Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Difference Between Hype & Substance

As we pointed out Tuesday morning, modern Republican politicians don't seem to understand the difference between theory and practice these days. Nowhere was that more evident Tuesday than in the fake outrage reactions of right-wing media organizations and politicians to the President's comments about the anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

In case you were busy Tuesday - maybe flying to Afghanistan like the President or members of the White House Press Corps - you may have missed the explosion of hypocrisy that permeated the media. In short, as we'd forecasted, it was a huge eruption of hypocritical organic fertilizer.

The sanctimonious idea the right wing was desperately clinging to Tuesday was that President Obama doesn't have the right to take some kind of credit for his gutsy decision a year ago, that was directly responsible for the death of Bin Laden. As we also pointed out Tuesday, that fallacy in thinking is laughable on its face. President Obama had to make a very difficult call - one that could have easily ended poorly, like the decision to rescue Iranian hostages that President Carter made in 1980.

Luckily for him and us, President Obama capitalized on the opportunity to get rid of the world's number one terrorist, and the mission was successful. The fact that Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, had at least two well-publicized opportunities to take out major Al-Qaeda figures, and capitalized on neither opportunity, didn't seem to matter those in the right-wing media.

Those same dogmatic media conservatives were insistent that President Obama's announcement of Bin Ladens' death last year, and his relatively few words this year about Bin Laden, were actually the real offense to the senses. The fact that President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" photo-op came eight years before the actual end of the Iraq war - and nine years to the day from yesterday - didn't seem to matter to them. They were outraged about hype, because - dammit, didn't liberals understand? In their minds, Republicans are always supposed to be better at this war and military stuff.

Meanwhile, President Obama was busy actually moving America's real foreign policy forward in a surprise trip to Afghanistan.

The White House kept most of the media in the dark about the trip, and was mostly successful, announcing with a flourish Tuesday afternoon, that President Obama was signing a new pact with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, signaling a real end to the Afghan War that Bush and company began over a decade earlier.

In short, on the anniversary of the day that President Obama announced that American servicemembers had killed Osama Bin Laden, President Obama signed the first of many official documents that will bring about the real end to the Afghan war. In a somewhat ironic twist, the agreement Obama signed with Karzai is similar to one that President Bush signed with Iraqi President Maliki, that began the American exit from Iraq.

The new agreement says that - as Mr. Obama had previously planned -  by next year, American military forces will be in full support mode of the Afghan forces, and by 2014 all U.S. combat military troops will be out of Afghanistan.

Then, for an undetermined period of time, 15,000-20,000 non-combat American forces will remain in Afghanistan. At that point, the U.S. will continue to help fund Afghanistan's anti-terrorism forces for a few more years - if the U.S. Congress can figure out how to get anything done.

That, of course, is the kicker.

If Congress - and especially the extremists on the far right - keep following the idea that hype is more important than substance, we doubt they'll follow the lead of President Obama.

They'll be too busy preening for their next media opportunity to say Mr. Obama never does anything of substance.

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