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A novel way to argue for war

George W. Bush was able to successfully prosecute the Iraq war because, against all reason and much longer than necessary, he believed in it. Barack Obama may be able to successfully prosecute the war in Afghanistan because he, too, believes in it. Faith alone cannot win a war, but without it defeat is certain.

The question regarding Obama and Afghanistan was always whether he could be a wartime president. This is not the sort of presidency anything in his past prepared him for. It means finally owning a war that will claim the lives of many more Americans -- and, given the history of these things, risk his presidency. Korea defeated Truman, Vietnam doomed Johnson and Iraq put a dunce cap on Bush.

Tonight Obama showed a steely resolve, a rhetorical determination that has been lacking up to now. Since taking office, he has poked at the Afghanistan problem, turned it over and over in his mind, called meeting after meetings -- three months and nine meetings of policy review. His body language was that of a man in a fix, a groom about to marry against his better judgment. Can’t I have some more time?

Not tonight, though. He recited the arguments against a troop buildup and gave his responses. He told the American people why he felt the war was worth fighting -- why, in fact, it had to be fought. He put himself at the head of the column and told us where he was marching us and when he would take us home. It was all good stuff, well written and spoken with conviction.

I don’t think it will work. I don’t think we can prevail in Afghanistan -- not with another 30,000 troops. It would take more than that -- and more time than we will give it. We are a nation that’s tired of war, and Afghanistan is so far way. We are slipping, though fatigue into a kind of isolationist stupor.

I hope Obama succeeds. But if he does nothing else, he showed that it is possible to urge a nation to war by using reason and logic, facts and figures -- and not by waving the bloody shirt of patriotic fibs. George Bush had faith in his war but not in the American people. Obama seems to have faith in both.

By Richard Cohen  | December 1, 2009; 9:40 PM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
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Next: In and out with Groucho



What in Bush's past prepared him for war?

Oh I remember now. Dick Cheney the war monger in Chief.

Shut Up, Cohen this post was lazy at best.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse


What in Bush's past prepared him for war?

Oh I remember now. Dick Cheney the war monger in Chief.

Shut Up, Cohen.

This was one of your most ridiculous post.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | December 1, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Well, we now know Obama is no Churchill or T.R. Somehow I can't picture him leading the charge up San Juan hill. I hope he inspired our troops enough to fight and risk death for him/us...but I doubt it.

Posted by: DaMan2 | December 1, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

McCain is right, troops should not be sent to invade if they are ever to be withdrawn.

Posted by: vmax02rider | December 1, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

In retrospect it was right to withdraw from Viet Nam despite all the dire predictions about a domino effect in South East Asia and NVA parading on the streets of Honolulu.

If you doubt that just take a vacation trip to modern-day Viet Nam and look around. While you're there enjoying yourself ask yourself exactly what all those U.S. troops died for in light of the fact that the communists are still running the country and President Bush normalized relations with them in 2006.

Posted by: patrick3 | December 1, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

For criminy's sake don't ever ask Oboobma if he wants paper or plastic.

Posted by: thebump | December 1, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Did you see those little girls pushing each other, trying to get a picture with Hanna Montana? errr-- with Barack Obama?

Those girly cadets at West Point are the ones who will protect the U.S.????

God save us!!!

Posted by: tropicalfolk | December 1, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Cohen may think Obama has "rhetorical determination," but so did numerous other leaders in the past who used words to try to win popular support for military adventures. Cohen presents a false dichotomy between Obama's supposed use of "logic" and "reason," as opposed to "patriotic fibs."

Obama had no convincing reasons why more brave American soldiers should needlessly be killed or maimed in support of a corrupt, unpopular, virtual puppet regime. Were the stakes really as important as he claimed, hundreds of thousands of more troops should be sent, not a mere thirty thousand. The speech was remarkably unpersuasive.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 1, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"George W. Bush was able to successfully prosecute the Iraq war because, against all reason and much longer than necessary, he believed in it."

"W" successfully prosecuted the Iraq War?

