As it’s been pointed out across the blogosphere today, President Obama’s speech last night was generally a cut and paste job from some early GWB speeches interspersed with apologies to the Left for making the politically expedient decision. And today, Obama sent out his minions to apologize even further to the Left and try to talk tough for the Right. As reported in the Washington Times, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Senate Armed Services Committee hearing;
“We’re not just going to throw these guys into the swimming pool and walk away,” Mr. Gates told the committee. “It will be based on conditions on the ground, but at the same time . . . we have to build a fire under them, frankly, to get them to do the kind of recruitment and retention that allows us to make this transition.”
Gates added a proviso;
But asked specifically by Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, who is Senate Armed Forces Committee chairman, if the July 2011 date set by Mr. Obama to begin the “transition” process could be “conditions-based,” Mr. Gates replied, “No, sir.”
An escape hatch. Ask anyone in the South Vietnamese government how our “condition-based” guarantees work out. We abandoned the South Vietnamese in 1975, the Afghans in 1988, the Iraqi Shi’ites in 1991, Somalia in 1993, and the Haitians. What’s going to stop us from abandoning the Afghans in 2012?
On the other hand, the last time a Democrat president announced a date-certain for withdrawing troops right before an election was Bosnia before 1996. Last I checked, we’re still there. So what reason does the Left have for believing their own guy?
It all comes down to credibility and since staffing only 75% what the generals requested is a muddled political compromise (which took 94 days, by the way) from where will the magic credibility spring? Neither side has reason to believe anything this president and his administration says.