Entries Tagged as 'George Will'

President Romney Won’t End Conservatism

December 5th, 2011 at 7:00 am 44 Comments

In an interview with Laura Ingraham, George Will despairs of the choice between Gingrich and Romney as GOP frontrunners:

Ask yourself this: Suppose Gingrich or Romney become president and gets re-elected – suppose you had eight years of this…What would the conservative movement be? How would it understand itself after eight years? I think what would have gone away, perhaps forever, is the sense of limited government, the Tenth Amendment, Madisonian government of limited, delegated and enumerated powers — the sense conservatism is indeed tied to limitations on federal authority and the police power wielded by Congress — that would all be gone. It’s hard to know what would be left.

In a column, Will doubles down on this line of criticism.

Click here to read more

Obama Losing Bipartisan Support for Afghanistan

September 1st, 2009 at 12:40 pm 11 Comments

In today’s Washington Post, look George Will calls for the United States to dramatically change its policy in Afghanistan.  In effect, Will calls for a pull out:

[F]orces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.

That the doves on the left are growing tired of the costly war in Afghanistan should not surprise anyone.  The Obama administration may not be thrilled by this development, but they likely expected the doves to begin to grumble as the war continues to grow more and more costly.  The doves do not threaten the administration’s Afghanistan policy.  However to lose Mr. Will’s support will deeply trouble many administration officials not only because Mr. Will remains one of, if not the most recognized newspaper columnist in America (conservative or Democrat) but also because Mr. Will’s defection indicates that support on the right, particularly amongst realists like Mr. Will (and myself) may not be as reliable as the administration may have originally believed.

President Obama’s handling of the war effort in Afghanistan is one of the few policies where this president has received anything resembling true bipartisan support.  President Obama is a talented politician with a unique ability to appeal directly to the American people, but his administration can hardly afford to lose the support of the realist right at a time when it is fighting heated partisan wars on gargantuan issues like healthcare.  Anything resembling serious opposition to the war effort from moderate Republicans and Democrats alike would require a PR blitz that would quickly suck up much of the administration’s remaining political capital.  The White House knows this, and you can expect them to mount a PR blitz in the coming days aimed at countering Mr. Will’s arguments, and in doing so holding together a portion of the right’s suddenly fragile war support.

Will’s Exit from Afghanistan

David Frum September 1st, 2009 at 11:42 am 72 Comments

Anybody who does not share George Will’s frustrations with the Afghan mission has not been paying attention.

That does not mean George Will is right in his call for American evacuation and a

comprehensively revised policy: America should do only what can be done from offshore, pills using intelligence, unhealthy drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units…

I think that policy answer is wrong. But if we are to reach a better answer, we need to deal with what is right in Will’s analysis of today’s grim and deteriorating Afghan situation.

Will is right about the weakness of the Afghan state. He is right about the endemic corruption of the Afghan government. He is right about the country’s deep backwardness. He is right above all about the Zen unreality of the current mission: to prevent the re-establishment of al Qaeda bases.

The Bush administration’s undeclared strategy in Afghanistan was to invest the minimum necessary to achieve stability – and then refocus on what it regarded as a more important and more winnable theater in Iraq.

Unfortunately, sustaining Afghan stability has proven much more difficult and expensive than imagined back in 2001 and 2002. Then candidate Obama compounded that Bush-era miscalculation with a poorly considered pledge to increase the US commitment in Afghanistan – a pledge that originated much more in the candidate’s political needs than in any strategic calculation. Obama has hugely reinforced the US Army in Afghanistan, with a big “TK” where his counter-insurgency strategy ought to be.

That’s a formula for frustration. What is being said by George Will in public is already being muttered in private by congressional Democrats.

Barack Obama has given Afghanistan men and money. But one vital resource is being withheld: presidential time and commitment. Turning around an unsuccessful war demands intense presidential focus. Everyone around the president must be made to understand that the war is priority 1, and that everything else on the agenda must be subordinated to this supreme imperative. George W. Bush accepted that responsibility in 2006-2008. Barack Obama has not. The results are as we see, in Afghanistan and now in the darkening assessment of as strong-spined an observer as George Will.