I guess what Cohen means by this is:

He started the re-election campaign early.
He had to be a “macho macho man,” not a “wimp” like dad.
Drive up oil prices.
Create a vast privateer enterprise for the sheer fun of pillaging for profit.
Pillage the American and Iraqi coffers.
Drive up the value of vested Haliburton stock options.
Create a distraction so that old buddy Osama can slip through the closing dragnet.
Create perpetual havoc in the region so that muslims would fight each other instead of fighting Israel.
Sense of empowerment in sending other people to their death.
Implement unitary executive, unbound by law or Constitution

Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: helloisanyoneoutthere | December 2, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

here is my say

Posted by: brautry | December 2, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Cohen, no one believed Bush about Iraq. The thug bullied the world to start that fight, with your help (You = media). And now, his clone with a different skin shade, Obama, is getting just as dirty and untrustworthy.

Triilions to banks and wall Street, billions to insurance subsidies, billions for war, but nothing to help the middle class stand on its feet and get back to work.

Posted by: Single_Payer | December 2, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

Cohen, no one believed Bush about Iraq. The thug bullied the world to start that fight, with your help (You = media). And now, his clone with a different skin shade, Obama, is getting just as dirty and untrustworthy.

Trilions to banks and wall Street, billions to insurance subsidies, billions for war, but nothing to help the middle class stand on its feet and get back to work.

Posted by: Single_Payer | December 2, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

The new war president, Obama, went to West Point to give a speech designed to make him look good. His message was that he, in his infinite wisdom, knows better than the carrier military commander in charge how many troops are needed, and what the strategy should be. It will not be what McCrystal asked for. It will be 10,000 less. Not quite enough to defeat the enemy. Instead, just enough to continue the quagmire.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | December 2, 2009 1:03 AM | Report abuse

Cohen, who wants no investigations against torturers and who wanted Libby pardoned, agrees with Obama. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: kingsbridge77 | December 2, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow. I don't know why - I should be used to it by now, I suppose - but the hyperbole, sexism and general hatred in comments sections on this site continue to astound me. It saddens me - as though everyone has forgotten that the other posters are Americans, all of whom love their country though they disagree on what's best for it. Rational, well-considered and thoughtful arguments are appreciated, no matter the side; conversely, no one deserves to be called schoolyard names for daring to offer a different opinion. This blind hatred of the opposition - not health care, nor the deficit, nor the war, nor the economy - is what makes me fear for my country. I truly hope that the division will ultimately make us stronger.

Posted by: greyhound1 | December 2, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Even the supporters of the President must now understand, that the macabre photo opportunity at Dover Air Force base in the middle of the night at the end of October, was the indication of a President who decided to use the war card.

In Afghanistan the President will now order a phased buildup to over 100,000 American troops in Afghanistan. In early 2012 the President will bring 20,000 of these American troops home with assurances that by 2014 it will be possible to bring home almost all of the American troops from Afghanistan.

One requires no inside sources, or access to confidential information. All that is required is awareness that all actions of the President and his administration are part of the campaign for reelection in 2012.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 2, 2009 1:59 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is not declaring war on Afghanistan. He made it clear that the fight is with Al Qaida. Unlike the previous administration, this President doesn't invade a country blindly with no plan, destroy its infrastructure, and occupy it indefinitely. Cohen says he doesn't think Obama's plan will work. How's Bush's non-plan working for us in Iraq? Hopefully the truth of the Iraq war will be revealed during the British investigation that is under way now. Maybe this is when we will find out why we have to go to Afghanistan now, instead going there right after the 9/11 attacks.

Posted by: mawheelz | December 2, 2009 2:54 AM | Report abuse

"George W. Bush was able to successfully prosecute the Iraq war"

Really? You must have a strange definition of success.

Posted by: dah_sab | December 2, 2009 4:23 AM | Report abuse

"He showed that it is possible to urge a nation to war, by using reason and logic, facts and figures..." R. Cohen


Talk for yourself Cohen.

Why don't you show everybody how urged to war you are. Go and enlist asp.

You're too old? Is that what you're saying? Then retire, man! You must be well lined-up by now. Just do it!

Leave to Florida. And take most of the Wa Po hacks with you. Ain't good for nothing here, but keeping real talent from flowering in a dying old poor Wa Po.

