It is appropriate that Mr. Obama chose West Point as the site for his speech on Afghanistan. After all, West Point was the subject of the first great betrayal of the American military - Benedict Arnold's attempt to sell the fort to the British.
While Mr. Obama's betrayal is more nuanced, it is no less chilling. He proposes to send 30,000 troops into harms way, with the sole goal of showing the flag for a few months before packing up and coming home. By declaring when our forces will leave, regardless of the situation, Mr. Obama has precluded the word he loathes: "victory." Rather, he has already surrendered. He has told our enemies "Keep your head's down, don't make trouble; we're not going to stick this out. Start recruiting, rebuild your weapons stores; we're going home."
The death of any American, or Allied, soldier in this conflict will henceforth be doubly tragic. He or she will not die in an effort intended to protect the weak from the evil, but as the result of an amateurish pol's attempt to make himself look good.
Neither should we overlook the timing of the promised withdrawal - just in time for the 2012 presidential campaign. Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers will be sent over to win an election, not a war. "Win one for the Gipper" indeed.
Yet Mr. Obama's cynicism is not the most frightening aspect of his new policy. That honor belongs to his strategic short-sightedness. Were I Joe Thug, I would regard the new policy as a gift from Allah himself. As long as I mind my own business, I will be able to recruit, re-arm and re-train to my black heart's content. At the same time, Mr. Obama will be withdrawing troops, declaring victory, and doubtless doing his best to eviscerate the US Armed Forces. Indeed, I might even enter a "peace treaty" to help secure Mr. Obama's re-election. And in late 2013 I would topple Pakistan and seize their nukes.
Assuming that literacy has been rediscovered in 1000 years, scholars may declare the West Point speech as the start of the next Dark Age.