Thursday, December 3, 2009

A response. . .

Chris Edwards is a fine writer, who's reported around these parts for years. She sent me this response to yesterday's post, "Obama's West Point Speech," and I thought, for the good of our ongoing conversation here in WMRA Land,  it was worth a posting unto itself.
I noticed how young those faces in the audience at West Point looked. And how President Obama has gotten thinner since last winter, and acquired gray hairs. 

As a 95 percent pacifist, I danced on tables on election night ‘08, despite remaining skeptical about his stand on Afghanistan (which by the way seems to have remained consistent).

Didn’t most of the 9-11 attackers come from Saudi Arabia, and do their covert scheming in the USA & Europe? Why is Afghanistan so crucial? I’m still puzzled, and inadequately informed, tonight, after listening to Ambassador Susan Rice take tough questions from Rachel Maddow. 

Could there be gains worth more of our soldiers dying? More civilians? Afghan children?

Obama’s speech, though, dramatically contrasted with most presidents’ war speeches; he seemed to level with us about selecting the most pragmatic from among a menu of no really good choices. No rah-rahs (as hawks lament). I came away convinced he has studied the issue intently, solicited advice from many experts (some no doubt self-interested), and become convinced that it would jeopardize our safety not to push on in Afghanistan. 

Maybe he’s right, I thought.

Yet each friend and relative I happened to discuss the issue with or see emails from today calls the move a disaster. They say Obama has sold out. Some say he has become identical to Bush (a clueless assessment that calls to mind the Naderites of 2000 and their “Gush vs. Bore” blasts, and where that got us). A knowledgeable friend predicts certain defeat for Obama in 2012.   

If that’s right, then, given today’s political climate, the Mayan forecast about the world ending in 2012 may take on a chilling reality, and peace won’t be part of it.

There is a hint of gloating in these forecasts from fellow-progressives. Of course, some seem to thrive on being marginalized and awaiting doom. It could be addictive, but I don’t have room for it. I have grandkids (and the oldest has been drifting since finishing high school this spring. He's thought of enlisting. The training, discipline, etc. might be good for him, but combat wouldn't). 

I want to mostly avoid discussing the issue. People around me are mad; I’m just sad.

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