Obama's Folly

December 03, 2009

Which is the greater folly: To fancy that war offers an easy solution to vexing problems, or, knowing otherwise, to opt for war anyway?

In the wake of 9/11, American statecraft emphasized the first approach: President George W. Bush embarked on a "global war" to eliminate violent jihadism. President Obama now seems intent on pursuing the second approach: Through military escalation in Afghanistan, he seeks to "finish the job" that Bush began there, then all but abandoned.

Through war, Bush set out to transform the greater Middle East. Despite immense expenditures of blood and treasure, that effort failed. In choosing Obama rather than John McCain to succeed Bush, the American people acknowledged that failure as definitive. Obama's election was to mark a new beginning, an opportunity to "reset" America's approach to the world.

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The article was published on December 3, 2009, in the Los Angeles Times, and is available online here.


Andrew J. Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University and a signatory to the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy's letter to President Obama on Afghanistan.

Posted by coalition at December 3, 2009 09:10 PM

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