Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Obama’s Deadly Strategy of “Compromise”

The announcement of the announcement of President Obama's decision to make a decision to possibly, maybe increase troops in Afghanistan came across with all the power and majesty of Churchill's We Shall Fight Them speech. Or not so much.

The setting for the absurd public "leak" of yet another prime-time speech came across with all the authenticity of one of those fake documentaries like The Office or The Modern Family: It was contrived, slightly awkward, and ultimately laughable. It would be even more funny if so many people’s lives didn’t rest on his decisions; such is the nature of life in the magical land of Hopenchange.

The risible projection of Obama as a commanding military leader while responding to the over-eager probes of the sycophantic navel-gazing press contrasted mightily with his simultaneously fawned persona of a pensive cerebral man of the world. It is mighty hard to imagine George S. Patton hemming and hawing as if he were lecturing at an academic symposium before issuing his decision to make a decision to increase troops and "finish the job."

Further muddying the waters is Obama's self-serving pronouncement that the military strategy in Afghanistan under Bush lacked clear vision, sufficient manpower, ample resources and was carried out "with not enough urgency.” This would be more apt criticism if it were not issued by a president ostensibly gauging the number of troops to be sent (now estimated to be 30,000) based on polling rather than in accordance with the request of the top commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal for about 60,000 troops. Obama’s intermittent bellicose posturing would also be more convincing if his own party had not presented roadblock after roadblock during the Bush administration to frustrate the military's aggressive prosecution of the wars overseas. And the president’s remarks would also be more salient if he had not made these same criticisms in March, when in self-congratulatory fashion he unveiled his "comprehensive new strategy" for Afghanistan and Pakistan, which he claimed marked the "conclusion of a careful policy review that he ordered as soon as he took office."

When Obama just recently proclaimed with repetitive finality that he had made a decision to make a decision whether or not to send more troops to Afghanistan, he was careful to appear thoughtful and deliberative for his rabid anti-war audience and authoritative for his Bible-toting, gun-clinging "neocon" audience. This triangulation is often thought of in academic circles as marking the thought of a sophisticated intellectual and conditions the perception that Obama's decision will be based on "compromise" between conflicting political interests. Thus we are not surprised to hear Obama to announce that he is sending about 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan, as this is the "pain threshold" that marks the dividing line of tolerance within the crucially important "moderate" camp. But such "satisficing" of groups can often lead to inferior decision-making. In no case is this truer than when applied to warfare.

Military theorist Carl Von Clausewitz, in his seminal treatise On War, goes through great pangs to illustrate that one must know one's political objectives before fighting a war. This is the point underlying his famous statement, "War is the continuation of policy by other means." There is sufficient cause to suspect that Obama is a follower of the Primat der Innenpolitik school of politics, which sees foreign policy as driven by domestic policy. This is a powerful theory for deciphering Obama's actions: He is simultaneously playing the part of strong, visionary leader for his conservative audience and peaceful diplomatist for his leftist audience. But this is fatal in warfare, according to Clausewitz' advisement. One cannot carry out a war that was intended to defeat a brutal clandestine enemy and deprive them from using a country as a base of operations, while ultimately seeking to resolve political disagreements among clashing interests. Obama cannot do the tough talk routine that he is fighting Al Qaeda (with no mention of the Taliban) and its allies while inviting the "moderate elements" of the Taliban, the brutal regime that terrorized the Afghan people, to take part in a provisional government. This is a vivid example of Obama's moral equivocation and the shortcomings of the philosophical school of pragmatism: Can one imagine the moderate members of the Nazis being invited to take part in the post-war government of the Republic of Germany?

We must come to terms with the reality that Obama is a marxist, and sees the world as an interrelated whole. Thus the causal mechanism for all suffering and injustice in his eyes is inequality. If the United States seeks to defeat an enemy, it is automatically an oppressor. If it fights a war in a foreign country, it is inherently neo-colonialist. If it seeks to expand trade, it is certainly neo-imperialist. If it is more economically successful, it is intrinsically exploitative. If it is patriotic, it is virulently nationalistic.

Nihilism, and its philosophical progeny moral relativism and political correctness, has been used by America's enemies to morally incapacitate the nation and prevent it from vigorously promoting its self-interests. Marxism, the philosophy of economic destruction and statism, has produced a vision of equality that entails in reality an ever-entrenched state redistributing wealth from the successful to the less successful; all while oligarchs build a patron-client network under the rubric of democracy. Islamism works hand in hand with both of these ideologies to destroy the United States as a bastion of freedom. Moral relativism and the victim narratives of the Marxist left signal Islamists to violently go on the offensive. Such is the signal we can make out from Obama's political decision to provide the war criminals of the United States with all the amenities of a civilian trial. It is an open invitation for perpetual conflict.

What the less strident leftists need to realize is that when fighting with a mortal enemy such as the Islamic jihadists, the compassionate thing to do is not to compromise with them but to end them. This requires decisive and deadly action and the moral fortitude and clarity to carry it out. Commander-in-Chief is not a position for the morally challenged or for pontificaters spilling out platitudes as if they were vying for first place in a popularity contest. It requires the character and strength to make unsavory and unpopular decisions in the interest of protecting the nation long after one has left office. It requires the courage and humility of a man like George W. Bush.

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