That would be Michael Sean Winters' encomium to the wise leadership of President Obama on Libya.
It is a jaw-dropping exercise in virtuoso spin from start to finish, including "a"s and "the"s. For my money, this is the heart of the defense brief:
Barack Obama is a careful man, with a careful mind. He really is, in terms of personality, the opposite of George W. Bush who was all for acting from his gut. Obama’s gut is kept firmly in check by his intellect. I don’t know about anyone else, but while such careful, deliberative qualities may not guarantee successful outcomes or even correct decisions, I sleep better at night knowing we have a President who considers the downside of a decision before he makes it and who, unlike any President I can think of, has a profound appreciation for the limits of force.
My. God. I am not taking the name of the Lord in vain--far from it. I am invoking divine assistance against whatever it is that possessed him to write that.
This is what happens when you fetishize politics, investing it with quasi-religious significance, right down to demons and saviors. Put simply, this is your brain on the twin drugs of Bush hatred and Obamalotry--it's the crispy, shriveled smoking something with the "Distinctly Catholic" byline in the Reporter.
The Iraq War was many things, starting with inept and the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time, beset with horrific tactical and political decisions that took years to remedy and are still likely to bear poisonous fruit for decades. But it did not lack for careful, lengthy debate, spanning months, both in the halls of Congress and before the court of international opinion. As it turned out, all of that was for naught and we are bogged down in the Fertile Cresent trying to instill democratic values amongst a people more interested in ethnic cleansing of inconvenient minorities, but there you go. If nothing else, it illustrates the dangers of committing yourself to war even when you make some effort to think it through.
As opposed to, say, our brand spanking new war in Libya, which went from demonstrations to bombing in four weeks.
The sum total of such deliberative efforts was this: the President obtained a UN resolution which doesn't authorize what he's doing and finally got around to explain himself eleven days after the bombs started falling. If this is careful deliberation, I'd hate to see him when he does something ill-considered and hasty.
Oh, and the speech was a pack of the usual butt-covering BS. But don't take my word for it, check out the analysis by the Associated Press.
A good soldier, Winters tries to excuse the delayed explanation with this:
Many critics, including myself, felt the President should have given this speech before military assets were deployed. I still do, although we now know why he didn’t: There were unresolved issues that had not yet been decided. For example, on Sunday, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the United States had not yet decided whether or not to aid the rebels. Last night, President Obama pledged such aid.
That would be the same Robert Gates who admitted there is no vital interest at stake in Libya, correct? And it was all about determining whether we'd be aiding the rebels? Really? Er, maybe not, given the Al Qaeda element in the rebellion. More of that careful, Niebuhrian discipleship in action, no doubt.
Winters--and Juan Cole, who is really, really sure this is different from Bush because...because shut up, that's why--would do himself no end of good if he simply acknowledged that he trusted Obama more than Bush. Full stop. It would be a partisan exercise, but a forthright one.
In addition to being honest, you don't have to engage in humiliatingly stupid and silly exercises in special pleading. And you wouldn't have to finish the exercise with a howler like this:
He was wrong to wait so long to share them with the rest of us, but the rest of us can take comfort, great comfort, that we have in the White House a man who will not be rushed into war.