Posted by: bekabo | December 2, 2009 5:13 AM | Report abuse

How do we deal with terrorism and what is going on in Pakistan and Afghanistan? Do we just withdraw? More troops? Drones from afar? There is concern for the deficit and for too much war NOW. Both preceded this president and both are a concern of those who lead us into both. I voted for this guy because I thought he was smart, level-headed and honest. I still think so and I support him still. He makes sense to me. Rant on and see how that helps.

Posted by: SaintJoseph | December 2, 2009 5:31 AM | Report abuse

There is something vaguely obscene about a Nobel Peace Prize winner announcing before a school of warriors his intention to enlarge and pursue a war.

Posted by: WhatHeSaid | December 2, 2009 5:36 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Mr. Cohen!

'waving the bloody shirt of fibs...."

That's a beautiful line, and I hope others remember it.

I have thought our Nation particularly blessed these days to have a POTUS that arrived in the office not by hate and denigration, not by denouncing, but by announcing, not by the politics of personal destruction, but by showing the American people a way to lead without the need for it.

It has been the difference of night and day between past administration and this one.

It is also the difference needed in asking a Nation to find the strength and determination for a final sprint in a long and often mismismanaged war that has cost treasure we could ill afford.

Now I want the press to do the right thing - remind people every day of the cost of war by insisting they pay for it.

It is not for this President, or the last, that we seek to keep Iraq's oil and Pakistan's nuclear capacity out of the hands of terrorists. It is for ourselves.

We need to pay the freight...

We need to do everything America did in the first and second world wars to do our fair share...

If we don't need to ration sugar and rubber and metal, then we need to pay taxes and invest in America.

We need to put a surtax on every American owned corporation that is relocated off shore to avoid taxes.

We need a surtax on every household with income more than $40k, and a higher surtax on those with $200k...

We need school kids and community organizations participating in those welcoming ceremonies when the dead are returned to Dover. We need those Americans and their families to understand we are with them, even when it is the most difficult.

We need Bankers and Insurance company CEO's to donate their billions in bonuses to venture capital for green manufacture to make sure every veterans have jobs when they get home. We got bridges to build, roads to repair, our entire electric grid to bury 12 underground, we need factories to make windmill towers, coverters so our cars can burn natural gas.

We need our teachers and scientists to volunteer in community education on how to turn the world's need go green into jobs and every day living for Americans.

Posted by: dutchess2 | December 2, 2009 6:52 AM | Report abuse

By expending more American lives, instead of fewer, this surge will allow the United States to "save face" by leaving Afghanistan under improved conditions, rather than under deteriorating conditions.
And, no matter how well or poorly we do in the coming months, WE WILL HAVE TO RETURN to this battleground of global Jihad.
Then, we will be asking ourselves, "What were all those lives, all those years and a mighty effort...for?"
Whatever answers our leaders give, whatever lessons learned, will soon be forgotten. The Pentagon's collective memory has a half-life of only ten years. Politicians will forget at the next election. Since most Americans never remember, they will have nothing to forget.
We will have done everything we could really afford.

Posted by: elfraed | December 2, 2009 7:01 AM | Report abuse

WSJ/Murdoch: Dumb it Down Mr. President!

Bush/Cheney- that 'COMMANDER in CHIEF'!

Tom Kean, the Republican co-chair of the 9-11 Commission, has said the attacks could have been prevented.

On or about Dec. 16, 2001, bin Laden and bodyguards "walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan's unregulated tribal area," where he is still believed to be based, the report says.

CHENEY, Rumsfeld's BEST BUDDY did not DITHER!

Look what we got!

C-span's photo journalist interviewing the troops - dubbing Afghanistan the FORGOTTEN WAR!

2006- 2007- 2008--Troops- ON TAPE- stating they were in a FORGOTTEN WAR!


AND MSM is all about what DICK SAYS!

PULL those C- Span tapes and see what the TROOPS said about CHENEY!

After all - DICK ran the show!

100 Bills SITTING in SENATE waiting for GOP delays

The DO NOTHINGS! 8 years of disaster!

