Herein is a just a small measure of a thin skinned White House on the matter of Afghanistan policy. Considering that the source is Politico, which covets its White House access, and the quoted question came from none other than AP Obama maven Jennifer Loven, it can only be concluded that, to a small degree, some in the media are seeing themselves as Hope and Change chumps.
SHANGHAI, China – President Barack Obama made no effort to conceal his irritation when his press corps used the first question of his maiden Far East trip to ask what was taking him so long on Afghanistan.
Jennifer Loven of The Associated Press had asked: “Can you explain to people watching and criticizing your deliberations what piece of information you’re still lacking to make that call.”
“With respect to Afghanistan, Jennifer,” the president scolded, “I don’t think this is a matter of some datum of information that I’m waiting on. … Critics of the process … tend not to be folks who … are directly involved in what’s happening in Afghanistan. Those who are, recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of us getting this right.”
One wonders where this strange new respect for “those directly involved in what is happening” was during the Iraq War and the successful surge strategy that then Senator Obama opposed. Could it be that this President is being mugged by reality and doesn’t like the scrutiny that often accompanies the perquisites of the office of POTUS?
And to the President’s point of “getting this right”: will we ever get a clear definition of what “getting this right” actually is, or will that turn of phrase also become some nebulous political point that is adjudicated in backroom deals where it becomes the currency of health care reform and Obama fiscal policy debate? Notwithstanding the obvious historical comparisons to LBJ, it’s a wonder that Barack McNamara hasn’t formulated a better response to this Afghanistan question already.