A conservative colleague e-mails me with this key observation: “We are not engaged in two wars. We are engaged in one war – on multiple fronts. As FDR understood that he was not engaged in one war in Europe, one in the Pacific and one in North Africa, we need to understand that while there are many battlefields on which we are being challenged by militant Islamists — of various persuasions including Shia (e.g., Iran, Hezbollah) and Sunni (e.g., AQ, Hamas) – there is only one global conflict under way.”
He is precisely right, and he points to another shortcoming of Obama’s ideological perspective: the insistence on seeing both individuals and battlefields as discrete and unrelated to one another. Iraq, he surmised, could be lost while we pursue the “good war.” But the “good war” is hard work, too, and would have been infinitely more so had we fled the Iraq battlefield in defeat. Unfortunately, Obama does not feel comfortable acknowledging that reality or rallying the American people to battle a far-flung, tenacious Islamic jihadist enemy for an extended war. That would be one of those “open ended commitments” he’d rather avoid.