On Afghanistan, Obama loses George Will

George Will is not Walter Cronkite, the highly-respected, iconic CBS anchor whose growing suspicion of American involvement in Vietnam caused Lyndon Johnson to lament: If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America.”

Still, Will is a leading member of the conservative establishment, a popular syndicated columnist and TV commentator whose opinions carry some weight in Washington and with the conservative base. And he has called for American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Even as Obama wrestles with the toughest and most ambitious domestic agenda of any president since Lyndon B. Johnson, his foreign policy proposals are becoming increasingly contentious (like Johnson’s.) A Washington Post-ABC news poll conducted last month had shown that a slight majority of Americans have already turned against US involvement in Afghanistan.

In that poll, however, conservatives still favored the war, while liberals were opposed.

Overall, seven in 10 Democrats say the war has not been worth its costs, and fewer than one in five support an increase in troop levels.

Republicans (70 percent say it is worth fighting) and conservatives (58 percent) remain the war’s strongest backers, and the issue provides a rare point of GOP support for Obama’s policies. A narrow majority of conservatives approve of the president’s handling of the war (52 percent), as do more than four in 10 Republicans (43 percent).

But if a leading conservative like Will has already turned against the war, that suggests that Obama will be leaning into strong headwinds if he tries to send even more troops. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is expected to request more fighting men (and women) in the next few days.

It’s too bad a leading conservative like Will didn’t come out against the invasion of Iraq much sooner. (Will eventually turned against it, but that was years after the overthrow of Saddam.) Perhaps Bush and Cheney would have had second thoughts, and those valuable years could have been spent finding bin Laden and chasing down the Taliban.

Afghanistan might no longer be a threat if Bush had been serious about that war when he began it.

51 comments Add your comment

RealityKing

September 1st, 2009
4:02 pm

Afganistan will because the terrorists battle cry if we leave now. Potentially costing us more than if we stay for the next 30 years. Which is what it takes to achieve peace in a land that has never known it.., so just get use to it. Freeing the oppressed has never been easy.

jconservative

September 1st, 2009
4:03 pm

Yeah, and Will is probably going to catch it from some fellow conservatives. I sure did.

I have been opposed to Afghanistan ever since Bush went into Iraq. We had an opportunity, only a slim opportunity, to get Bin Laden. But we blew it when we sent all our troops to Iraq. So, Bin Laden gets away.

Now we apparently want to nation build in a 12th century feudal society. We will need more than luck, it will require divine intervention to pull that off. The best thing the Obama administration can do is find a way to get out without damaging our already fragile relations with a nuclear armed Pakistan.

If the Pentagon wants to use drones & missiles to hit at Bin Laden OK with me. But understand, we will kill a lot of civilians in the process. Are the American people ready for that?

I know McChrystal is in DC doing his briefing. But Afghanistan is no longer a military decision. It is now a foreign policy decision.

RealityKing

September 1st, 2009
4:12 pm

What would America be today if Roosevelt and/or, ironically, Lincoln had listened to the Cynthina’s of the past?

And what will Afganistan become tomorrow if we don’t listen to them now??

mike

September 1st, 2009
4:29 pm

“Afghanistan might no longer be a threat if Bush had been serious about that war when he began it.”

This silly copout is pathetic. Maybe Cynthia should do what she has sneered at other “chickenhawks” to do and claim that she was dead wrong for supporting the Afghan War. You know, act like she demands that others act for once instead of being the AJC’s leading hypocrite.

I Report/ Vast White Wing Conspirator (-: You Whine )-:

September 1st, 2009
4:45 pm

And he has called for American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Huh?

So, instead, forces should be substantially ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~reduced~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent special forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.-George Will

So what planet do you spend most of your time on, Queen Pinko?

jconservative

September 1st, 2009
4:45 pm

RealityKing – “And what will Afganistan become tomorrow…”

Great question. Another question, what will Iraq become tomorrow?
Will Iraq become a radical Islamic nation tomorrow? I do not know. The scary part is that no one else knows. The Sec of Def has a planning group looking at just that question. They don’t know.

Back to your question re Afghanistan. What will Afghanistan become tomorrow if we keep troops there “30 years”? I do not know. You do not know.

We are dealing with a complicated problem in the Islamic world. We are talking about peoples religion. They take it serious. Kill an American & a lot of Muslims jump up & down in joy. Same thing in the US, kill an abortion doctor & a lot of Christians jump up & down in joy.
Religion is hard to measure. Add to that a feudal society. We do not know how to handle a feudal society. We have been there 8 years & the Taliban still control the countryside.

