December 1, 2009

It's because of what America IS...

You've probably already seen this piece by Byron York, Obama keeps his Afghan promise, but Dems crumble. It's worth a read.

The dilemma the Democrats are in is exquisite. Not just because they are now stuck with campaign promises that were in fact lies. On a deeper level, America simply does not abandon allies. We believe we should be trustworthy. The one occasion when we did abandon an ally, South Vietnam, is still a point of extreme sensitivity. And that wasn't "America's" action, it was the Democrat Party which had suddenly been handed power ofter a Republican scandal. And which immediately used that power for evil, handing an ally who had trusted us over to communist tyranny and mass-murder.

Now the electoral fluke of 2008 has again handed them great power, and the chance to express the nothingness in their hearts. But they gained that power by promising to do what America has always believed in, keeping faith with our friends! (Although the promise was packaged as an excuse to betray another ally, the democratically elected government of Iraq—ironies within ironies!.)

...And yet, in the 2008 presidential season, from the Democratic primaries to the general election, Democrats felt required to promise to step up the war in Afghanistan. Was it because the Democratic base that now opposes escalation supported it back then? No. A Gallup poll in August 2007 — in the midst of the Democratic primary race — found that just 41 percent of Democrats supported sending more U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan.

If the base didn't support it, then why did candidates promise it? Because Democratic voters and candidates were playing a complex game. Nearly all of them hated the war in Iraq and wanted to pull Americans out of that country. But they were afraid to appear soft on national security, so they pronounced the smaller conflict in Afghanistan one they could support. Many of them didn't, really, but for political expediency they supported candidates who said they did. Thus the party base signed on to a good war-bad war strategy.

"One of the things that I think is critical, as the next president, is to make absolutely certain that we not only phase out the Iraq war but we also focus on the critical battle that we have in Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda," Obama said at a Democratic candidates' debate in New Hampshire in June 2007. The war in Iraq, Obama continued, "is an enormous distraction from the battle that does have to be waged in Afghanistan."

"There isn't any doubt that Afghanistan has been neglected," said chief Obama rival — and now Secretary of State — Hillary Clinton at a debate in April 2008. "It has not gotten the resources that it needs."
. Other top Democrats adopted the get-tough approach, at least when it came time to campaign.  In September 2006, as she was leading the effort that would result in Democrats taking over the House and her becoming speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said George W. Bush "took his eye off the ball" in Afghanistan. "We had a presence over there the past few years, but not to the extent that we needed to get the job done," Pelosi said. The phrase "took his eye off the ball" became a Democratic mantra about the supposed neglect of Afghanistan — a situation that would be remedied by electing ready-to-fight Democrats.

But now, with Democrats in charge of the entire U.S. government and George Bush nowhere to be found, Pelosi and others in her party are suddenly very, very worried about U.S. escalation in Afghanistan.  "There is serious unrest in our caucus," the speaker said recently.  There is so much unrest that Democrats who show little concern about the tripling of already-large budget deficits say they're worried about the rising cost of the war.

It is in that atmosphere that Obama makes his West Point speech.  He had to make certain promises to get elected.  Unlike some of his supporters, he has to remember those promises now that he is in office.  So he is sending more troops.  But he still can't tell the truth about so many Democratic pledges to support the war in Afghanistan: They didn't mean it....
Posted by John Weidner at December 1, 2009 6:57 AM
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