Isn’t this where we came in? Barack Obama delivers a speech announcing the full withdrawal of American troops from a long war we haven’t yet won. As I recall, he did declare the U.S. would get out of Iraq at the beginning of his administration and reneged on that; indeed, he reneged so much that in recent speeches he has suggested (rightly) that Iraq could be the model for the countries of the Middle East following the Arab Spring! And, hey, remember when he spent months noodling over Afghanistan before committing to a surge of troops there—a surge that is bearing fruit but will now be put under severe pressure from the deadline he set last night? Who’s going to fall for this P.T. Barnum game?

Donna Brazile, the Democratic operative, offered the kind of response that Obama devoutly hopes the American people will offer in a tweet right after the speech: “I like the firmness of setting objectives —even if we change dates, let’s end it.” Yes, sir, that sure is firmness, Obama-style. It’s the firmness of spinelessness, the toughness of weakness, the verhe Oxyy definition of leading from behind. This brilliant man is running an oxymoronic presidency.


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