Some suggest buy off the feudal “lords” with money. Might work. Might not. Remember we gave Pakistan $10 billion to beef up their forces on the Afghanistan border. Instead they used the money to beef up their forces on the border with India (a nuclear armed rival). But I am willing to give it a try. It is only money & we can always print more if we run short.

We need to do what we CAN do, not want we want to do.

If a frog had wings

September 1st, 2009
5:08 pm

America might have had a Healthcare reform deal this year if Obama had been serious about bi-partisanship.

America might have cut more CO2 emissions this year if Obama had been serious about a cap and trade deal that didn’t cripple our society.

Iran might not get nuclear weapons if Obama was serious about stopping them from building them.

North Korea might not shoot more missiles at us if Obama gets serious about forcing China to act.

Richardson might be in jail for corruption if Obama was serious about stopping political corruption.

Hillary Clinton might not have been so hot tempered in the Congo if Obama had been serious about using her in his administration.

And the AJC might be profitable if it had been serious about putting truth before agenda.

If a frog had wings

September 1st, 2009
5:12 pm

And last but not least, Cynthia might be a creditable journalist if she wasn’t a thinly veiled race baiting progressively liberal dimwit.

Joey

September 1st, 2009
5:47 pm

If a frog had wings:
Great post. No two great posts.
Thank you.

Davo

September 1st, 2009
5:58 pm

Ditto that, Frog

Dr. Marti Hernandez Rojas

September 1st, 2009
6:16 pm

Flatulence to the wind, frog.

Michael H. Smith

September 1st, 2009
8:08 pm

In the days ahead there will be plenty of armchair generals and soldiers fighting these wars, so I’ll leave that to the professionals, jconservative. Only one comment I’d like to add. Well, actually critique:

We are dealing with a complicated problem in the Islamic world. We are talking about peoples religion. They take it serious. Kill an American & a lot of Muslims jump up & down in joy. Same thing in the US, kill an abortion doctor & a lot of Christians jump up & down in joy.

Fanaticism in any radical form of a religion is always a complicated problem, equally as is its’ anti-type. However, to confuse a Christian with a fanatic is really not a very difficult problem to resolve for those in the faith that rightly divide what is the foundation of their belief. In fact, it is as simple as, Thou shalt not kill; and as discernibly easy to understand that to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up…

Unfortunately, time present seems a time to confuse rather than a time embrace Salomon’s enlighten.

I really do fear the consequences of our President, his abilities as well as his inabilities.

Yankee

September 1st, 2009
8:32 pm

Bring back the draft, when your kids start going and being killed …then again .

Grumpy

September 1st, 2009
9:59 pm

Had we NEVER gone into Iraq, the insurgency would simply have exploded in Afghanistan earlier. Pakistan is the problem, and there’s nothing we can do about them because they’ve got nukes and aren’t 100% on our side. We need to get out, wait till the bad guys do something big again. And the next time it happens we go “scorched earth” on the perps. Collateral damage be damned.

the evil rich

September 1st, 2009
10:14 pm

Oh wow, Cynthia what insight! I was sure NObama would have found OSB by now, based on his campaign spew. The problem here was the looney leftists didn’t support EITHER front, so valuable time was wasted. And please don’t bring out that tripe about support/money for the wars, but none for tax payer funded health care. One is in the constitution, one is not. I’ll let you figure out which is which.

wyldbyllhyltnyr

September 1st, 2009
10:24 pm

Cynthia, one can’t blame President Bush forever. Obama should be blamed for his lack of leadership. He is nothing more that a dimwit who reads that which George Soros’ speechwriters put on his teleprompter.

Frog-Lover

September 1st, 2009
10:31 pm

Frog, You D man. Great job! The blithering morons don’t have a clue and will never get it!

Frog-Lover

September 1st, 2009
10:34 pm

Dr. Marti Hernandez Rojas, I do bet that you are an expert on flatulence, Mostly because of where you keep your nose!

jltmilaftw

September 1st, 2009
11:21 pm

George Will might speak for the conservative elites in DC/NYC but it’s pretty laughable to suggest that George Will speaks for the conservative base. The Obama Administration has said that they are uncomfortable with the concept of victory in Afghanistan. Well if that’s true that Obama really needs to make a serious speech about exactly why are we in Afghanistan. More specically, why is the Obama military there. What is their purpose? What is their goal? What is their mission?

