I know that numerous of my fellow liberals and lefties are trying as hard as they can to ignore the existence of this speech, so I feel a certain responsibility to use this forum to remind them of it.
In this article, The Atlantic’s James Fallows hits the highlights of the long and very important speech Barack Obama gave on ending the War On Terror. What? You didn’t know Obama was in favour of ending the War On Terror? Read the speech. Educate yourselves.
What President said this, folks? “I know the politics are hard. But history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future – ten years from now, or twenty years from now – when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country. Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?” It’s the President in office now, folks. Not Martin Sheen. Not Roseanne Barr. Not any of your fantasy presidents. The current one. He is trying and he needs your help.
A speech is just a speech, of course, and what will matter is the implementation of the measures of which he spoke in the speech – but they are significant measures, especially his proposed repeal of the “Authorization of the Use of Military Force” which has been in place since the aftermath of 11 September 2001.
A critical part of people conceding the sincerity of Obama’s speech will be withdrawal from Afghanistan. If new excuses are made to stay there, despite our nearly twelve-year sojourn in that country at present to largely no avail, people will dismiss the President’s speech as so much hot air, even with a certain amount of justness.
The President’s positive contribution to a war against terrorism has been his expansion of that war into Pakistan. Liberals and lefties like to ignore that this has been a positive contribution, but the reason the President is in a position to be more conciliatory about ending the supposed “endless war” in the Middle East is because attacks on the Pakistani bases for al-Qaeda and the Taliban have decimated those organisations ability to carry out terror attacks at a mass scale. People can hand-wring all they want about the “violation of Pakistani sovereignty”, but one of the beneficiaries of any _inviolability_ of Pakistani sovereignty would have been Osama bin Laden. The President knew what he was doing crossing that line, and the line needed to be crossed. No country has a sovereign right to calmly preside over the nourishing of terrorist organisations that threaten the world.
Continuing the war in Afghanistan, however, except possibly to provide a base from which to continue the war briefly in Pakistan, has been a continuing nightmare. If anything, continued Western presence in the country jeopardises the gain achieved when the Taliban were expelled from power there soon after the invasion in late 2001 and early 2002. With the success of the operations in Pakistan, absolutely no reason plausibly remains for American troops remaining in the country.
The good news is, the President’s speech indicates he understands this.
He is not merely contemplating the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, but, indeed, the declaration of an end to the “War On Terror” itself. Doesn’t sound like the behaviour of the Heir To The Empire you imagined? Maybe that’s because you have an overactive imagination.
The US now has a president putting on the table a concrete plan to end the War On Terror. Think twice before you throw him under the bus, gang.