abroad it's them. The sordid reality is the chaps in Rawalpindi are none too pleased either with DC signaling its patience and commitment is limited or even a modest escalation North of the Durand. They have their own opposed interests to look after and are confidently preparing to be pandered too.

    As for their chums the "good talibans": those boys waited out the Red Army and you can bet their default assumption is they'll do it again with Uncle Sam. It's not the electorally useful desire to draw down in 2011 or even exit in 2017 that will encourage them so much as any sign of the lack of an enduring and serious commitment. Let's face it that started to fade the moment we cakewalked to Baghdad.
  4. So the right-wing Telegraph prints an article by even more right-wing Nile Gardiner praising an article by neo-Con Charles Krauthammer.

    Hold the Front Page!

    Sorry whet. Should have read yours first!

  5. Oh right, we'd better only discuss news articles from entirely objective sources who have absolutely no personal political viewpoint whatsoever.

    That'll leave a pretty empty current affairs forum.
  6. We are discussing it aren't we? Whet an I are pointing out that it has less than zero credibility when two Faux News commentators publish an article in a rightist paper attacking a speech by a centrist.

    You'd be better off here:

    President Obama channels George W. Bush in his speech announcing the deployment of an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan.
  7. It's not just The Right Wing websites that are not too happy.

  8. I think it does deserve a thread - Skynet is simply producing a point of view article that inevitably leads to very interesting debate
  9. There you go. You can either quote an article in a right-wing newspaper written by a right-wing Faux news contributor extolling the virtues of a diatribe by a neo-Con, or you can watch Jon Stewart, or even read the Daily Kos. None of them are particularly happy with the speech - but for completely different reasons.

    Krauthammer, BTW, is a nut.
  10. Seconded, along with other non-serving chickenhawk commentators
    like Mark Stein who have been consistently wrong over these last eight years.

    It does not matter what Obama decided he would still be criticised.
    Funny how those who neglected Afghanistan for their other dire diversion are always overlooked when blame is apportioned.
  11. Can you expand on your comment. I take it you are commenting about George Bush, and his strategy on Afghanistan after 11/9.
    What would you have done different?
  12. Krauthammer an idiot Alib? I think not. Obama a centrist? Who's the idiot?
  13. Obama would love to have a situation where the only sides he has to balance is the left and right wings of the United States. The left are a long way from defecting and will catch themselves on as soon as they figure out that their ideas about who Obama was were radically different from what he actually presented himself as in the campaign.

    Unfortunately, though, Obama has a number of other games going on. Not only does he have the rather nebulous Pakistani situation to try and fathom- and running off at the gob too far one way or the other could land him in all kinds of bother there, but he also has to somehow convey to Karzai et al that sooner or later they'll be on their own and will have to sink or swim by themselves. The speech also had to speak to the tribal leaders and it had to speak to the Taliban. Obama's opponents have argued that announcing a timeline for withdrawal will just make them lie low until 2011, at which point they can bounce back, but it's not that simple. They need money and they need support to keep going. If they hide out, they're not going to be able to control the opium crop, they're not going to be able to mount attacks that keep them in the news and keep the money rolling in from outside.
    Meanwhile, we'd get to control the news with fluffy bunny stories about putting them on the back foot (even if they are just hiding) and rebuilding the place. Coupled with an idea of when the op will draw down this makes the war an easier sell for other NATO Governments to sell their publics on the value of contributing forces. We've already had Rasmussen announcing that the increased NATO commitment will be about 40% above what the Seppos were hoping for.

    And there is no way Krauthammer is the most influential Conservative columnist in America. He's a dyed in the wool neocon who holds about as much sway as Dick Cheney does these days- he gets talked about by Fox Noise and the rest of the country might look up with an air of "What's that cnut saying now?" and then go back to what they were doing before.
  14. First you don't start another war until you have the first one under control and properly resourced.
    But in truth the possibility of "winning" Afghanistan was all but lost when the bombing started in October '01,
    and the choice of the Northern Alliance as partners.

    Compounded by ignorance, arrogance and emotion, a number of crucial decisions were made in these early months that set Afghanistan on the slippery slope to where it is today.
    The choice of Karzai is a case in point - pushtun-lite with no real tribal following - don't forget he had to be extracted a number of times before Bonn.
    There were other credible Pushtun strongmen options.

    The merits of the Iraq calamity don't require rehashing in this thread.
    However, there is a correlation of this military diversion with the resurgence of the Afghan Taliban,
    coupled with the birth of a Pakistani Taliban that has even graver consequences today.

  15. I of course agree with this. If we take the point of view of Whet we would all have a very restricted number of threads on the site. The point of starting a thread is surely to stimulate debate which of course is the life blood of ARRSE. I think we call it democratic debate!