May 15, 2016

For the annals of "Unexpectedly": "For Obama, an Unexpected Legacy of Two Full Terms at War."

Remember, as you listen, week after week, to predictions about what's going to happen next fall and in the coming 4 years: All the erstwhile seers are going to be calling everything "unexpected." I mean, if a Democrat wins, they'll be calling each bad thing unexpected, and if a Republican wins they call each good thing unexpected. That's me posing as a seer. If I'm wrong, it will be unexpectedly.

The headline quoted in the post title appears in — can you guess? — The New York Times. From the text:
[Obama] has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.
And — unless he shuts down all war by November or we amend the Constitution — no one can ever beat his record.
Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009....
They might want to avoid that advance Peace Prize move in the future... unless they want to promote war. (But, of course, Obama wasn't given the Peace Prize because they'd predicted he'd end Bush's wars. He was given the Peace Prize because he'd caused America to progress from what the Norwegians saw as our benighted racist ways and to elect a black President.)

The NYT portrays Obama's war legacy in a golden light:
His closest advisers say he has relied so heavily on limited covert operations and drone strikes because he is mindful of the dangers of escalation and has long been skeptical that American military interventions work.
He is mindful... A GOP President is lucky to get credit for thinking at all. Did the NYT ever call GWB "mindful"? Will it call President Trump "mindful"? Yes, I'm predicting that Trump will win. It's an "unexpectedly" kind of year.

I happened to glance at the comments at the NYT. The newest one at the moment says: "The opening sentence reveals the republican slant making the rest of the article invalid." Ah! Poor NYT! Here I am writing about its Democratic Party slant and some reader is bashing it from the other side. The NYT has reason to think we are getting this just right. 

42 comments:

tim in vermont said...

"Unexpectedly" almost always means "conservatives were right."

Big Mike said...

Yes, I'm predicting that Trump will win.

It's a measure of how far the Democrats have fallen that this is regarded as a positive thing by so many Americans.

AReasonableMan said...

This is a silly critique of Obama. Quite clearly he has very little appetite for war making (see Lindsay Graham) but the Bush's actions in the ME created obligations that have been difficult to disentangle. As the right repeatedly argues, we still have troops in Germany and Japan. The difference is that in WWII we defeated two military powers that were relatively limited in their geographical and ideological reach. In contrast, the Bush's inflamed a religious war against an almost limitless 1.5 billion adherents of broad geographical reach. It was literally madness, and we will pay for this madness for generations to come.

David Begley said...

No. Obama lost the war in Iraq after it was won. Not leaving troops was incredibly stupid. Must have been Ben Rhodes' idea.

He refused to fight in order to win.

Just add this to his list of failures. Historic.

Daniel Richwine said...

If we want to play the game of blaming for war, we won't ever stop. Obama, like Bush, played the hand he was dealt. I'm not certain what Bush was supposed to do after 9/11, but I doubt the response would have been different with president Gore, at least with regards to Afghanistan. Similarly Obama has had to deal with the realities of his international position. His hands are somewhat tied.

I'm not saying it doesn't matter who the president is, just that we are in a system in the world where the influence of one man, even POTUS, is dwarfed by the world as a whole.

David Begley said...

ARM

The Sunni v Shia war has been going on for centuries. Was that Bush's fault?

AReasonableMan said...

David Begley said...
The Sunni v Shia war has been going on for centuries. Was that Bush's fault?


No. Intervening in a multi-generational war was.

tim in vermont said...

Obama pretending that history would give him a mulligan has made matters far worse.

Withdrawal of our forces from Iraq unexpectedly gave ISIS a huge victory. Overthrow of Qadaffy unexpectedly created a shit show. Trying to overthrow Assad unexpectedly created millions of refugees.

tim in vermont said...

Obama refused to play the hand he was dealt and unexpectedly created a bigger disaster.

DavidD said...

"[H]e'd caused America to progress from what the Norwegians saw as our benighted racist ways and to elect a black President"?

I'd say he was more the beneficiary than the cause of America's progress.

