Friday, May 24, 2013

Don't want to go to war no more

Second day analysis is coming in on Obama's foreign policy speech and this NYT editorial sees what Obama did there:
President Obama’s speech on Thursday was the most important statement on counterterrorism policy since the 2001 attacks, a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America. For the first time, a president stated clearly and unequivocally that the state of perpetual warfare that began nearly 12 years ago is unsustainable for a democracy and must come to an end in the not-too-distant future.
Our POTUS effectively declared the war on terror over. No more axis of evil. No more existential threat to justify deploying combat assets to fight a ground war that doesn't have a home ground. Obama is calling for a return to law enforcement and intelligence gathering for such preventative measures as are possible in fighting small cell groups and radicalized individuals.

Unsurprisingly, Charlie Pierce has the most astute analysis of Obama's speech. Definitely read it all but here's the punchline:
The process of making the presidency an office with far more power in foreign affairs than the Founders intended took decades. The process of putting a sharp edge on that office took less than one. Give this president some credit. At least he knows what a deadly weapon his office is.
Yes, Obama's speech was only words but I believe this counts as the use of the bully pulpit his critics so often claim he refuses to use. He's calling for an end to the forever war. He's asking America to calm down and restore some of those freedoms we gave up for supposed security. He's asking to have some of the executive war powers rescinded. But he can't make his rhetoric come to fruition alone. Congress needs to do its part, so maybe targeting them for some criticism would help acheive the goals Obama laid out. It's worth a try.

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