While he made a bad situation worse by defending war during the Nobel ceremony, a nasty possibility is emerging from his decision to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan.
Among the allegations Christopher Hitchens levelled in his book 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger', which I admit I read several years ago, was a fairly convincing argument along the lines of 'Kissinger and Nixon took unilateral steps to flummox peace discussions late in the '60s and drew the war out, largely for political purposes'. Resulting in tens of thousands more people dying.
While it may not be clear for many years, what if Obama is essentially making his decision to continue in Afghanistan against a preponderance of the advice he has received, at least in relation to the likelihood of success there? What if, instead, this Nobel Prize winning Democratic President has made a decision to continue the war, increasing its intensity (and therefore the casualties that will inevitably follow on all sides), because he believes this is essential to his own domestic political survival?
Hugh White's recent article in The Monthly suggests, by implication, that this might be the case.
We might yawn at the idea of becoming upset at politicians acting cynically to get votes, but when it comes to waging war, this could open him up to allegations (as Hitchens tried to do to Kissinger) that he has committed a breach of the laws of war, maybe even a war crime.
Ironically, Bush and Blair may have had better justification for going in at the beginning (to shut down Taliban terrorist training camps, which we know existed and which were used to attack the US) than Obama has for 'surging' the troops at this point.
I hope this hypothesis is wrong, I still have reams of respect for the man, and I hope (against the odds it would seem) that he actually succeeds and brings peace there.
Monday Melbourne: CCCIX, September 2014 - Shot Tower in red. Taken September 2014
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