The Corner

Whom is Barack Obama Afraid of? — Another Barack Obama

One of the reasons why President Obama may be hesitating to commit fully to a renewed Afghan front is that he is worried that political opportunists might seek to gain advantage by loud rhetoric that unfairly simplifies the bad and worse choices, that he, like all other presidents in time of war, are confronted with.

In other words, he fears someone very much like an on-the-rise Barack Obama himself — who in 2007 in loud fashion demanded that all combat brigades leave Iraq by March 2008 and then flat-out declared to the nation that “the surge is not working” (a mantra for months posted on his website until Trotskyized in summer 2008). Ditto all that with Guantanamo, elements of homeland security, and Iran — and one can see that Obama knows first-hand the opportunities for demagogic and unprincipled political ankle-biting that a decisive wartime president invites. After all, what president, after making a tough decision to surge into Afghanistan, wants a young charismatic rival barnstorming the nation, without evidence assuring the public that “the surge is not working!”