Exclusive: Obama and the Art of Double SpeakMischa Popoff How does B.H. Obama get away with it? He directed his campaign against George W. Bush, accusing him of taking the United States into an unjust war in Iraq, but now plans to launch a renewed effort in Afghanistan. I'm confused. Aren't freedom, innocent people's lives and democracy all worth protecting in both of those countries?
Obama attempted to keep his promise of shutting down Guantanamo by keeping it open for at least 18 months more. Then he laughably tried to keep his promise to pull out of Iraq by promising to draw down some troops over the next 18 months; emphasis on "some," as we'll see.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, a Democrat, had it right when he detained prisoners of war until hostilities ceased. And hostilities didn't cease until the enemy was defeated.
By contrast, Obama's soft-pedal approach - his willingness to release terrorists and to negotiate with them, along with totalitarian communists and holocaust deniers - will result in a new magnitude of innocent lives lost, and in the strengthening of the enemies of Western democracy.
Obama knows he's walking a fine line. That's why he eases everyone gradually into his "solutions" to the world's most protracted problems. Soon after taking office he let Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, believe that only 20,000 troops would be left behind in Iraq. And he let them quote that number in press conferences and in interviews without so much as an e-mail from his BlackBerry informing them that they were waaay off.
Pelosi and Reid, and everyone else, were caught off guard when the new President revealed something a bit closer to the truth by saying 35,000 to 50,000 troops will stay in Iraq. Emphasis on "a bit closer."
Then things got interesting when the lower number was revealed to be wishful thinking. It turned out Obama had already informed senior government officials and his general in the field that at least 50,000 troops will actually be left to defend Iraq's fragile democracy.
Democrats happily swallowed their pride, or guilt, as the case may be, and backed their president. Then they focused on Obama's assurance that all remaining troops will be out by the end of 2011. Wait a minute... isn't "the end of 2011" really just the same as 2012?
Why... that takes us almost to the end of Obama's term. Didn't he promise a much more immediate withdrawal from Iraq? Oh well... Smile for the camera everyone!
To his credit, Obama's Secretary of Defence, Bush holdover Robert Gates, wants American forces to stay until the job is done. Imagine that... a Republican who thinks more like FDR than Obama.
Whether Democrats are supportive, confused or just downright uncomfortable with their commander in chief's decision all depends on their level in the party hierarchy. The rank and file is extremely uncomfortable and completely confused, while those holding office are behind "the One" one-hundred-and-ten-percent!
Then there are people like domestic terrorist and education professor William Ayers, the man who, along with his domestic terrorist wife, launched Obama's political career in his living room. He's completely and vocally opposed to Obama's sleight of hand, and equally concerned with Obama's plan to put more troops in Afghanistan and to launch attacks into Pakistani territory; attacks which, by the way, are already well underway.
Meanwhile, those who still believe appeasement and negotiation will work must wonder how this will play out. One thing's certain: the world doesn't have Bush to kick around anymore.
Obama's announcements on Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan clearly indicate that while there will perhaps be no more of W's swagger in dealing with the threat of terrorism, there will nonetheless continue to be a concerted and perhaps even protracted War on Terror (although to the Obama people it'll now be referred to by the less descriptive moniker: Overseas Contingency Operation... yeesh).
For everyone living in Western democratic nations, the choice now must be made: Either resuscitate our military commitments and quit pretending that those who want to bring Western democratic ideals to the Middle East are warmongers. Or... go against the most popular leader in the world.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Mischa Popoff is a freelance political writer with a bachelor's degree in history.