Sep
01
2009

Joe Klein Advises Obama on Afghanistan

In his Time column this week, Klein writes:

So what should Obama do about Afghanistan? His dilemma isn't as stark as has been posed in recent press accounts, with screamers on the right demanding slavish devotion to the military's wish list and screamers on the left demanding a withdrawal. The U.S. military has become far more … nuanced when it comes to making requests of presidents. The negotiations about what [Gen. Stanley] McChrystal can officially request will not take place anywhere near the public eye. It is very likely that more troops will be sent–to build and train the Afghan security forces, it will be said. Obama's problems on the left will be mitigated by the fact that most Democrats have also supported this war–as opposed to Iraq's–and have little desire to reverse themselves. They don't want to hurt the President, and they don't want to be perceived as weak on defense come election time.

OK, "screamers on the left" are demanding withdrawal. That would make "the left" the majority of the public, right? Klein counsels that left opposition will have little effect, since "most Democrats have also supported this war–as opposed to Iraq's–and have little desire to reverse themselves." It's hardto figure out why this is true, or frankly why it would matter–the general public has reversed its opinion quite dramatically, hasn't it?

Apparently that doesn't much matter; the real issue here are theDemocratic politicians, who"don't want to hurt the president, and they don't want to be perceived as weak on defense come election time." Funny, then, that the public doesn't seem to mind being seen as "weak on defense," if that's really how one would describe opposition to escalating the war in Afghanistan.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.