They scream about Sec Geithner- yet DELAY confirmations to assist the Treasury





BUSH FORGOTTEN WAR in Afghanistan!

55% increase GVT SPENDING under GOP BUSH

What have they done to CLEAN UP their mess?

Posted by: sasha2008 | December 2, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Steely resolve???

You can't say that you are determined to win and at the same time say we will be gone in another year. Do you think the enemy can't count, or they don't have a calander? His speech did nothing more than give him cover and gain applause from the enemy. THEY WON! And since they have won, let's get out of there NOW! Why should more Americans die when obama has declared that we are surrendering by leaving within by a date certain.

Posted by: familynet | December 2, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Given to Republicans and McCain, we will be in perpetual wars all over the world. Instead of feeding BS to American people, our President told us the reasons why we need to continue, what we need to accomplish to get out of the war. Look at the reaction from NATO, they are with us, supporting us, and promises to stay as long it takes. Does anyone think such forthcming cooperation would have been there with previous misfits? No.

This is a President who can, willing and comfortable working with others and that is "LEADERSHIP". Unilaterally pissing people of is neither "Power" nor "Leadership".

All of us should be thankful that this President did thorough review before sending our men and women to war and that is what a president is supposed to do instead of the fire, aim, draw practiced by the previous misfits. President Obama has brought rest of the world along for the fight and that folks, is "Leadership, Diplomacy and Peace Making".

Posted by: Maya2 | December 2, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse



You don't think the most powerful country in the world can lay Afghanistan to waste, shore up Pakistan, clean up al quaeda and get home in 18 months?

Ye of little faith...

Posted by: dutchess2 | December 2, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen implies somehow that 'WE ARE GOING TO WAR'? Huh? No. President Obama has explicitly said since day 1 that the objective of the U.S. should be to prop up Afghanistan's self-policing and political structure. Sending more troops to accomplish this is exactly what he said he would do. (Remember Bush only sent appx.5000 men to do the job.)

Taking the time to consider how this would be done was also stated since the beginning. (And it's very refreshing compared to trigger happy Bush.) So what's all this about 'War', and 'Lacking Rhetorical Determination'?

On top of this, just today NATO has committed more troops in combination with Britain. Thanks to his focused efforts and trips abroad we are finally seeing our allies come to our aid once again.

He's doing everything he said he would AND doing it well AND in accordance with the best of America's traditions.

So what's with all the subtle alarmism in the article?

Posted by: lingo009 | December 2, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse


You apparently caught the re-run of 'The Biggest Loser.'

This comment thread is about the Afghanistan War speech given on Dec. 1, 2009, by the president of the United States of America.

The normal process is usually to listen to the speech, think critically, then comment.

We can wait a little bit while you catch up ...

Posted by: 1EgoNemo | December 2, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for people who write for a living. Often, like this piece, they have nothing to say.

Posted by: rusty3 | December 2, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Let's correctly recall how the corner was turned in Iraq. George W.'s misplaced (blind) faith in the leadership of Cheney/Rumsfeld was slapped down after years of gross mismanagement. A new team was assembled by GOP senior poobah James Baker, including Bob Gates and David Petraeus, that finally formulated a sound strategy. Cheney's influence was curtailed and Rumsfeld, the worst Defense secretary ever, was given the boot. The GOP old guard forced little big George to do something besides smirk and stand by his incompetent war team. Mr. Cohen, give credit where it is due, and it isn't due George W. Bush. He had success forced on him despite his ignorance and little boy petulance.

Posted by: curtb | December 2, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

"George Bush had faith in his war but not in the American people. Obama seems to have faith in both."

Cheap shot, Cohen.

Posted by: MeInTheMiddle | December 2, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Bush didn't have faith in the people? Where did you pull that line from, Cohen?

Bush wouldn't be pushing the boondoggles of health-insurance and cap-and-trade bills down Americans' throats when the jobless rate was 17%.

And Bush actually worked versus spending his presidency in the skies in Air Force One.

Once the campaign was over and he was elected, Obama hasn't shown an iota of care about the people he's supposed to serve. He's too infatuated with all the perks of the presidency.

