A "team of rivals" is how the Obama administration is being portrayed by the head-over-heels media, which started out by likening the new president to Lincoln and may end up comparing him — favorably — to God. A more appropriate phrase would be "team of retreads": Hillary at State, Gates still at Defense, and all the usual suspects lording it over their regional fiefdoms.
The appointment of George Mitchell, whose success at helping settle the Irish imbroglio suggests some skill at managing impossible situations, has evoked hope in those who pine for a more open-mined — and evenhanded — approach to the problem of Palestine. It is a hope I share.
Yet I’m not optimistic, for two very good reasons: Dennis Ross, whose appointment as plenipotentiary for Middle Eastern affairs seems to undercut what is likely to be the Mitchell approach, and Richard Holbrooke, whose dual domain of Afghanistan and Pakistan will be the focus of U.S. military action in the coming years. Specifically, more than 14 years — at least, that’s what Holbrooke told us in a pre-election piece in Foreign Affairs magazine:
"The situation in Afghanistan is far from hopeless. But as the war enters its eighth year, Americans should be told the truth: it will last a long time — longer than the United States’ longest war to date, the 14-year conflict (1961—75) in Vietnam."
Which raises the question: why weren’t we told the truth in the first place? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall Obama ever "promising" to keep fighting in Afghanistan for over 14 years — do you?
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.