July 29, 2008

Obama is so post-Surge

Here?s a latest assessment of the Iraq situation by Joe Klein (you know the great truth teller and ally to paleocons everywhere?):

The reality is that neither Barack Obama nor Nouri al-Maliki nor most anybody else believes that the Iraq war can be ?lost? at this point. The reality is that no matter who is elected President, we are looking at a residual U.S. force of 30-50,000 by 2011 (a year ahead of the previous schedule). The reality is that McCain should be proud that he helped salvage a disastrous situation by pushing the counterinsurgency plan. It’s something to run on. But, at this point, McCain must sense that it’s not a winning hand. Obama, the poker player, has drawn to an inside straight: the Iraqis favor his plan over McCain’s long-term bases. That must be galling.

Beltway liberals are much like middle schoolers in their assiduous rallying around any consensus they find??back in ?06, the war was, like, totally lost, and if you didn?t know that, then you were, like, so in denial or something. But NOW, that?s different, the surge is working and stuff?? I actually sympathize with Max Boot, when he says that people like Klein are no less na?ve now then they were a year ago when they were absolutely positive the war was lost. Klein (along with Boot) is nowhere closer to explaining what “winning” or “losing” actually means. 

In terms of political analysis, however, I think Klein is dead on. Obama has a decisively ?post-surge? foreign policy, that is, he?s the ?antiwar candidate? without being particularly antiwar, nor seemingly shrill nor even making any any ?radical? demand that we rethink what the hell we?re actually trying to accomplish with our foreign policy. Obama can demand draw-downs that are very similar to those scheduled by Gen. Petraeus last fall; moreover, he can plan for a new surge in Afghanistan that essentially means no reduction of troop levels in the region. Obama and Petraeus, who chatted it up during the Great Transcender?s world tour, aren?t nearly as odd a couple as the McCainiacs would like to believe. The Man of Hope has, indeed, drawn a very lucky hand.

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