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The Perpetual Whine: 'Bush Did It!' Not Us (Victor Davis Hanson)
National Review Online ^ | September 01, 2009 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 09/01/2009 3:16:12 PM PDT by neverdem

Robert Gibbs is once again trashing George Bush, nine months into the new presidency, for the growing violence in Afghanistan. Some observations on that:

1) Obama's crash in the polls has come with record speed, and is not just because all of his policies are both to the left of the voters and are at odds with a bait-and-switch veneer of moderation in the campaign. Just as important is this sense that Obama serially whines ("reset button," "Bush did it," etc.), and in his comments about doctors, insurance companies, Super Bowl attendees, Vegas visitors, the Special Olympics, the wealthy, the police, etc. shows a surprising meanness of spirit, at odds with the supposedly upbeat "no more red, no more blue state" campaign rhetoric. We know clearly that Americans do not like most of Obama's policies, but if they begin not to like Obama the man either, then he is in real Jimmy Carter-like trouble. The American people sense now that a Hugo Chavez or a Saudi prince gets far more deference than do other Americans, and they are quite tired of it.

2) The Robert Gibbs lament that Bush "took his eye" off Afghanistan and now Obama is paying the price for neglect could well in part be true. The military has always wanted more men and money. But that is only part of the story. Consider casualties: Years after the removal of the Taliban, Afghanistan was still relatively quiet, and a year's fatalities there often were exceeded by a single month's deaths in Iraq (e.g. cf. 48 American dead in Afghanistan in 2003, 52 in 2004, 99 in 2005; 98 in 2006; etc. Yet more have been killed already in the first part of 2009 (183) than in all of last year combined (155). So why is Afghanistan heating up precisely as Iraq cooled off, and why the spike in violence when additional American money, manpower, and attention are now being directed to it?

No one really knows, but there may well be reasons other than either we are escalating, stirring up hornets, and offering more targets, or suffering the wages of George Bush's supposed past neglect (when 48 or 52 Americans were killed in an entire year).

All the talk of leaving Afghanistan, the constant trashing of the war on terror, the serial presidential proclamations to the Muslim world that America has been in the past culpable for a variety of sins and has underappreciated Muslim genius, the vows to investigate and even try members of the CIA, the overseas apology tour, etc. may well have emboldened a once dejected and battered Taliban and al-Qaeda into thinking that the U.S., not themselves, is tired, feels that it was wrong, and simply wants to call it quits and go home and accept the consequences of its "incorrect" thinking — sort of like the possible ripples to Dean Acheson's controversial January 1950 statement that South Korea was outside the sphere of U.S. security protection or April Glaspie's June 1990 assurances of U.S. uninterest in Iraqi-Kuwait border disputes.

Even more controversially, between 2003–2008 the United States military was eliminating thousands of al-Qaeda terrorists who flocked to Iraq, in a manner (given the open terrain, and lack of a mountainous refuge like a nuclear Pakistan), that was not possible then in Afghanistan. That topic has been a taboo subject the last six years, but the high losses that al-Qaeda-affiliated killers suffered in Iraq surely attenuated their ranks, and may have sent a message for some that to fight the U.S. military was to die.

We also do not like to think there are several theaters in roughly the same war, or that events in Iraq affected Afghanistan and vice versa, or that impressions and intentions sometimes are as important as facts on the ground, but history would suggest otherwise. In WWII how the U.S. fared in the distant Pacific affected to some degree what happened in Europe and vice versa (through perceptions, skills acquired, morale, and allotment of resources) despite the fact that Germany and Japan rarely knew what the other was doing.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; bush; iraq; obama

1 posted on 09/01/2009 3:16:13 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

As of January 20, 2009, it is all Obama’s fault. Everything. Every last little thing. Including the fact that my neighbor’s crepe myrtle tree is dying.


2 posted on 09/01/2009 3:20:19 PM PDT by La Lydia
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To: neverdem
In short the Democrats are upset that this time we didn't let the enemy pick the battlefield.

I really don't understand why Democrats think it is unfair to defeat the enemy in battle.

3 posted on 09/01/2009 3:21:49 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: neverdem
The deaths have increased because our enemies are not stupid. They realize the Dems are in control and are weak. That is why they are pushing because Dems quit. They see this as a chance to win. Something that would never happen with a conservative in the White House.
4 posted on 09/01/2009 3:40:47 PM PDT by IrishCatholic (No local Communist or Socialist Party Chapter? Join the Democrats, it's the same thing!)
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To: muawiyah
I really don't understand why Democrats think it is unfair to defeat the enemy in battle.

Because "victory" brings up ugly images like Emperor Hirohito's surrender, dontcha know.
(How does this Idjut-in-Chief get away with not being pilloried for truly ignorant remarks like that?! - Media Bias Exhibit 9999999)

5 posted on 09/01/2009 3:54:20 PM PDT by Nevermore (...just a typical cracker, clinging to my Constitutional rights...)
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To: IrishCatholic

The deaths have increased because our enemies are not stupid. They realize the Dems are in control and are weak. That is why they are pushing because Dems quit. They see this as a chance to win. Something that would never happen with a conservative in the White House.

I couldn’t have said it any better! Why the voting public doesn’t see this is mindboggling!


6 posted on 09/01/2009 3:54:45 PM PDT by rj45mis
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To: neverdem

“We know clearly that Americans do not like most of Obama’s policies, but if they begin not to like Obama the man either, then he is in real Jimmy Carter-like trouble”

Bingo. The Kenyan has spat out contempt for large segments of America. He hates anyone who is not a left winger.

The Kenyan Impostor has lowered his mask. America recoils in horror.


7 posted on 09/01/2009 4:09:29 PM PDT by y6162 (uish..)
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To: rj45mis

Because the average voter is an ignorant imbicile that doesn’t care a rat’s a** about actually THINKING!


8 posted on 09/01/2009 4:11:14 PM PDT by majormaturity
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To: neverdem
April Glaspie's June 1990 assurances of U.S. uninterest in Iraqi-Kuwait border disputes.

VDH is onto something here. Glaspie's statements to Saddam Hussein (she was US ambassador to Iraq then, if you didn't know) definitely played into his thinking about U.S. intentions with respect to an Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Our enemies' readings of U.S. leadership intentions are always a huge factor in war. It was a huge factor for the Japanese leadership in WWII, who thought the U.S. soft and unwilling to fight. Examples go on. Including the example of President Obama's nice guy platitudes.

9 posted on 09/01/2009 4:59:22 PM PDT by squidly
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To: muawiyah
I really don't understand why Democrats think it is unfair to defeat the enemy in battle.

They don't want their heroes killed in battle with our forces. Hanoi Jane cheered for her Viet Kong friends to kill our soldiers, and today's liberals cheer for obama's terrorist friends to kill the soldiers of today. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

10 posted on 09/01/2009 6:10:41 PM PDT by TurtleUp (flag@whitehouse.gov <------- So this is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause!)
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