Drago said...

ARM: "In contrast, the Bush's inflamed a religious war against an almost limitless 1.5 billion adherents of broad geographical reach."

If you refuse to hand Spain back over to the Muslims, congratulations! You just inflamed a religious war.

If you refuse to convert to islam or agree to live as a slave and pay for the privilege, congratulations! You just inflamed a religious war.

Goodness knows we wouldn't want to do that now, would we?

That Thomas Jefferson, daring to oppose the enslavement of US Naval personnel by muslims! Didn't he know that he would just be inflaming a religious war?

Birkel said...

Never will all the rubes self-identify.

Morning, Althouse.

AReasonableMan said...

Drago said...
If you refuse to hand Spain back over to the Muslims, congratulations! You just inflamed a religious war.


This is a moronic comparison. What, exactly, was our historical claim to the lands of Kuwait and Iraq?

I agree that the Europeans are nuts for allowing so many Muslims into their countries, either voluntarily or involuntarily. But, it is no stupider than the Bush's ME wars. In both cases it shows a complete lack of respect for history.

William said...

I have read that Obama's drone program has recruited more ISIS adherents than it has killed. OK, I can understand how such acts would cause bitterness and resolve among the survivors and relatives of the victims. What I don't understand is why the various ISIS sponsored bombings and massacres dont inspire the same antipathy.

Birkel said...

"AReasonableMan"

How dare you call Muslims who wish to return Andalusia back to the Caliphate "moronic"! What sort of cultural imperialist are you?

And what sort of historical claim does Europe have on the Americas?
Why must native Neanderthals capitulate to homo sapiens?
Those Mongols had no claim to the extent of Asia.
What historical claim do Europeans have on Australia?

I like the Left's stupid arguments.

mccullough said...

Obama is burning out the special forces with his idiocy. And his Afghanistan troop surge was dumb. Almost as bad as W when it comes to misusing the military. Hillary will be more of the same.

furious_a said...

The chaos in Libya, meaningless Red Lines in Syria and acquiescence to Iran are Obama's gifts that will keep on giving.

At least Egypt survived Obama's feckless attempted handover to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sally327 said...

I don't think it's exactly true that Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Price as some kind of tribute to America for electing its first African-American President; that assessment seems revisionist. He was given that award because he was supposed to be the antithesis of the war-monger cowboy George W. Bush. I think the Committee really did believe that he would place limitations of the reach and effectiveness of the American military and allow our foreign policy to be directed by multinational organizations. In that perhaps they've been correct.

Obama is not only the longest serving war President, he is also in the running as the most inept war President we've ever had. It will be up to the historians to figure out how much of that incompetence was exactly what he was aiming for.

Birkel said...

Sally327:

Revisionist would imply that the vast majority of criticism of the Nobel Prize award was not contemporaneous. But that is wrong.

Michael K said...

In contrast, the Bush's inflamed a religious war against an almost limitless 1.5 billion adherents of broad geographical reach. It was literally madness, and we will pay for this madness for generations to come.

I see you agree with me that the 1.5 billion Muslims, or at least those who are sincere in their beliefs, are enemies of modern life and therefore of our civilization.

Bush was in a tough spot, as I have repeatedly pointed out in several places, and his options were limited with none really good.

The Saudis were nominal allies whose royal family was really the enemy of bin Laden. Bill Clinton could have done a lot to avoid Bush's dilemma by killing bin Laden when we literally had him in our sights. He had attacked us with the Cole plus the African embassies.

Our incredibly inefficient visa system and immigration policies allowed the 9/11 conspiracy to mature in the country. The "Chinese Wall" between FBI and CIA established by Jamie Gorelick, probably to protect the Clinton Crime Family, blocked any cooperation that might have exposed the plot.

Jimmy Carter enabled the Shia side of the feud by "throwing out the Shah like a dead mouse," as one Iranian general put it. We've been involved in this feud since FDR told the Saudis that we would protect them in 1945. We forced out the father of the Shah who was pro-German and then forced the Soviets to leave northern Iran after 1945.

