The moral component of politicking a war is acute here. But we shouldn't attribute magical foresight to the president. I see little here that is more troubling than the surge in Iraq. That too was effectively a face-saving strategy to stabilize the country enough to get out.
And then comes the emotional gut-punch:
This is Obama at his coldest. Which is very, very cold.
Yet I would reiterate what I wrote yesterday:
[A]n early-2009 withdrawal would have brought eruptions of "political consequences [that] might have been brutal"; and those eruptions might have been so violently burrowing as to doom Obama's presidency, and his reelection. Today we might have been facing a quite different fait accompli: a Mitt Romney--or some other neocon--presidency, brimming with imperially muscular imbecilities and, ultimately, far more than 1,300 American deaths, in some other godforsaken wasteland.
This reading of Obama's decision takes some of the chill out, I think. Strong presidents have historically made decisions that to you and me seem cold--very cold--but in the long run (which happens to be Obama's specialty) morph as not merely wise, but more "feeling" than anyone imagined at the time. One thinks, for instance, of FDR's "Germany First" decision, rendered in the immediate face of Japan's treachery; or, certainly, Lincoln's willingness to countenance what can only be described as Grant's tactical atrocities.
"The moral component of politicking a war" was indeed "acute" in those instances--as well as virtually undetectable, at the time.