Posted by: judithod | December 2, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

When was it determined that Bush successfully prosecuted the Iraq War. You must have access to previously unrevealed facts. Here are the facts I know.

1. The reason for the war was bogus (WMDs)
2. We underestimated the resistance causing thousands to die.
3. We did not move quickly after winning the military fight and allowed the resistance to organize for a longer fight.
4. The Iraqis have polarized around Sunni, Shia and Kurdish interests and have a hard time even trying to hold an election.
5. The treasured oil reserves are being sold to foreign companies.
6. The Iraqis hate us.
7. We not leaving Iraq better than we found it.

If that is you idea of success, I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: cdierd1944 | December 2, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Mr Cohen, you should be ashamed. With this country in dire economic straits, you embrace sending more American troops half way around the world when the essential question of "how" Afghanistan poses a threat to us goes still unanswered. It has no navy; it has no air force; it has no army. When 9/11 occurred and the twin towers came crashing down, it was done in as much by our own naive, immigration policies and inadequate self-policing of regulations as anything else. Neither the country of Afghanistan nor the Taliban who reside there impose much of a threat to us if we do what we need to do here at home - enforce our borders, strengthen our immigration policies and rebuild our infrastructure. Frankly, sending more troops to Afghanistan is merely a smokescreen for the gender policies implemented by administrations beginning with George H.W. Bush. His was the first that sent a female ambassador to Iraq to deal with the cuthroat dictator Saddam Hussein. Where did that get us? Desert Storm. Since then there has been a succession of female State Department Secretaries who haven't done us much good on the international scene; especially dealing with middle eastern tyrants. Now it seems that we are committing our young men to Afghanistan to protect the young women there who want to win their civil rights and go to school. While I empathize with this policy, it is simply wrong to implement. Women in that culture must fight for themselves and win their rights. - even if it takes them a thousand years. So no, Mr Cohen, your lame indorsement of President Obama's troop surge is an embarassment. You should be ashamed. Perhaps you should retire.

Posted by: shangps | December 2, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Richard, you tired old hack. YOu had a great column up until the end, when you just had to have the gratuitous slap at Bush. Pray tell, how was it that Bush did NOT believe in Americans? I can think of no President that had more faith in the average American than Bush did. And that would include Reagan.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | December 2, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I am laughing my butt off that so many people posting here -- right, left, and even Mr. Cohen -- truly believe there is a huge difference between Bush and Obama on this war.

Posted by: scott3 | December 2, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

This article is "isolationist." It fails to put the war into current context. 1. the cost of the war and its impact on the recession (how can tax dollars pay for the war?) 2. military readiness for Iraq and Afghanistan (how can the military sustain 2 wars?) 3. political support for long-haul commitment (how can democrats get re-elected?)

It is hard to imagine how unemployeed folks will support the war. Can the U.S. continue to borrow money without any sacrifice from its citizens? Cohen says the war is Obama's war, but isn't this everyone's war, when we pay for it? Obama says U.S. security is at stake, but how can a small number of terrorists form an army, and launch an attack from Pakistan? What is the threat level?

Posted by: rmorris391 | December 2, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Did you see those little girls pushing each other, trying to get a picture with Hanna Montana? errr-- with Barack Obama?

Those girly cadets at West Point are the ones who will protect the U.S.????

God save us!!!

Posted by: tropicalfolk
I'd love to watch you say that to a female cadet in some off-campus bar.

Posted by: st50taw | December 2, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Obama's foreign policy has been in an isolationist stupor since last January - with the exception of Afghanistan.

In the western hemisphere Obama has totally screwed up with his handling of Honduras and his acquiescence and silence about Hugo Chavez and his plans to take over Latin America. Russia is busy building arms factories in Venezuela and sending war material - starting a new arms race in our back yard.

The one area of the world where we have no business being is in Afghanistan. It totally defies logic why he is sending an additional 30,000 American soldiers to this this deathtrap. It defies logic why he is destroying his own political party. Mr. Spock needs both a brain and a heart transplant.

