Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bob Woodward attacks Obama for "a kind of madness"

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Back when Bob Woodward mattered.

Honestly, it's hard to believe that anyone pays attention to this idiot anymore:

The Washington Post's Bob Woodward attacked President Barack Obama on Wednesday, saying the commander-in-chief's decision not to deploy an aircraft carrier because of budget cuts is "a kind of madness."

"Can you imagine Ronald Reagan sitting there and saying, 'Oh, by the way, I can't do this because of some budget document?'" Woodward said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"Or George W. Bush saying, 'You know, I'm not going to invade Iraq because I can't get the aircraft carriers I need' or even Bill Clinton saying, 'You know, I'm not going to attack Saddam Hussein's intelligence headquarters,' as he did when Clinton was president because of some budget document?" Woodward added. "Under the Constitution, the president is commander-in-chief and employs the force. And so we now have the president going out because of this piece of paper and this agreement. 'I can't do what I need to do to protect the country.' That's a kind of madness that I haven't seen in a long time."

Let's address this in order:

First, no, Reagan likely wouldn't have, but that's because he was an extreme militarist who didn't give a damn about the budget, in fact exploding the national debt with outrageous military spending. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, though, one could say that he was right to do so at the time because, you know, there was that whole Cold War going on and it was important to ramp up the military spending and spread the military's reach far and wide. I won't give him that benefit, but, regardless, it's silly to say that what was necessary then is necessary now.

Second, Dubya would have been better off if he hadn't had what he needed to launch that war, but, regardless, this too is a silly analysis (to the extent that anything Woodward says these days actually qualifies as analysis). We're talking about a single aircraft carrier here. And we're talking only about a delayed deployment, nothing permanent. It hardly thwarts America's overall military capacity.

Third, this is the president who wisely redirected focus away from Iraq and Afghanistan, pulling out of each of those misadventures, and towards the far greater threat, non-state terrorist groups operating in the tribal regions along the Afghan-Pakistan border. I don't approve of most aspects of the drone war, but there's no doubt that Obama has done what he has needed to do to protect the country. (And let's not forget that he, and for the most part he alone, made the decision to take out Osama bin Laden, an incredibly risky decision given the uncertainties surrounding both the mission and the target. Bush let Osama get away. Obama did not.

Fourth, how is this Obama's fault? Time and time again he has sought budgetary compromise with the Republicans, agreeing to spending cuts even to core entitlement programs (angering many on the left) in return for modest revenue increases. It's the Republicans who are the ideological extremists, and the coming sequestration cuts that forced the Pentagon's hand will only happen because they continue to refuse to compromise in any meaningful way. If Woodward really wants to find madness, he should look at the GOP.

Fifth, this is all way overblown. It's not madness. And, again, it's not Obama's fault, and by no means is he putting the country in danger. You have to be an idiot to think that, just like to have to be an idiot to think that this "madness" is somehow worse than, say, the entirety of the Bush-Cheney era, when a war based on lies (Iraq), a war started and then ignored (Afghanistan), the destruction of America's international credibility, and the imposition of a right-wing political agenda on U.S. foreign policy really did weaken the country and expose it to immense danger.

All I can say further is that I liked Woodward a whole lot more when he was being played by Robert Redford.

But that seems like so long ago, doesn't it?

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