The image comes from Tom Friedman describing the Obama decision last week as like “an unemployed couple who just went out and decided to adopt a special-needs baby,” to which he might have added “from a family that deals drugs and rear it in a neighborhood where the kids steal each others’ lunch money.”
All the President’s Men (and Hillary Clinton) are on the TV circuit to sell the Stop-and-Go Surge, along with senior media pundits to parse it, but the babble boils down to what the Administration denies it is trying to do: nation-building in a place with no real history of nationhood.
In the Sunday New York Times and Washington Post are long reports about the months-long debate leading up to the Decision.
The Times describes how “a young commander in chief set in motion a high-stakes gamble to turn around a losing war… to send 30,000 troops mostly in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after that, betting that a quick jolt of extra forces could knock the enemy back on its heels enough for the Afghans to take over the fight.”
The Post discloses that, after “one revelatory discussion,” the White House team “changed their chief objective from trying to eliminate the Taliban to making sure insurgents could no longer threaten the Afghan government’s survival. The new strategy would include a closer relationship with Pakistan, along with a warning that the United States would step up its action against al-Qaeda camps in that country if the Pakistanis did not do it themselves.”
If any of this deep-dish analysis makes any more sense than George W. Bush’s cocky certainty as the Decider, it’s hard to see it.
While respecting Barack Obama for his intellect, seriousness and honesty, it’s hard to see how we are not in the same never-neverland, only without the Neo-Con arrogance.