Andrew Bacevich is somebody I respect a great deal. A Catholic conservative and a principled opponent of our policy of Permanent War, he served honorably in the Army for decades and sacrificed a son to our disastrous and wrong-headed war in Iraq. He was respectful, yet unstinting in his criticism of the disastrous policies of the Bush Administration that have embroiled us in our imperial adventures (and of the policies pre-dating Bush 43 by decades, which are embraced by both sides of the aisle as conventional wisdom). His book, Washington Rules, chronicles the way in which our present wrong-headed policies abroad evolved, flourished, and are now rapidly becoming outdated as we try to maintain an empire abroad while embracing folly at home.
Bacevich points out something that those drunk on Hopenchange have not wanted to face concerning our Nobel Peace Prize Winning President.
In an article titled “Non Believer” that ran in the 7 July 2010 issue of The New Republic, Bacevich compared President George W. Bush, whom he regards as wrong-headed but sincere, with President Obama, whom he says has no belief in the Afghanistan war but pursues it for his own politically cynical reasons and asks the musical question: “Who is more deserving of contempt? The commander-in-chief who sends young Americans to die for a cause, however misguided, in which he sincerely believes? Or the commander-in-chief who sends young Americans to die for a cause in which he manifestly does not believe and yet refuses to forsake?”
One of the many reasons Obama is sinking in the polls is that the base that once sincerely believed that he was going to change things in Washington are only now figuring out that he is a Chicago pol who never had any intention of doing anything beyond the cosmetic. Remember all that rubbish during the Bush Years about how our imperial adventures abroad were only to last until the countries we destroyed could get back on their own two feet? Remember the lying mantra, “When they stand up, we’ll stand down”? Obama recently announced the “end” (yet again) of the combat phase in Iraq—and we sttill have 50,000 troops there with more of them getting blown up every day (that’s not including the civilian contractors). And the plan for Afghanistan? The hype is that troops will be “drawn down” in 2011. But Sec’y of Defense Robert Gates doesn’t even bother to lie any more: “We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely,” Gates insisted during comments at the dinner. “In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.”
“When they stand up, we’ll stand down.” 2011 draw down. New boss, same old lies. Bush, at any rate, was a sincere believer in the messianic mission to save the world at American gunpoint. But Obama’s excuse is what?