From the New York Times:
President Obama inched closer this week to allowing American forces to once again directly battle the Taliban, loosening restrictions on airstrikes and on ground combat….
The president’s decision to expand the military’s mission just seven months before he leaves office signaled just how far the United States remains from achieving his goal of ending the American military role in Afghanistan.
The whole thing is worth reading. It’s word salad. The excerpt above typifies, but it goes on and on, in much the same incoherent vein. Obie wants to end ‘the US role in Afghanistan’, but as a lame duck — a President with nobody to answer to, whose decisions will have no consequences for him — he doubles down, and gives the colonels and the majors a free hand. With predictable consequences. Unlike the generals, these are people with careers still to make; very eager and motivated killers.
Paradox, you think? I think not. The solution is not far to seek. Obie is an Organization Man, a deeply loyal Democrat. He’s adhering to the party line here; and as a cursory glance at history will show, the Democrats never met a war they didn’t like.
He’s also doing Hillary a favor, of course. When she’s inaugurated, she will have inherited the mess, and won’t need to bear the responsibility for expanding the war.
By the way, in the print edition, which a few old ladies on the Upper West Side still read, this story was on Page 7, with a very uninteresting graphic to accompany it. This is long-established form for the Times, which does occasionally report the good stuff, but also always finds a way to bury it.
What must it be like to work for that outfit, I wonder. I suppose it’s like splitting the difference. We did run the story, so we’re not complete liars. But also, we made sure nobody would read it, except Noam Chomsky, who reads everything; so we’re also team players.