It's a long story.

Sally327 said...

Birkel, Althouse wrote: "But, of course, Obama wasn't given the Peace Prize because they'd predicted he'd end Bush's wars. He was given the Peace Prize because he'd caused America to progress from what the Norwegians saw as our benighted racist ways and to elect a black President."

That's revisionist, perhaps deliberately, because Obama supporters are forced to defend the Peace Price now as based on something other than ending Bush's wars. Not that Althouse is writing as an Obama supporter, although she was one once and perhaps still is, but stating the rationale the way she supposes others do now. Possibly. Now that Obama's been shown to be as war happy as his predecessor was, only less effectively and certainly less transparently.

Which, in my opinion, the opaque way in which Obama has directed his war-fighting is one of the more fascinating aspects of all this, how Obama correctly determined that Americans wouldn't care if we are at war or where or how or why as long as they couldn't see it. Which we can't because it's SF and it's all covert and classified and we have only the vaguest idea who we're killing and why.

Roger Sweeny said...

Obama may not have ended any wars but he did end a large antiwar movement.

mccullough said...

W and Obama or any US president isn't t blame for Islam. But we need to stay out of their infra-religious war and keep them out of the US. We shouldn't follow Europe's idiocy. Let the Muslims fight each other until they figure out its not worth it.

Michael K said...

" Obama correctly determined that Americans wouldn't care if we are at war "

Or if they didn't know thanks to his allies in the MSM who will cover for any Democrat except Johnson.

Birkel said...

Sally327:

Those were the contemporaneous positions. I know because Obama apologists made them to me.

Sally327 said...

"Obama may not have ended any wars but he did end a large antiwar movement."

Roger Sweeny, excellent comment. I wish I'd written that!



cronus titan said...

NYT knows its readers, who are SJW types who hate Republicans. THey probably can't tell you why that makes any sense, but they do know they hate them. Ironically, the NYT is engaged in mdia populism targeting its constituency.

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

"Amendment XXII: Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once."

Is it not possible that someone can "beat [Obama's] record" and preside over more than eight continuous years of war?

Forbes said...

Obama did add tens of thousands of troops* to the "good" war in Afghanistan, but to the NYT that's just limited covert operations and drone strikes. So, all good!

On Dec. 1, 2009, at West Point, Obama announced 30,000 additional troops to be sent to Afghanistan--deployment in 2010.

tim in vermont said...

This is a moronic comparison. What, exactly, was our historical claim to the lands of Kuwait and Iraq?

As usual ARM is ill informed so he deflects.

Following is the transcript of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a taped statement that aired on Al-Jazeera, the Arabic satellite station, and appears to have been recorded before the U.S. strikes.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BIN LADEN (through translator): Let the whole world know that we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalucia (ph) would be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish.

And with regard to you, Muslims, this is the day of question. This is a new (inaudible) against you, all against the Muslims and Medina. So be like the followers of the prophet, peace be upon him, and all countrymen (ph), lovers of God and the prophet within, and a new battle, great battle, similar to the great battles of Islam, like the conqueror of Jerusalem. So, hurry up to the dignity of life and the eternity of death.

Thanks to God, he who God guides will never lose. And I believe that there's only one God. And I declare I believe there's no prophet but Mohammed.

This is America, God has sent one of the attacks by God and has attacked one of its best buildings. And this is America filled with fear from the north, south, east and west, thank God.


This is before the war in Afghanistan or Iraq, well before Hillary and Barack deposed, well slaughtered actually after sodomizing him with, I am betting, Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. Before their plans, still pushed by Kerry today, to overthrow Assad.

And this:

After some of the Islamic terrorists believed to be responsible for the Madrid train bombings on March 11 blew themselves up to evade arrest police found a video tape in their hideout.
One of the terrorists referred to "the land of Tarik bin Ziayd", the first Arab leader to cross the Strait of Gibraltar in 711, while another said: "You know the Spanish crusade against Muslims, the expulsion from Al-Andalus and the tribunals of the Inquisitions, that was not so long ago."


