Hours after President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, The New York Times printed the news that he plans to gradually withdraw "American combat forces" from
The president’s speech had little to say about the plans for escalation, but the few words will come back to haunt: "With our friends and allies, we will forge a new and comprehensive strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to defeat Al Qaida and combat extremism, because I will not allow terrorists to plot against the American people from safe havens halfway around the world. We will not allow it."
Obama didn’t mention the additional number of US troops – 17,000 – that he has just ordered to
Get the message? In his first speech to Congress, the new president threw down a 90-month-old gauntlet, reaffirming the notion that committing to war halfway around the world – in
And so, a colossal and fateful blunder, made by a very smart leader, arguably our best and brightest, is careening forward with the help of silence that defers all too readily to power. This is how the war in
The reasons the war in
Those who are fond of talking and writing about President Obama’s admirable progressive values will, sooner or later, need to come to terms with the particulars of his actual policies. In foreign affairs, the realities now include the ominous pairing of his antiterrorism rhetoric and his avowed commitment to ratchet up the
I don’t often make predictions, but I’m confident about this one: Within a few years, some members of Congress, and leaders of some progressive groups with huge email lists, will look back with regret as they recall their failure to clearly and openly oppose the pivotal escalation of the Afghan war.
They could save themselves a lot of shame, and save others their lives, by speaking out sooner rather than later. In the process, they might help save the Obama presidency from running aground in
Norman Solomon is the author of "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death," which has been adapted into a documentary film of the same name. For video of his appearance on C-SPAN’s "Washington Journal" to discuss Obama and the war in