I love Ann Coulter, but her latest column, in which she defends Michael Steele’s Afghanistan comments, bothers me. A lot.
Yes, she and Steele are right to call Obama and the Democrats out on their posturing about Afghanistan as the “good war” and Iraq as the bad one. Yes, the populations of the two countries are vastly different. No, I don’t know what the best strategy in Afghanistan is (check out David Forsmark and John Guardiano for two competing schools of thought).
Further, in our zeal to make these points, conservatives must be careful not to lose sight of what our ultimate goal should be in Afghanistan—and whatever we decide, we need to stick to it regardless of who’s in the White House. Ann punts on that question, and I don’t recall her voicing any of these concerns during the Bush years. But Afghanistan is “Obama’s war” might be true as far as it goes, but focusing on that aspect on it diminishes the significance of the war and obscures the core question of whether or not America should be there. And yes, in calling it a war “of Obama’s choosing,” Steele did suggest that it wasn’t worth fighting, and that Democrats held a monopoly on the blame for it.
Coulter suggests we’ve already won in Afghanistan, and that a minimal troop presence there to “prevent Osama bin Laden from regrouping, swat down al-Qaida fighters and gather intelligence” is sufficient (wait a minute—weren’t we trying to leave behind a government & military stable enough to do that on its own?).
What disturbs me most is, near the end, how easily—and suddenly—Ann lends credence to the old liberal trope about “neoconservatives” being for “permanent war.” One would think a pundit who’s repeatedly been on the receiving end of such smears would think twice before deploying it herself.
Come on, Ann. For years, I’ve defended you as better than this. Don’t prove me wrong now.