The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On General McChrystal’s pending request for more troops in Afghanistan:

The president is stuck and he appears to be undecided. I think it is somewhat remarkable for the president in the middle of a war, after he has been the commander in chief for over eight months, to admit he doesn’t have a strategy — so he doesn’t want to commit the forces until he has a strategy.

Well, he needs a strategy while our troops are out in the field. And if the reports about what McChrystal is asking for [30,000 to 40,000 more troops] are true, that really is going to be a giant leap.

This is a situation of all in or not in at all. And I think it’s the right kind of decision, because McChrystal — and, of course, General Petraeus, who is the conceiver and the man who carried out the surge in Iraq — has a sense that you either have to do it right or you don’t try it at all.

Now, Obama’s problem is this: His political advisors are completely against anything of this kind. They don’t want him to become LBJ, the man with the great domestic program brought down by an unwinnable counterinsurgency.

They don’t want to lose their left, and they will. There’s no support among Democrats of any importance in the house and the Senate.

But lastly, I think the political insiders are loathe to be dependent on Republicans if they escalate the war. They are going to have to depend on the likes of Joe Lieberman to get them through this, and that’s a wedding none of them want to attend.

On whether Obama will accept McChrystal’s request:

If that’s what the general has asked, the president will have to say yes. This is a rookie who has no experience in this.

And if it were an Eisenhower in the White House, he could tell the generals, “That number is too high. I have experience in the Second World War.” Obama will say, “I was a community organizer and those numbers are too high”? I think not.

Democrats have a reputation of being soft on national security. That’s why they cynically inflated the importance of Afghanistan when they campaigned in ‘04 and ‘08, knowing that their heart was not really in it.

 Obama has to make a decision and it is going to have to be up or down. I’m not sure he has a compromise here.

On Jimmy Carter’s charge that Obama’s opponents are motivated by racism:

I think there are people who genuinely believe this, and then I think there are a lot of people who don’t, but who want to use it as a way to stifle opposition and debate.

Look, in the Bush years, we were told that dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Obama himself as a candidate once used a formulation like that in talking about his refusal to wear a flag pin.

And now, dissent used to be the highest form of patriotism, and now it’s the lowest form of racism. In August and over the summer, it [dissent] was a form of mob rule, a demonstration of anger, unruliness, anarchy, and now it has gotten worse.

Look, this charge is so stupid. It is also so offensive, and it’s [so] lacking in any evidence of any kind that…this only helps the Republicans. And that’s why the White House is not playing into it.

It will increase the intensity of the opponents of Obama healthcare and the [other Obama] policies, because people don’t want to be told when they genuinely disagree with a policy that the reason is the lowest of all reasons, namely, racism.

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