OFF THE GRID

Obama Makes Afghanistan His War—Go Barack!

May 13, 09 | 8:13 AM   byMichael Wolff
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There’s a pretty good chance Barack Obama has no idea what he’s doing in Afghanistan. There’s a pretty good chance that, not knowing what he’s doing, the anti-Iraq-war-but-pro-Afghanistan-war-war president will get us into a sorry situation. But almost nobody is saying boo.

Even George Bush’s Iraq adventure, greeted with so much patriotic awe, was given more scrutiny than the Obama Afghanistan build up.

“The top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David D. McKiernan, was forced out Monday in an abrupt shake-up intended to bring a more aggressive and innovative approach to a worsening seven-year war,” writes the Times, in a story accompanied by a ROFL picture of a soldier in his boxer shorts shooting at the Taliban.

The Times, which famously failed to question the assumptions that got us into Iraq, is being alarmingly affable here about the “worsening seven-year war.” Indeed, what exactly is an “aggressive and innovative approach"? Or, as the Times has also described it, “a bolder and more creative” strategy.


(AP Photo)

This could be White House National Security Adviser James Jones’ rejection, as the Wall Street Journal reports, of demands by the Afghan government that American forces stop bombing the country. Likewise, Afghan students, the Journal reports, have recently marched on Kabul to protest the strikes that have killed Afghan civilians, chanting “Death to America.”

Meanwhile, 17,000 new troops are due into Afghanistan before the summer.

The Pentagon briefings, which have been nonstop the last few days, about special ops and commando training and counter-insurgency, and a new generation of military men, are straight out of 1965 and how we’re going to win the war in Vietnam.

And the Times, for one, is nearly orgiastic about the new general who’ll be running the war. He’s Lt. Gen Stanley A. McChrystal, a man who—although the Times points out that “most of what General McChrystal has done over a 33-year career remains classified” —is “a warrior-scholar” and an ascetic who eats just one meal a day, has an “encyclopedic, even obsessive, knowledge about the lives of terrorists, oh, and has no body fat. And pay no attention to the fact that he was deemed responsible for the misinformation, and probable cover-up, in the matter of the 2004 death of Cpl. Pat Tillman.

Anyway, somebody in the new administration is dishing this shit out, and the Times is eating it up—just like it did when the last administration got poetic and feverish about Iraq.

This awe and claptrap is embarrassing and it gets people killed. It’ll doom this administration if somebody doesn’t say don’t go where you’re obviously hell-bent on going.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com.

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