War Presidents’ Arrogance

What is it about the self-aggrandizing nature of presidents who serve during or precipitate their own wars? One needs only look at the puffed-up GW Bush for an easy explicit example of the phenomenon. Also, apparently, Barack Obama has slipped into that mold. Last evening he could have boldly announced the end of our ‘combat mission’ in Afghanistan and ordered 95% of our troops home by Christmas or VE/VJ Day. But no. No backbone, no courage- just political maneuvering for a second term.

Pathetic does not cover it all.  Barbaric, idiotic or ghastly would be proper adjectives for his ‘decision’ yesterday.

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5 thoughts on “War Presidents’ Arrogance

  1. mudrake,
    Obama’s speech did nothing for me, either. In spite of all the bullshit on isolation being mouthed by the McCain-Graham crowd, it is well past time that we get out of Iraq AND Afghanistan!

  2. Muddy,
    While I usually agree with you (and you reflect, btw, the same opinion as my blogging partner, with whom I also usually agree) I am going to respectfully disagree with you about last night’s speech.

    I did not see Obama display any of the smirking arrogance that so consistently characterized “W”, nor did I see any of the abuse of language, or the stupidity that was typical of the previous administration.

    We don’t have access to the same information that determines policy. I personally would love to see us out of Afghanistan as soon as possible; but I am at the same time very concerned with how our actions there have destabilized THAT part of the world, just as they destabilized the middle east when we invaded Iraq unnecessarily.

    Despite Obama’s administration having finally gotten bin Laden, I have a deep concern that we not have to go back and do this all over again, only this time from a position of being seriously weakened by a decade of multiple wars. It deeply concerns me that if we leave, terrorists could again use that part of the world, much more freely than they do now, to wage further terrorism on the U.S., and on other countries in the west.

    Bush blew it; for the entire eight years of his administration his foreign policy and his domestic policies were equally disastrous. Our position in Afghanistan – and Pakistan, and other countries in the region – is like the proverbial lady riding the tiger. We are at risk while riding the tiger, but even more vulnerable trying to get off the tiger’s back.

    Beyond that is the balancing act we have to manage between our ally (and competitor) India, and our “frenemy”-trading partner-competitor-debt holder, China.

    I believe Obama is trying to get us out SAFELY, so far as that is possible. I don’t envy him the job, least of all not after the loss of Richard Holbrooke, and now Jon Huntsman as our Ambassador to China.

  3. Obama’s problem is that he is stuck with having to withdraw from a no-win situation. To be quite honest, the US and NATO should not have meddled in Afghanistan (or Iraq, or…), but they can’t just say “OH, this was a mistake and we are leaving now”. From a logistical standpoint, you can’t just have several thousand troops leave the country. From a tactical standpoint, this is admitting failure.

    So, instead of admitting failure, the US is saying that its business is done and it can now leave, sort of. Even this token withdrawl still leaves more troops than when Obama took office.

    We can add that there will be people who will be saying what a poor decision Obama is making that he is now withdrawing troops, even though a couple of days before they were saying he was bad for having them there.

    It amazes me that anyone would want to be the US president these days.

  4. My oh my, Jack to say that “In spite of all the bullshit on isolation being mouthed by the McCain-Graham crowd…. ” is quite the spin, isn’t it? It’s not just GOP “bullshit” as there is enogh Democrats on board with them, namely, Sen. Kerry. Now, there is one for us. The anti-war protester in the late ’60s and early ’70s and then in 2004 the anti war Democratic candidate for President who couldn’t deal with a silly ad that doomed his presidential campaign. Now, he’s joining arms with McCain to further militarism. We get no where by entering the “spin zone”.

  5. “War Presidents’ Arrogance” is an interesting statement by itself. My “heat oppressed brain” literally is taxed right now as we have no air conditioning at the house. The repair man, uh huh, is to be here sometime this early morning. Oh, btw, we got moved up the list because we said we were an elderly couple with health issues. First time I have ever used age to discriminate, lol…Well, it is true!. Anyway, only mention that as my comment is probably not very moderate sitting here under a ceiling fan sweating. Our house only cooled down naturally to 86 during the night! Two days without air takes it toll. And, being frugal, eating all our meals out hasn’t been helpful either. However, it does make a Yankee understand a little better what life was like here in the Deep South before A C.

    So, Obama is “arrogant”, eh? Maybe it is we who are the arrogant ones. Do you ever consider that? Who elected him? Who worked for his election? Who used their resources to put him in this position? Were we fooled?

    As the bloggers here know, my comments have often been around the theme, “there isn’t a dimes worth of difference between a Republican and a Democrat”, as a parapharse of the quote of Gov. George Wallace in 1968. Moreover, once a candidate becomes President, they have usually moved to be more aggressive in foreign policy. Finally, there should be no doubt of what Obama intended for Afghanistan as he spelled it out during the debates and campaign in 2008. He said he would increase our involvement in Afghanistan, did he not? Where were the protests at West Central and Secor a year ago when Obama sanctioned the surge and called for an increase of 33,000 troops? Where were our letters to the editor of our local newspapers? Finally, we need to recognize wars are not a military action, but wars are political. When a conflict is not satisfied by diplomacy, the last stage of diplomacy is war. A war will have military actions, but a war is also political. For example, was the imprisonment of Japanese American citizens by FDR a military exercise? Was FDR’s and Churchill’s refusal to bomb the Hitler concentration camps a military decision? Was Truman’s decision to use the A-Bomb against the Japanese and Korea a military or political decision? Eisenhower’s action in Korea and around Formosa? JFK with Cuba and Viet Nam? LBJ in Viet Nam? Nixon in Viet Nam and Laos and Cambodia? Ford in Viet Nam? Carter in Iran? Reagan in Lebanon, Granada, Panama? Bush I in Kuwait? Clinton in the Balkans? Bush II in Afghanistan and then Iraq? Obama in Pakistan and Libya? WOW! This is every President and Congress since 1941.
    What is that? Looks like seven(7) Democratic Presidents and five(5) Republican Presidents. And, how many Democratic Congresses was it?
    Who elected all these “arrogant” Presidents and Congresses?

    It seems to me this does little to move in the direction we should be going.
    There are usually four paths of foreign affairs for a country: aggressive-aggressive, aggressive-defensive, defensive-aggressive, and defensive-defensive. Perhaps, for the sake of discussion we can say that United States foreign policy has been around the concept of “making the world safe for democracy”. Therefore, we have to maintain garrisons around the world. If that is our foreign policy how then can we criticize a President for following that congressional, “we, the people”, mandate? Our election partisipation and votes for life-time election of our House and Senate enables this policy to continue. Can we really have a defensive-defensive foreign policy? Are we not “arrogant” in continually
    reelecting our congressional membebrs and expecting a different result?

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