Conventional drift, stated with eloquence
Andrew Sullivan’s post, which was written before Obama’s speech, seems about right to me:
... everything I hear sounds like conventional drift to me – Bush’s policy with a much more interesting and intelligent discussion beforehand. So instead of staying in neo-colonial occupation against an insurgency that now feeds off US intervention with no real strategy, we will stay in neo-colonial occupation against an insurgency that now feeds off US intervention with lots of super-smart defenses of the indefensible. Great.
I guess my general feeling is that I’ve heard nothing that makes Afghanistan deserve such a special place in our foreign policy planning. Sure, it’s a war-torn place rife with religious extremism, but unfortunately, that doesn’t make it unique in this world. The next September 11th could come out of Somalia, say, or any of a dozen other hotspots on the planet. Are we really saying it’s our job to occupy and economically develop every last one of these places for the next few decades? Empires decline when they overreach.
I can’t say I’m super-disappointed in Obama, though. He’s not King; he’s President, and he reports to an entire country of people, many of whom can’t stomach anything that looks like surrender. Personally I think there’s no shame in acknowledging past mistakes and changing direction, but then nobody would be fool enough to vote for me as President.