My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda...The one person who seems to have understood the implications of what the President said is Bill Kristol.
This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.
The most striking sentence of President Obama’s eloquent speech Tuesday night came very near the end: “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”So yes, Kristol understood that President Obama was talking about ending what he and the neocons in the Bush administration tried to set up as an endless war against "political Islamism," otherwise known by them as the "global war on terror." And they don't like it one little bit.
Would that it were so. Would that it were so that the Sept. 11 attacks marked the beginning of a period whose end is soon approaching. The president thinks this, and the American people would like it to be so...
But what if the reality is that, from Pakistan in the east to Tunisia in the west, and most visibly now in places such as Iran and Yemen and Somalia — and not just in Afghanistan — we are at war with political Islamism, a movement whose ability to find state sponsors and enablers is not limited to just one country or two?...
There are, of course, problems with “global war on terror” as a phrase and an organizing principle. But it does capture what we might call the “big” view of 9/11 and its implications.
These are the same folks who who saw 9/11 as the opportunity to replace Russia and the Cold War with political Islamism and an endless war against terrorism. The one line in President Obama's speech that they most likely reacted to the worst was this one:
As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America -- an America where our children live free from fear and have the skills to claim their dreams.Fear is all they've got...fear of the "other" here at home as well as abroad.
If President Obama can take that from them by eliminating any threat posed by al Qaeda and finally end this endless war, they'll having nothing to stand on.
That's the long game the President is playing. Mr. Kristol knows it. Over time, I suspect others will wake up to that fact.