But, as Doctor Zero articulates with the usual blistering clarity, such is the monotonic tenor of the Obama presidency:
Every moment of the “historic” Obama presidency has been wrapped in the rhetoric of failure and decline. A nation slipping into endless debt, to buy off the social concerns of the moment, cannot help but feel helpless and doomed… because it wouldn’t be so quick to mortgage a future it believed in. To accept the leadership of Barack Obama, either in Afghanistan or at home, is to accept that triumph is a fantasy, and achievement is a relic of the past, so the only rational course is carefully managed decline.Indeed. Whether it is the ham-handed intrusion of government into the auto industry and banking system, or the on-going attempt to effect a fateful phagocytosis of the health insurance market, this administration has broadcast with unerring consistency the message that the proper management of our lives and resources are so far beyond the ken of the "average" citizen that nothing short of Central Planning stands the faintest chance of achieving the goals of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Doctor Zero quite rightly makes the analogy between the confidence and vigor of a civilian population, and the morale of a military force. Per Obama, both are in need of careful control from the top, so as to achieve the ultimate goal of an orderly and placid mediocrity. Try as I have (and I have tried mightily!), I can find no evidence that he believes this Nation can or should aspire to anything higher.
Needless to say, I disagree. And, as should be abundantly clear by now, I have officially abandoned the effort to give this administration the benefit of the doubt.
A properly resourced and inspired COIN force can achieve wonders, once it has shown itself willing and able to accept elevated risk, and to "walk the walk" for the sake of a host nation's population. An under-resourced and ambivalent COIN force sends the message to would-be insurgents and collaborators that they had best keep their powder dry, against the day of their inevitable abandonment.
So it goes with a people and their president. Tell us, in a host of ways, that we are ineffectual and in need of paternalistic control, and you offer us a choice: bow low before the beneficent State and accept its putative boons, or be moved by the affront to reclaim our dignity and repudiate your condescension. This American "insurgency" has taken the form of Tea Parties, raucous town hall meetings, and a rapidly growing grass-roots movement, self-organizing around the reclaiming of the muscular and pragmatic optimism which lies at the heart of the American consciousness. I live in hope (the real kind) that this insurgency will triumph at home....and in dread that its dark counterpart will do the same in the shadow of the Hindu Kush.