Posted by: alance | December 2, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

First of all, Bush did not "successfully prosecute the Iraq war" so let's talk reality, not myth. Maybe you don't read the news, but the proof is now indisputable that Bush lied us into the Iraq war, that he declared mission accomplished just before the real fighting began, and that the government in Iraq that the US imposed is so weak and corrupt that the minute our troops leave there will be a civil war. So let me understand, you want Obama to model his strategy on Bush? Oh wait, he already is!

Posted by: donnasaggia | December 2, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Since the war is really with Pakistan, you just as well send 30,000 troops to the South Bronx. And as for nation building try New Orleans. Than of cause, there is the economic crash where we rebuilt the banks forgetting the little people. We could always give the billions of dollars to the president dog, Bo!

Posted by: artg | December 2, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"Tonight Obama showed a steely resolve, a rhetorical determination that has been lacking up to now."
So that's what's been missing? "Rhetorical determination"? Is that what you call arguing in circles; with yourself? The telepromter worked well, so the speech was fine. It's the lack of a actual winning strategy that causes concerns. Just more empty words from an empty mind.

Posted by: mgrantham2 | December 2, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"But if he does nothing else, he showed that it is possible to urge a nation to war by using reason and logic, facts and figures -- and not by waving the bloody shirt of patriotic fibs."

you must have listened to a different speech than I did.

is revenge for 9/11 still a reason,
a logical response, to sending troops
and troops and troops to somehow save
Pakistan from the Taliban?

what happened to candidate Obama'

"air raiding villages!!"

"wars we can not afford, or win"

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 2, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Unlike Iraq, Afghanistan is a problen that needed to be dealt with sooner or later if America is to remain safe. The difference between Obama's war and Bush's war is obvious.

Posted by: unpluggedboodah | December 2, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The more it changes the more its the same ole same ole.

95 years ago one of the instigators of the Federal Reserve System, coincidentally a German too, a banker by the name of J.P. Warburg speaking before the U.S. Senate stated;- "We shall have World government whether we like it or not. The only question is wether we achieve it by conquest or consent,".

On January 6th,2009 CNBC interviewed Henry Kissinger on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange.

Kissinger stated that Obama had the perfect setting for the establishment of a 'New World Order': “His task will be to develop an overall strategy for America in this period when, really, a new world order can be created. It’s a great opportunity, it isn’t just a crisis.”

Is occupying Afghanistan the first step in America's conquests?
Or wil the barefooted cave dwellers in Afghanistan be they called Taliban or Alqueda eventually consent to being part of a New World Order as planned by one of the orginal members of the US Federal Reserve System?


Posted by: omop | December 2, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

obama's cinderella war

the war against al qaeda is a "vital national interest" obama says

and he is right

but then obama says the "vital national interest" disapppears in 18 months--july 2011 --just like cinderellla's coach turns into a pumpkin at midnight

it must be a coincidence that this is just before his reelection

obama does not understand--war is for keeps

war is not like cinderella's midnight curfew

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 2, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I understand this is supposed to be a 'family newspaper', but state it more honestly, Cohen.

You like the taste of Obama better than the taste of Bush.

Posted by: tarded2much | December 2, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Logic is nice but when it is mundane and trite it hardly works and our eyes were glazing over by the end!

9/11 was a CIA covert operation to lure Russia into its Vietnam that went rogue and no amount of shocked and awed indignation changes it.

It is an excellent example of being willing to play with a country and it's people for ideological and even the entertainment of Texan millionairesses and playboy Congressmen and Congress even voting stingers for terrorists and losing even plausable deniability and then bragging about it.

So when the ideology of collateral damage turns on us we may fail to see it but the rest of the world doesn't. We may feel it necessary to retaliate against our own rogue agents and that is what our soldiers are dying and getting injured for, cleaning up after the CIA and our own country's actions but some messes can't really be clean up. The Afghan people just happened to be caught in the middle.

It is a cold war legacy and we should be thinking about creating a new world not continuing the old!

Posted by: Wildthing1 | December 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Obama used reason and logic. The guy raped my daughter, but he came a dysfunctional family was was treated very badly in his youth. I'll send him to jail for two years and then release him if he is repentant.

