George Will Bails Out on Another War

George WillYou’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land where left is right and hawk is dove.  Next stop… the George Will Zone.

Columnist George Will, whom I generally admire, seems intent on undermining America’s war effort.  He set the rightosphere atwitter this week with a column headlined “Time to Get Out of Afganistan,” becoming the first major conservative to advocate surrender in the one war President Obama has expressed interest in winning.

He’s making a habit of prematurely declaring defeat — he wrote “the surge has failed” in September 2007, just when it was starting to show tentative signs of success.

As an antidote to Will’s nay-saying, the Wall Street Journal today published a much more hopeful assessment from Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel, who note:

Democracies sometimes talk themselves out of keeping up the faith in tough situations, and we should avoid any such tendency towards defeatism, especially so early in the execution of the Obama administration’s new military/civilian/economic strategy, which combines stronger and more widespread counterinsurgency measures with increased nation-building efforts.

Rich Lowry has been good on this as well, taking issue with Will’s fantasy about fighting the war from offshore:

This counter-terrorism from afar is very dicey business. What would our sources of intelligence be if we don’t have a substantial presence on the ground? Remember: The further away you are, the better your intelligence has to be because you have a longer lead time until you can strike. This is why we kept hitting empty terrorist training camps with cruise missiles in the 1990s.

The strategy that so clearly has worked in Iraq deserves an opportunity to succeed in Afghanistan as well.  I hope that President Obama, who seemed to latch onto the Afghanistan war as a way of proving that he’s not a doctrinaire pacifist, can withstand increasing pressure from his left.  (George Will notwithstanding, I don’t think he’ll face a lot of pressure from the right.)

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