It is easy to feel smart if you ignore all of the contrary facts, isn't it ARM?

n.n said...

The Norwegian elites were desperate to direct attention away from the progressive dysfunction developing in their own nation, and other Europeans nations, caused largely by anti-native policies, and political and economic monopolies and practices.

As for Obama, opportunistic abandonment, mass exodus, progressive wars, impulsive regime changes, backing terrorist organizations, pro-choice religion, reactive parenthood, planned parenthood, and anti-native policies generally. He will always have his home away from home on a beachfront estate in Hawaii.

It didn't start with Obama, but he has been an enthusiastic supporter to retain and progress the status quo.

Hagar said...

Actually, we were "involved" with Iranian oil fields already in WWI days, before oil was even found in the Arabian Peninsula.

And the U.S. were at war with the Apaches for at least 40 years, and nominally for another 20.

Hagar said...

and the U.S. has maintained a naval presence in the Mediterranean since Jefferson's time and it has not been there just for sightseeing and goodwill purposes.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Obama may not have ended any wars but he did end a large antiwar movement."

Exactly. That is the kernel at the heart of the discussion. Obama has had limitless license to fuck up because a slavish media would never hold him accountable and a correspondingly clueless electorate would, in their ignorance, never get upset.

traditionalguy said...

Under Obama the Muslim Warrior community organizes with a media distraction of drone strikes by Obama substituting for any opposing of the gains by the Sunni Jihadists.

Obama has been at war with the USA from the Mosque House.

The funny part is the media dubbed his method of destroying Allah's enemy, Leading From Behind.

Gahrie said...

In contrast, the Bush's inflamed a religious war

A war the Muslims launched against us 1,300 years ago.

John said...

Obama did not win the Peace Prize because the US elected a black. He won it for nuclear disarmament and fighting climate change, among other things. Note that this award was October, when he had been in office not quite 9 months.

"If [President Obama] can win the Nobel Peace Prize, I wouldn't be surprised to wake up one morning and find I'd won the Preakness" Dustin Hoffman's character in Wag the Dog.

Here is the full citation, straight from the committee.


The Nobel Peace Prize for 2009

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2009 is to be awarded to President Barack Obama for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples. The Committee has attached special importance to Obama's vision of and work for a world without nuclear weapons.

Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.

Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future. His diplomacy is founded in the concept that those who are to lead the world must do so on the basis of values and attitudes that are shared by the majority of the world's population.

For 108 years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has sought to stimulate precisely that international policy and those attitudes for which Obama is now the world's leading spokesman. The Committee endorses Obama's appeal that "Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges."

Oslo, October 9, 2009


(emph added-JRH)

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2009/press.html

John Henry

Drago said...

Tim, by refusing to acknowledge the importance of returning Spain to muslim domination, ARM has inflamed the muslim peoples.

I wonder if ARM would be willing to speak privately with some of these islamist leaders to explain to them the meaning of their beliefs.

I am certain they would be grateful.

JamesB.BKK said...

Suspecting Obama paused an antiwar movement.

tim in vermont said...

Unexpectedly:
ProPublica notices that drug seekers have been using its Prescriber Checkup tool, a national database containing the prescribing habits of doctors, to find providers most likely to prescribe narcotics.

Hazy Dave said...

A VP ascending to the Presidency due to a vacancy can be elected twice, so the 8 year record is not necessarily unbeatable without a Constitutional Amendment.

Climate change???

Ralph Thayer said...

Funny, or fishy? Post to your Facebook Timeline the NYT page headlined (so far) "For Obama, an Unexpected Legacy of Two Full Terms at War" [http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/us/politics/obama-as-wartime-president-has-wrestled-with-protecting-nation-and-troops.html?_r=0] and the headline magically morphs to "Obama, as Wartime President, Has Wrestled With Protecting Nation, and Troops" [http://bit.ly/23VaU8p]. Kinder and gentler, no?