Thursday, September 24, 2009

'Obama's JFK moment?'

The White House is obviously beginning to have doubts about its policy, just six months after it was announced. There are good reasons for skepticism. The fraud-ridden Afghan election of August 20th made it clear that the government we’re trying to support in Kabul is even less reliable and legitimate than most people thought. That could be a deal-breaker all by itself in a counterinsurgency, which is premised on the notion that the government wants outside help in improving governance. As Major General Burt Field, Holbrooke’s military adviser, told me, “What if the premise is false?”
-- George Packer, reading the McCrystal report

Andrew Sullivan picks up on Packer's suggestion that Obama may be more like J.F.K than Johnson: "rational, coldly objective in the heat of events, unlikely to allow his advisers and his ego to destroy his Presidency by getting the country deeper into a war he never felt fully committed to."

But Packer himself is not sure:
the alternatives [outlined by McCrystal] were already rejected by Obama’s strategy review, and since then no one has made a persuasive case why they would work any better.

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