To the idiot poster saying christians jump for joy when abortion doctors are killed. Could you name a few conservatives (that we’ve ever heard of) thatjumped for joy.

Me First

September 1st, 2009
11:36 pm

It really is hard to believe that Will and Tucker are both Pulitzer prize winners. Will is barely in Tucker’s shadow. When you read a column by Will, it’s obvious he’s done his reasearch and blah, blah, blah. Tucker’s allegory and hyperbole are more than enough to sway the toughtest critic. Why did Tucker win a Pulitzer? I forgot. Help..please.

Me First

September 1st, 2009
11:45 pm

Mrs. Godzilla…don’t you stay up late?

Me First

September 1st, 2009
11:51 pm

Oh, well…..time to get some sleep. My children need to be ready for another day of Fulton County school district education. Our district had an open house last week. After introducing myself to one of my child’s teachers, she said “Oh, I like your son.” I’ll sleep well tonight. My tax dollars are being well spent.

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

September 2nd, 2009
2:22 am

Will does not speak for the semi-human flotsam and jetsam that conservatism has devolved to. The oogedy-boogedy whiner crowd has no use for Will.

They are cowards, and extremely stupid.

Cedric E. Arle

September 2nd, 2009
3:28 am

Fight any war to win…quickly, with intense resolve/mission and without politically motivated meddling. All failed wars are dragged out, wasting lives and money; some examples: Afghanistan (Soviets/U.S.), Korea (Truman/Eisenhower), Vietnam (Eisenhower/Kennedy/Johnson/Nixon/Ford) no discredit to the Vets. I’m a conservative (not Republican) and the matter is independent of politics.

DeborahinAthens

September 2nd, 2009
6:55 am

I was opposed to both wars. You cannot fight terrorism with a “war”. Terrorists are criminals that need to be dealt with by a police force. Most of the potential threats in Europe have been thwarted by excellent police work, people infiltrating the cells. I would bet that is the case for the US, also. I think one reason that the Bush administration didn’t make public more “sucesses” from their torture tactics is because the torture didn’t prevent more attacks. Good police work did. Islamic terrorists are not like Hitler. They is no one leader. There is no defined geographic area where we can bomb and do any substantial damage. When Bush went into Iraq and Afghanistan, there was never, and to my knowledge, still, no definition of success. Do we really think we can turn these countries into Western style democracies? Don’t think so. And even if we do, are we ready to live with the results? After all, after Bush got the Palestinians the “Right to Vote” (what a joke), look who they voted into office! This is a rat hole into which we have, and will continue, to pour money to no avail. I was against the war in Vietnam for much the same reasons. We were fed the line that if Vietnam failed the entire world would tip into Communism. I vividly remember being nothing but relieved when the fall of Saigon happened. The US was mortified–we failed! But within a few years, we were over in Saigon, trolling for “trading partners” in the vibrant, new CAPTITALISTIC part of the world. Grow up America. You are not the keeper of democracy. People have to work that out for themselves. When the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan get tired enough of the Taliban bullies, they will rise up themselves and eradicate the $%%^&**^&&s and then, guess what? They just might choose to have a democratic government. Til then, there is not one poppy growing scum that is worth an American life. Are we up to 5000 on the American soldier death toll yet?????

C K Hall

September 2nd, 2009
7:03 am

Same ol same ol–Whenever Obama poll numbers continue to drop blame the good old guys i/e.,Bush,Cheney,etc..It is getting a bit old!

BitterEXdemocrackkk

September 2nd, 2009
7:08 am

Frog! You got legs!

Cynthia, you’re subject matter is slippin girl…stick to the ATL mayor’s race…

Batboy

September 2nd, 2009
7:46 am

So…is your point that it’s all Bush’s fault and George Will is really not that important? That’s pretty pathetic.

Perhaps, you could write that Obama does not seem to have a clue about how to fight this war or why he is fighting it.
Maybe you could write about how Bush found a way to win in Iraq but Obama is in a quagmire, fighting an endless war for a purpose he cannot articulate. Perhaps his teleprompter does not know.
Maybe you could write about how he has not found Bin Laden.
Maybe you could write about whether or not even more troops would be a good idea.
Maybe you would write about the hypocrisy of the left who were apoplectic about war until the presidency changed hands.

But you won’t.

Mike

September 2nd, 2009
7:47 am

Obama bought into and supported this war, so he can claim the results since it is now on him to produce in Afganistan. Stop blaming Bush, he is gone !

By the way If LBJ & JFK had not messed up Vietnam The U.S. would have one less black eye in the world. But it is what it is ain’t it ?

