FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Headline of the Year

Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, but thanks to their recent headline, the Associated Press may be the first news organization to take first prize for headline of the year. About an hour ago, while munching some leftover chicken, a stunning headline streaked across my laptop: “Official: Obama wants his war options changed.” At first, I thought –hmmmmm….. at least he isn’t asking to have his diapers changed.

But, the breaking news is that the president has asked his national security team to change his war options. Maybe it’s time for Mr. Obama to change his own war options.

After all, the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue also happens to be commander-in-chief. Making decisions about troop incease, reduction, withdrawals, deployments, and timelines are part of the job description. Mr. Obama forgot more than I’ll ever know about leadership, so why is he allowing himself to be led around by the nose by the Pentagon, and the Defense Department?

Since when is a president pulled between generals? Who cares what Stanley McChrystal wants? In the end, McChrystal will be a stale footnote in a high school history book, so whether Obama heeds the general’s advice to increase troops in Afghanistan by another 40,000, or 100,000, or whether U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan,and former general Eikenberry wants a time out for Karzai, who cares?

For all of his clout, we didn’t have a president McNamara, but Kennedy. McNamara was a guiding force, it’s true, but JFK was prepared to pull the plug, McNamara or no McNamara, that’s what presidents do.

Now, Mr. Obama is reportedly asking General McChrystal for another rewrite of the surge script for which McChrystal may even need to bring in a script doctor as Houdini would be hard pressed to tweak such a huge investment of American military in any way that doesn’t lead to another disastrous misadventure.

And, while it’s good that the president has moved away from a focus on benchmarks which, so far, have produced only hemorrhoids in Iraq to timelines instead, the term exit strategy isn’t code for fleet enema. Had JFK lived long enough to see his timeline for withdrawal of troops from Vietnam enforced, hundreds of thousands of American and Vietnamese lives would have been saved. There’s a president who may have asked his team what his options were, but decided to change them himself

Often during these strange and difficult times, I think of the great JFK line: “A mistake doesn’t have to become an error unless you refuse to correct it.” And, it’s not too late to correct this one.

Instead of looking to his national security team, and generals for tips on how to proceed in Afghanistan, President Obama will be better off looking to himself, and the American people.

His judgment was his calling card during the 2008 presidential campaign. It was his good judgment that led Mr. Obama, as a young senator back in 2002, to speak eloquently in opposition to the war in Iraq. It didn’t fail him then, and he must not allow it to fail him now either.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

 

Inside the New Print Edition of Our Subscriber-Only Newsletter!

Obama and Black America

Ten months into Obama-time, the plight of black Americans is terrible. Yet overwhelmingly they rally behind the president. In a powerful report from the Deep South Kevin Alexander Gray asks the question: what should the black political agenda be? Mark Rudd counterposes “organizing” with “activism” and describes what it will take to build a movement.  H. Bruce Franklin gives a chronology of the march into Afghanistan. Get your new edition today by subscribing online or calling 1-800-840-3683 Contributions to CounterPunch are tax-deductible. Click here to make a donation. If you find our site useful please: Subscribe Now! CounterPunch books and t-shirts make great presents.

Order CounterPunch By Email For Only $35 a Year !

More articles by:

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail