Sometimes reading the corporate media is like receiving dispatches from an alternate universe–like the one Washington Post columnist Robert Kagan (12/02/09) lives in, where Obama “bucked overwhelming conventional wisdom” to send more troops to Afghanistan, in the face of a “stunningly large number of American thinkers, strategists and pundits who have been perfectly prepared to lose wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.” The version of Obama who was elected U.S. president on Kagan’s Earth-2 realized that he “might be applauded for losing in the salons of Washington and New York, the American public would not look on defeat so kindly,” so he stood up to “willingness of the intellectual and foreign policy establishments to accept both decline and defeat.”
Meanwhile, back on this side of the dimensional portal, an overwhelming majority of the intellectual and foreign policy establishment–as represented by the opinion writers for the real-world Washington Post as well as the New York Times–support continued war in Afghanistan, with only a small minority suggesting that it’s possible to bring home the troops (Extra!, 12/09). In this world, it’s the public that’s skeptical of an endless pursuit of victory, with a majority of respondents in recent polling saying they oppose the war (e.g., CNN/Opinion Research, 11/13-15/09) .
It’s fun to get a glimpse of Kagan’s what-if world. But maybe Washington Post opinion writers could spend more time writing about the real world, since it’s the one the rest of us live in.