Frog the Idiot

September 2nd, 2009
7:48 am

Bush Belongs Behind Bars

Batboy

September 2nd, 2009
7:49 am

Most of us knew that Obama was adrift in Afghanistan when his first policy initiative there was to negotiate with the moderate Taliban.

Those are the ones who only put out the eyes of the girls who go to school instead of killing them.

MikeB

September 2nd, 2009
7:49 am

Do you always have to tie your rhetoric back to the previous administration Ms. Tucker? Cannot the decisions the Obama administration makes stand on their own?

What we have achieved in AFG is lost on most. We have isolated and restricted the movement of an arch terrorist. While not explained to Americans in explicit detail, it accomplishes the mission of keeping Americans safe around the world, and marginalizing Bin Laden.

The question is, at what cost is this a productive endevor? We have the financial component, and we have the human in terms of life lost/affected(How do you put a price on that?)

In the real world marginalizing and restricting the movement of Osama Bin Laden will cost us less than killing him (because he would be held up as a Martyr, and 100 wannabe’s would take his place…..try to contain that….Think of what THAT would cost), or a removing troops from AFG.

There is no liberal or conservative answer to this, so there is no sense positioning it as that type of issue. We will be in AFG until its confirmed that Bin Laden has passed away. Then the discussion can move forward………….

If we never went in the first place, who knows what other destructive plans he had for our world. Who knows if we would even be here given his willingness to use his wealth for destructive purposes.

Lets all get our heads out of our agenda sandbox, and consider this before saying anything more. That includes you Ms. Tucker.

sp

September 2nd, 2009
7:58 am

@ DeborahinAthens 6:55

“Terrorists are criminals that need to be dealt with by a police force” — Gosh, GWB could have used you on 9/11. Instead of trying to defeat Al Queda and Taliban, we should have had NY’s finest fill out a report on an “accident” at the Twin Towers, and have the victims families fight the insurance companies. I guess Pearl Harbor should have been a “police action”

[...] On Afghanistan, Obama loses George Will [Atlanta Journal-Constitution] [...]

TnGelding

September 2nd, 2009
8:03 am

It’s too bad Will and Cynthia Tucker didn’t come out against the initial invasion of Afghanistan. As I’ve written many times before, it WAS a law enforcement problem that could have been aided by covert military operations. If the airlines had been more concerned about safety than they were on-time departures 09/11 would probably never have happened. Certainly not on the scale it did. Of course it would have helped if the Bush administration had notified them of an increased threat.

Now it’s hard to say. I suspect Obama will persevere and evenually gain an acceptable outcome at the cost of much blood and treasure. Troops can’t be withdrawn until the Afghan army is strong enough to assume control and Pakistan has to move more of its troops off of the border with India to join the fray there. The collateral damage has to be reduced as much as possible and the hearts and minds of the people have to be won. I see no need to rebuild infrastructure until the suicide bombing is under control. Reports Monday indicated the civilian surge hasn’t begun in earnest.

From AP:

“Taliban attacks have spiked the last three years and insurgents now control wide swaths of territory, momentum that forced President Barack Obama to send 21,000 additional troops to the country this year.”

“Five months after President Barack Obama ordered a dramatic increase in American civilian experts in Afghanistan to undergird a new military push, the so-called civilian surge is moving too slowly, U.S. officials and outside experts warn.”

“Administration officials heading the civilian buildup insist the program is on pace but acknowledge they have sprawling logistics issues. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and the head of coordination of the effort at the State Department, says critics don’t appreciate the difficulties.”

Sorry I couldn’t provide a link but experience tells me my comments would have been held in moderation.

TnGelding

September 2nd, 2009
8:08 am

Mike

September 2nd, 2009
7:47 am

We’re lucky Vietnam didn’t escalate into WWIII. Didn’t Ike insert the first advisers? I’d like to think JFK wouldn’t have handled it the same way LBJ did, but who knows?

Dr. R

September 2nd, 2009
8:15 am

You could do worse that follow George Will’s advice. Conservative or liberal, whatever, he’s a thinking man in a world full of feelings, beliefs and gut reaction. There are far too few like him. He wouldn’t reach his conclusion haphazardly without applying logic and reason, so I am inclined to get on board.

William

September 2nd, 2009
8:18 am

The liberals lost the Vietnam War and now the liberals will lose the Afghanistan War. Liberals are not leaders they are simply ideologist. They should stick to dancing and music.

