Friday, December 4, 2009

The Subtext Of Obama's Surge

Andrew McCarthy has a strongly derisive column on NRO exposing what he sees as the blatant cynicism in President Obama's Tuesday speech. McCarthy makes the case that Obama's Afghanistan plan was put in place to accomodate his socialist agenda and has no real national security component. It's thus doomed to failure as policy but its timing eases Obama's political pressure from both the left and the right. I'm afraid that McCarthy is right about Obama's motivation but I'm optimistic that our military is good enough to beat the expectations of pundits and politicians, as it's done so often, most recently in Iraq.
One valuable feature of McCarthy's article is his detailing of Obama's misreading of recent Afghan history. Another is his examination of Obama's radical background which was somehow ignored or dismissed as irrelevant during the presidential campaign. Polls seem to show there's a growing understanding among the electorate that that background is profoundly relevant.
Here are some passages, but it's a fairly long piece and should be read whole.

First, the president is an Alinskyite, so steeped in the ideology of the seminal community organizer that he became a top instructor in Alinskyite tactics for other up-and-coming radicals. As David Horowitz explains in an essential new pamphlet, Barack Obama’s Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model, Alinksyites are fifth-column radicals. They have, in substance, the same goals as open revolutionaries: overthrowing the existing free-market republic and replacing it with a radical’s utopia. That’s why Obama could befriend such unrepentant former terrorists as Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and take inspiration from Jeremiah Wright, a black-liberation theologist. But Alinskyites are more sophisticated, patient, and practical. They bore in, hollowing out the system from within, appropriating the appearance and argot of mainstream society. Their single, animating ambition is to overthrow the capitalist social order, which they claim to see as racist, corrupt, exploitative, imperialist, etc. Apart from that goal, everything else — from the public option to Afghanistan — is negotiable: They reserve the right to take any position on any matter, to say anything at any time, based on the ebb and flow of popular opinion. That keeps them politically viable while they radically transform society. Transform it into what, they haven’t worked out in great detail — except that it will be perfect, communal, equal, and just.

It is a long march, and compromises — like surging troops in order to withdraw troops — have to be made along the way. But those compromises keep Alinskyites politically viable. As Ayers has found in his second act, as an “education reformer,” that’s a better prescription for success than blowing up the Pentagon. Explaining that he was still a “revolutionary, but just a more effective one,” Van Jones — a former avowed Communist who became Obama’s friend, fellow Alinskyite, and “green jobs czar” — put it this way in explaining why he now works within the system: “I’m willing to forgo the cheap satisfaction of the radical pose for the deep satisfaction of radical ends.” As Horowitz notes, “It was the Alinsky doctrine perfectly expressed.”

The president’s seduction of the Right would be amusing if it weren’t working so well. His speech’s “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies” section led off with this whopper: “Our nation was founded in resistance to oppression.” Does anyone say, Hey, wait a second: This is the same guy who said our nation was founded as an oppressor — our “fundamentally flawed” Constitution reflective of the “deep flaws in American culture,” including racism, “the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day”? No, no need to get into that.

This (the surge) would be preposterous if it were actually a national-security strategy. But it’s not. It’s a political strategy. It’s incoherent, but it’s working: The Right is snowed, the Left is appeased. We’re coming, but we’re leaving. We’re sending thousands of warriors, but they won’t be making war. We’re nation building in a place we’d have to occupy for a century to build a nation, but we’re not occupiers, and we’ll be calling it a wrap in 18 months. In the interim, Afghanistan can go off the radar while we socialize medicine, save the planet from the contrived heat death, and get ACORN busy on the midterms. We can deal with Afghanistan again in July 2011, when we’ll have a better read on the landscape for Obama’s 2012 reelection bid. Saul Alinsky would be proud.

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