Tuesday, January 07, 2014


So I guess the whole neo-Paulite, neo-isolationist, don't-bomb-Syria, don't-drone-me-bro moment on the right is over, and now it's cool again to attack President Obama as the guy who lost Afghanistan and Iraq. Is that right? Or is it just old-school guys like Robert Gates and the guy who wrote this article about Gates's memoir, Bob Woodward?
In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president "doesn't believe in his own strategy, and doesn't consider the war to be his. For him, it's all about getting out."

Leveling one of the more serious charges that a defense secretary could make against a commander in chief sending forces into combat, Gates asserts that Obama had more than doubts about the course he had charted in Afghanistan. The president was "skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail," Gates writes in "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War."
And the lack of respect! In dealing with people in the military establishment, Obama has such a swelled head you'd think he imagines himself to be ... oh, I don't know -- commander in chief or something!
... Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the central commander in charge of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, made remarks to the press suggesting he was not comfortable with setting a fixed date to start withdrawal.

At a March 3, 2011, National Security Council meeting, Gates writes, the president opened with a "blast." Obama criticized the military for "popping off in the press" and said he would push back hard against any delay in beginning the withdrawal.

According to Gates, Obama concluded, "'If I believe I am being gamed...' and left the sentence hanging there with the clear implication the consequences would be dire."

Gates continues: "I was pretty upset myself. I thought implicitly accusing" Petraeus, and perhaps Mullen and Gates himself, "of gaming him in front of thirty people in the Situation Room was inappropriate, not to mention highly disrespectful of Petraeus...."
Disrespectful of David Petraeus! Fetch my smelling salts!

Is this (plus new trouble in Iraq, which has John McCain all worked up) a signal that it's time for the GOP to start defending George W. Bush's wildly unpopular wars? Damn, and it was just yesterday that Liz Cheney dropped out of a Senate race, accused of carpetbaggging and flip-flopping on gay marriage, but also of being out of step with her party on foreign policy. National Journal:
Liz Cheney didn't struggle in the race because of her foreign policy views. But they didn't bolster her credentials, either. That itself is a sign of how much the Republican Party has changed in the last decade. Republican candidates used to gain political traction by criticizing opponents as weak on terrorism. Now those voices find themselves leading from behind.
Dave Weigel:
... in 2013 and 2014, Cheney's quaint support for drone warfare and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put her in the minority of her party.
But maybe that's not true anymore. Maybe Liz bowed out just before the wingnut zeitgeist shifted her way again. And when Republicans hate Democrats for making us vulnerable to evil foreigners, the Republicans who wrn of the apocalypse can even be for gay marriage -- just ask Liz's dad! So maybe Liz just missed the return of her moment by a day....


Never Ben Better said...

Well, that's Bob Woodward's take on the book, and we know how much Mr. Bigfoot Journalist loves Obama. (As in, not so much.) See P.M. Carpenter's juxtaposition of two markedly differing reviews of the book:


The NYTimes review includes criticisms by Gates but also this summation:

In his final chapter, Mr. Gates makes clear his verdict on the president’s overall Afghan strategy: “I believe Obama was right in each of these decisions.”

Victor said...

To the Reich-Wingers, no matter what Obama did, does, or will do, will always be wrong - either because he is a brutal Fascistic tyrant, or a timid little Socialist kitty.

Don't ask how they can hold those same two thoughts in their concrete-lined craniums, but they do.

Knight of Nothing said...

Cleek's Law in effect?