Charm Defensive

Obama was at his most Lincolnesque last night in grave cadences of admonition, humility, promise, measured praise and subtle blame. Pointedly he took the opportunity to call for building up our own nation (read Stimulus).

I barely breathed for 13 minutes.

When he bowed out, I woke up.

With NATO and mercenaries and not counting the ragtag Afghan army or police, we have 200,000 armed combatants in Afghanistan. Often they are at cross-purposes. After a small start this is where we are after 10 plus years. As has been said, just about everybody wants out except some generals, a few boots on the ground, and the most prosperous mercenaries and their contractors. A billion bucks every three days. Not counting the consequent billions required now and in the indefinite future for hospitals, rehab, disability pay and cemeteries.

So now Obama says we are going to leave. But not hastily. 10,000 by the end of 2011! One in twenty after 11 years.

Eleven years after Pearl Harbor we were rebuilding Japan and with a new Constitution. In the European Theater, D-Day witnessed an immense armada with heavy duty weapons at full bore on both sides. So immense an operation often had our troops fighting at cross-purposes — Seabee underwater demolition teams blowing up the only cover our landing soldiers had from withering Wehrmacht firepower; British tanks, one after the other in perfect formation sinking like stones as they rolled off landing craft, glider troop carriers sailing into killing fields, and on and on. But the errors and terrors were within the overriding context of a rational mission and there was a clear military goalpost. Then it made sense to talk about progress or retreat, about winning or losing, about dying for your country.

But Obama and his fellow Americans, high and low, cannot in any sane way apply this conceptual framework to the strategically catatonic and tactically chaotic maelstrom where heroic fresh faces daily and nightly improvise ingenious coping mechanisms to rescue shreds from the meat grinder. There is a fog of war and a great mental fog at the White House and Whitehall, On Capitol Hill and in Foggy Bottom.

It’s as if the Three Stooges went into Home Improvement and as your house began to be more and more dismantled they urged you to “let them get the Job done.” Job, as in doing a job on us. Somehow if we string things out another few years (people are talking about 2014 = 14 years!), we can get the job done!

Somehow or other, the countless and pointless innocent deaths we have caused or suffered is a reason to risk countless more which somehow honors them. Politics has succeeded in crafting a perpetual motion machine where physics has failed. And the media have succeeded in creating a truly silenced majority in place of Nixon’s phantom.

Right now the talking point[y] heads are debating if this is too fast or if after we go AQ will rise from their graves and diaspora and race in to take over AfPak.

Pakistan is a real problem, but we have not improved things there over the last ten years. Let’s give it intelligent attention and not just more aimless time.

People, some people, are being lead to believe that Obama is going to pull us out. Maybe, but not based on any analysis of what he really said last night.

Check out graphic in