SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Would you buy a used war from this man? Americans might be seeing their bright, young president in a dark, new light this morning after watching his televised speech Tuesday night centering on escalation of the war in Afghanistan…
But if the speech had a familiar ring — an eerily familiar ring — perhaps Obama thought that with his superior powers as a speechmaker and television presence, he could sway American hearts and minds more effectively than did his predecessor — even if Obama’s message on Afghanistan might have sounded awfully similar to President George W. Bush’s on Iraq.
Just like Bush, Obama made sure to make a conspicuous reference to the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, but Obama said its perpetrators came from Afghanistan, not Iraq.
Could it be that Obama, who made liberal use of the personal pronoun, enjoys setting up lofty challenges for himself so as to seem amazing should they be achieved — the challenge Tuesday night being to persuade a viewing nation, suffering from a ruinous recession, to support an escalated and expensive war in the Mideast.
Obama is said to have great confidence in his popularity and in the degree to which the electorate loves him. Some supporters as well as detractors must be wondering, after watching the West Point performance, whether he’s overestimating that affection — and whether he’s due for the proverbial rude awakening.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
Ratio of money spent by Britons on prostitution to that spent on hairdressing:
A German scientist was testing an anti-stupidity pill.
A Twitter spokesperson conceded that a “Frat House”–themed office party “was in poor taste at best.”
Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!
“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”