Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09) was not altogether impressed by Obama’s announcement of a 30,000 troop escalation in Afghanistan (an “iffy proposition,” as Klein put it). But Klein’s main point was that Obama should have justified the war differently: “Once you have made the decision to go, or to redouble your efforts, you must lead the charge–passionately and, yes, with a touch of anger.”
Then he describes the better way:
Ronald Reagan would have done it differently. He would have told a story. It might not have been a true story, but it would have had resonance. He might have found, or created, a grieving spouse–a young investment banker whose wife had died in the World Trade Center–who enlisted immediately after the attacks … and then gave his life, heroically, defending a school for girls in Kandahar. Reagan would have inspired tears, outrage, passion, a rush to recruiting centers across the nation.
It’s hard to know what’s creepier: suggesting that a president should lie to drum up support for a war, or suggesting he should do so to fight a war you’re not so sure about in the first place.