Wednesday, December 02, 2009

STILL IN BAGRAM. I really don't see what these guys are bitching about. They're getting pretty much what they would have gotten from any other President, alas: a renewed commitment of blood and treasure, with some trimming in keeping with our straitened circumstances.

I can see why they would object to the language, as it is not as bloodthirsty as they normally enjoy, but as a pitch to a recession-weary populace, it made sense: he made the problem look resolvable and of limited duration, and he appeared cost-conscious, which is a nice change of pace.

"The words were meant to be inspirational," claims Ann Althouse, "but there was no lift... no lift of a driving dream." We've been at war for nine years; I doubt Obama or anyone else is looking for uplift at this point. (She says of one passage, "I had to imagine Reagan saying it to understand what it was supposed to mean." Try to imagine Reagan saying it if Jimmy Carter had invaded Afghanistan in 1980 instead of just boycotting the Olympics, and we were still there in 1988. Or try to imagine President Palin saying it in 2013. There aren't enough gosh-darnits in the world to put that one over.)

This playing for time business is depressing, especially when you consider that the best we can hope for is reduced levels of violence in the countries we have broken and are endeavoring to un-buy. But barring the kind of sweeping reform of national priorities that we increasingly unlikely to get from either party, we can't expect better. The swords will stay swords for some time; let us hope we aren't called upon to melt down the ploughshares anytime soon.

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