in which i find myself frightened and confused...

...because Ann Coulter is nearly making sense:

Obama hasn't ramped up the war in Afghanistan based on a careful calculation of America's strategic objectives. He did it because he was trapped by his own rhetorical game of bashing the Iraq war while pretending to be a hawk on Afghanistan.

At this point, Afghanistan is every bit as much Obama's war as Vietnam was Lyndon Johnson's war. True, President Kennedy was the first to send troops to Vietnam. We had 16,000 troops in Vietnam when JFK was assassinated. Within four years, LBJ had sent 400,000 troops there.

In the entire seven-year course of the Afghanistan war under Bush, from October 2001 to January 2009, 625 American soldiers were killed. In 18 short months, Obama has nearly doubled that number to 1,124 Americans killed.

Republicans used to think seriously about deploying the military. [emphasis added] President Eisenhower sent aid to South Vietnam, but said he could not "conceive of a greater tragedy" for America than getting heavily involved there.

As Michael Steele correctly noted, every great power that's tried to stage an all-out war in Afghanistan has gotten its ass handed to it. Everyone knows it's not worth the trouble and resources to take a nation of rocks and brigands...

But now I hear it is the official policy of the Republican Party to be for all wars, irrespective of our national interest.

It should be said that she argues in the same piece that Iraq was/is a war in our "national interest", a view I do not share. Still, I think she makes an excellent point that the Democrats spent the last decade complaining about a lack of engagement in Afghanistan and are now painted into a corner by their own rhetoric.

We're in an escalating war in Afghanistan without any clear objectives for victory not because we need to be, but because Barack Obama (like nearly every nationally prominent Democrat since the 70's) doesn't want to look like a pussy.


RW said...

And if she could just step away from hackisms she might even be readable.

Brian said...

I really thought pre-9/11 Coulter was worth reading. Not that I always agreed with her even then, but she made her case well and with an entertaining bit of nastiness.

I really think that after 9/11 she got too much attention for the nasty polemics (rather than the well-made case) and decided to go with it to make money. In the process, she kind of became a parody of herself.

Kind of the Robert DeNiro of right-wing punditry, IMHO.

RW said...

The populist pundits of the Right have hit a literal goldmine. How else could we explain it? Both the American Spectator and the National Review have expressed the gravest of doubts about Governor Palin and the influence she is wielding, but who in the crowd at Tea Parties even knows what those publications are or, for that matter, ever read article one from either?

I think "dumbing-down" may sound like an elitist term, but what else do we call it?

"Liberal" and "Conservative" are not bad words. They each help identify legitimate arguments. Many conservatives I knew were once known as "classic liberals." They can't call themselves that any longer because the toxicity of the dialog has tuned these mild-mannered references into bombs to be hurled.

Sad to say, since there's not as many on the Left to point at, the pundits from the Right have more to answer for when the question of polarization comes up.

Brian said...

Too true, and that at a time when the National Review is a pale shadow of its former self as it is.

I think the pseudo-intellectualism of Glen Beck et al is infinitely more dangerous than the anti-intellectualism that used to characterize the (popular) American right (all the way back in, say, the 1990's.) It's one thing to take pride in a simple-minded view of the world, but it's another thing entirely to liberally (heh) mix fact with conspiratorial lunacy and believe that you have It All Figured Out.

Jesus, not even lunchtime and I feel like a big stiff drink.

The next post is going to be about dick jokes or something, I swear.

RW said...

(btw just a reference to what I was saying.

I don't want a hockey mom in the White House any more than I want to see a comedian from Minnesota in the Senate. But the more shit we shovel at one another, the more stuff like that we're going to see. God forbid, they once asked Governor Palin if she thought the US should hold out war as an option in the Russian-Georgian conflict that was going on at the time and her answer was "possibly so."

I blame Morton Downey Jr for it all.

Dave said...

It seems to me that recent politicians have not realized the long-term consequences of their short term rhetoric. GWB used Wilsonian internationalist rhetoric with respect to the Iraq War because that's what apparently gained traction with the public. The consequence was that it significantly elevated the standard of "victory" beyond what was reasonably obtainable. Likewise, Democrats labeled Afghanistan the necessary war, to subtly imply that Iraq was the un-necessary war without actually saying as much. The consequence now that Democrats are in power is that they have to act on the substance of their rhetoric...Obama apparently did not stop to consider the potential consequences of his campaign rhetoric on his administration. But as we apparently saw this week, politicians should be readily excused of saying/doing silly things when those things are required to get elected. We shouldn't seriously expect politicians to be held accountable for their pre-election statements. (I'm still annoyed about the whole Byrd funeral eulogy)

Dave said...

And I think we can all agree that the Iraq theater is *vitally* important, at least until late November 2010.

I know I see it that way.

Brian said...

I know you do.

Normally, I would feel foolish for having believed what politician says in order to get elected. In this case, I didn't take Obama's campaign talk on Afghanistan too seriously...I took him for more of a peacenik than he actually has turned out to be.

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...