William

September 2nd, 2009
8:20 am

Oh yeah and sex!

jeff

September 2nd, 2009
8:30 am

Tucker is just like any other liberal mouthpiece. She turns Obama’s problems in Afghanistan into another issue caused by Bush and Cheney. When are these liberals going to grow up and be responsible for their actions?

Jon but not Jon Voight

September 2nd, 2009
8:32 am

William’s a jerk. Bush and Cheney started two invasions and didn’t end either. Typical Repubs – create a mess for someone else to clean up.

Highly Amused

September 2nd, 2009
8:33 am

I’m a true conservative and was against Iraq. I recognize we were in a post 9-11 mode but the attack against us was made by a religion, not a country. Please do not tell me about how Islam is a peaceful religion or compare past atrocities committed by Christianity. The Christian atrocities were committed in violation of biblical principles. The Koran supports the actions of the ists. We invaded a sovereign nation that did not attack us. We had no proof they were associated with those attacked us. They didn’t like us so we killed thousands and let thousands of our own be killed. Now we are just going to give the country back. We were in Afghanistan before the election. As much as I to say this, Afghanistan is not on Obama. Why are we there anyway? Weren’t most of the attackers on 9-11 Saudi citizens?

The President should evaluate our presence in Afghanistan. Why are we there? What tangible benefit is it to our country? Is that benefit worth billions upon billions of dollars and more importantly; the lives of our finest? IF not… Bring them home.

Batboy

September 2nd, 2009
8:43 am

Cindy Sheehan has been protesting in Massachusetts for a week. Now that we have a new president, the media is no longer interested in covering her. No cameras, no stories. Gone is her “absolute moral authority” which shills like Tucker bestowed on her in the Bush years.
Also gone is the credibility of journalists who are only interested in stories that further their agenda.

Marine Dad

September 2nd, 2009
8:46 am

In the spring of 1943, the USMC undertook it’s first, large scale amphibious operation in the landing at Tarawa. In the bloody mess that followed, marines suffered more casualties in three days than in 6 months at Guadalcanal. Americans at home were not prepared. Military experts had tried to warn the public that the Pacific campaign would be long and bloody. Instead, and this should come as no surprise, immediately after Tarawa experts were confronted with arm chair suggestions that “air power” be used in lieu of American boys.

That’s the magic pill isn’t it? “Just surgical air strikes and spec ops”

You betcha

We blow bugles,and bang the drums, but when it comes down to boots on the ground, when it comes to the death and dismemberment of American boys, ………….Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, a strong element in the U. S. of A. seems to “talk the talk” a lot better than “walk the walk”.

We want to take our ball and go home.

Oh we can tweak our attention span out a ways, as with today’s all volunteer military most of the fighting and dying is done by “someone else’s son”.

George Will may be right. If so, he’s about 8 years too late. If America no longer has the stomach for war, why don’t we just admit it, and ten years from now, maybe save another military mom from having to bury her son.

Batboy

September 2nd, 2009
8:51 am

Why is Tucker still here? I thought they kicked her upstairs so they could save the circulation trends at the AJC.
Maybe it was the appearance on Chris Matthews where she defined the percentage of people who oppose Obama care who are racists. Yep, the one that shot her credibility in the head.
Cynthia has a facility with words but the power of her brain is no match for her verbal skills. She is a powerful transmission with no horsepower.
This moronic post is but a fresh ( as in warm and stinky) example.

pat

September 2nd, 2009
9:01 am

To leave the afghan theater now is so stupid it’s astounding. I can’t immagine what would make one feel safe about doing that. If we leave, the terrorists will take it back and will attack us again. They’ll happily kill democrats, republicans or anybody else.

War sucks, it always has, but this war has to be fought and won. The stakes are to high not to do so.

Red Foreman

September 2nd, 2009
9:10 am

Remove the troops, nuke it to the stone age!

Jim

September 2nd, 2009
10:01 am

Russia battled in Afghanistan for 10 years and left in defeat.

John

September 3rd, 2009
10:23 am

George Will is doing Obama a favor. By putting attention on Afghanistan, it detours people thinking about the continuos rising unemployment, Cash-for-Clunkers not the success first mentioned (only American company that did ok was Ford), the fact he’s QUADRUPLED the deficit and had to admit it was $2 TRILLION more then first thought.

John

September 3rd, 2009
10:25 am

For Red Foreman: Afghanistan is already ’stone age’ ! Thats why its so difficult there.

For Jim: That was panzy Russia, remember we’re big bad America.