Posted by: johnson0572 | December 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

OOh, well, Cohen would love any war in that region...

keeping American soldiers close and available for what Israel might want to do.

Doesn't know yet, that kind of stuff is over. Still, the neocons to a man (!) like more war, don't they.

Posted by: whistling | December 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

You didn't mention that Nixon won by a landslide while presiding over the war in Vietnam (during the height of the supposed anti-war era), and the two war candidates (Bush and Kerry) garnered about 100% of the popular vote in 2004. The difference between Nixon, Kerry, Bush and the losers is that Americans believed the cause, and voted for who they perceived to be competent commanders-in-chief. If the cause can wait 1/4 of a year, while our soldiers are dieing on the battlefield, it can wait even longer with an incompetent C-O-C and our soldiers at home.

Posted by: rpatoh | December 2, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

My ObamaMeter's needle has long since gone to the left side of the dial, you know, where the zero percentage point lies at the far end. In August of last year, the needle could be found hovering between eighty and ninety percent on the other side of the dial. By inauguration day, it was definitely pinned at ninety percent.
And then came the appointments of his dynamic financial duo of Summers and Geithner. At first I thought it was a stroke of genius, giving the keys to the Fort Knox hen house to these two foxes. I surmised that if anyone knew how to reverse the Bush take-from-­the-poor-a­nd-give-to­-the-rich financial structure he had blessed and implemented, it would be these two who were up to their eyebrows in it's formulation and support.
Needle at seventy-five percent after I found out just what their plans were.
When Obama's Kumbaya personality suddenly took complete control of his psyche, prompting him to say let bygones be bygones and that he had no interest in prosecuting any member BushCo for their transgressions against the Constitution and the planet at large, that needle started to inch toward fifty percent.
Now with his damn-the-­torpedoes-f­ull-speed-­ahead attitude toward Afghanistan, that needle has started a left-leaning decline that probably can't be corrected anytime soon, if ever. And with Kristol--the neo con's poster child--now proclaiming the magnificent decision of our new war president to keep Halliburton, Standard Oil and Blackwater's profits up, well, I think I'll start to figuratively sharpen the nails to that coffin . .
What a waste. What a disappointment.

Posted by: hyjanks | December 2, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Why we are really in Afghanistan:
The 800-pound gorilla in the room, the beast not being mentioned, the real reason we are staying in Afghanistan (and sending in even more troops in)...
Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Ladin both stated, years before nine-eleven, that the real goal in destabilizing that region is to destabilize Pakistan, the only Nuclear Islamic Nation.
If Pakistan can be destabilized, making it possible to churn it into a Fundamentalist Islamic State, one governed by Islamic Sharia Law, then Pakistan’s Nukes would become accessible to Islamic Extremists, Maniacs who would be willing to use them to destroy "The Great Satan" (us and Europe).
We are unable to enter Pakistan as a fighting force (after all they are our "allies"), and we cannot state the above nightmare scenario out loud, without admitting our fears concerning the weakness of the Pakistani Government, headed by Asif Ali Zardari, who we view as inept, out of touch, and "hiding in bunkers" in the big cities (Karachi and Lahore). Rural Pakistan is not ruled by, and has no use for this secular Centralized Government (ostensibly) headquartered in Islamabad.
Lest we forget, it was the “The Father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program,” Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, long revered as a Pakistani National Hero, and his top aide, Dr. Mohammed Farooq, former director-general of a key nuclear facility, who supplied sensitive technology to Iran. What is unspoken in Washington, D.C. is that Islamic Extremists and their sympathizers do not view National Boundaries the same way that we do. They are looking to create a vast Fundamentalist Islamic world, unencumbered by National Boundary lines drawn on maps…
These then are the real reasons why we are remaining in Afghanistan, to ensure (if worse comes to worse) that we are ready to jump into Pakistan to prevent their Nukes from falling into the wrong, Maniacal Hands.

Posted by: stevekeshner | December 2, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

My God, I sure wish these overgrown little boys in Pundit Superman suits from CVS would outgrow this myth of "steely resolve" being needed to be a "wartime president". This is the sort of thoughtless drivel mindset that brings America lovely historical episodes like Vietnam and Iraq on silver-plated platters.

