The surge to retain the surge in Afghanistan has begun.
Friday morning the Wall Street Journal reported that the nation’s military “is asking President Barack Obama to hold off on ending the Afghanistan troop surge until the fall of 2012, in a proposal that would keep a large portion of the 33,000 extra forces in the country through the next two warm-weather fighting seasons.”
From the Journal jumping to Fox Radio “News,” where all day yesterday, every hour on the hour, blared word that the generals had decreed that any deflation of the “surge” would Imperil The Nation. The president, it was commanded, must, as was said back in Reagantime, “stay the corpse.”
No. I don’t think so.
Obama knew these people would do this. In the fall of 2009 he rejected the Kerry/Biden wisdom, which pronounced Afghanistan “Chaosistan,” and proposed confining American involvement there to spies, special forces units, and drones, all targeted solely on elements of Al Qaeda. Obama instead acceded to the demands of his generals, who wanted more bodies.
However, there was a caveat. Although he would give them the bodies, the generals would need to succeed with those bodies by July of 2011, because on that date he would begin to bring the bodies home.
And Obama extracted a promise, from the people with stars on their shoulders: that they could and would do what they said needed to be done by July of 2011, and would not instead wait until that date to come crying to him that they needed more time with more bodies.
Then, Obama and his people leaked details of that promise. Twice. To Jonathan Alter for The Promise, and Bob Woodward for Obama’s Wars.
Now that the gunmen are doing what they promised they wouldn’t do, Obama can, and should, say: “Nope. You said you wouldn’t do this. Yet you’re standing here doing it. Too bad. Too late. In Afghanistan, I feel like goin’ home.”