I'm an Obama supporter who disagrees with this move but will pull hard for its success. But make no mistake ("let me be perfectly clear") - ordering OTHER PEOPLE to put themselves in harm's way for a questionable cause takes ZERO guts, ZERO manliness and ZERO "steely resolve". Neither does a wimp like Cohen making his pow-pow war sounds with his toy soldiers and tanks behind the privacy of his editorial suite door at the Washington Post.

The same goes for the rest of the Post's corrupt neocon editorial board. Oddly, George Will is the only one with any sense on this issue today. (File that under the category of "you know you're in trouble when...")

Somebody suit up Captain Cohen already and send him on over to the country no invading force in history has tamed. He can hear real pow-pow sounds until he gets tired of them (about 3 minutes).

Posted by: B2O2 | December 2, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Cohen...your blathering, lazy scant paragraph diatribe is all you can muster? Mirrors Obama's speech last night.

I love it when reality slaps left wing idealogues right across the face. Ahhhhh.

Posted by: zap123 | December 2, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

We originally went to war with Afghanistan because supposedly the nineteen hijackers responsible for killing 3,000 Americans had planned their attack on Afghan soil.

From there, we went to war with Iraq, where eventually more than 4,000 Americans have been killed and still counting.

So, Obama's math works like this: He'll risk getting thousands more killed in order to avenge the killing of 3,000 Americans on 9/11. Moreover, many tens of thousands of Americans die every year from a lack of health insurance coverage.

Yet we are told by the enlightened class in Washington, D.C., that we can't afford a national health care system that includes a public option and provides universal coverage, while at the same time we are preparing to spend upwards of $100 billion a year in order to supposedly avenge the killing of 3,000 Americans.

Go figure.

Posted by: sthomas1957 | December 2, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I believe the President when he reminded us last night of the danger our nation is in as a consequence of what is taking place in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Therefore, we have no choice but to pursue a new strategy.
I like it, very much, that he set a deadline of sorts. I like it because it puts the squeeze on both the Afghan and Pakistaini governments.
Out biggest danger resides in the Pakistani's losing control of their nuclear weapons.
With our best military and civilian minds "working" this problem, it is NOT hopeless.

Posted by: cms1 | December 2, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

I may be one of the lone critics of President Obama's widening the war in Afghanistan. I hope I am wrong. I really do. But within a few months at most we will be bogged down more than we are now. This is a folly, just as LBJ's widening, step by step, of U.S. involvement was in Vietnam. The president and most of his advisers are headed down the same slippery slope as that of LBJ and the Best and Brightest. I feel sorry for my country, but sorrier still for the young people who will be sent to a God-forsaken hellhole whose significance to our security has been blown way out of proportion by the Nobel Peace Prize winner who hardly deserves that honor, which should be rescinded by the Norwegians. I voted for Mr. Obama. If I am around the next time he runs, I guess I won't be voting. The GOP largely got us into these wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many people who voted for the current president did so because we believed, perhaps wrongly, that he would end this folly -- and soon.

Posted by: royhobbs56 | December 2, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes I wonder how it is that so many people seem to believe that it means nothing to us that Pakistan has nuclear weapons which might fall into the hands of terrorists?
We all seem capable of recognizing that Pakistan is controlled by many corrupt people who take every cent of American aid and either buy weapons or palaces for themselves while their people remain uneducated, without electricity most of the time, and no jobs.
We also seem to recognize, sometimes, that the Pakistani I.S.I. is supporting their own version of the Taliban which they use as a wedge against India.
They are corrupt and they support terrorists. And, they have nuclear weapons. AND, we are just supposed to walk away and leave them to their own devices when our own national security is at stake?
No responsible President of either political party would EVER do such a thing. The stakes in this war are REAL. This really is a war of necessity. And, it doesn't matter what the polling shows about an American public so ill educated about what's going on that their minds are just as likely to be consumed and obsessed by a celebrity as by a war. When war loses it's entertainment value, Americans want out.

Posted by: cms1 | December 2, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

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