This is a continuation of an Unreligious Right exclusive, an interview of President Obama by John Maddup. Part one can be found here. Please keep in mind that the president was speaking off the record.
Maddup: Where are you on Afghanistan? Are you going to support the McChrystal plan, or go in a different direction?
Obama: I wish I knew. Cheney says I'm "dithering." Of course I am! I don't have the faintest idea what to do. You know military affairs aren't my thing. Damn that Bush for sticking me with this mess!
Maddup: But Mr. President, with all due respect, you've been president for almost a year now. Isn't it fair to ask why it's taking you so long to come up with your own plan, or to decide between various recommendations?
Obama: Well, John, since I'm being completely honest here, I just don't want to make a decision. I can't see any upside. No matter what I do, I'm going to get blasted by someone. I'd rather focus on health care, or doing the real work of foreign policy, like talking to all of our enemies.
Maddup: I know that as you say, military affairs aren't your thing, but what does your gut instinct tell you?
Obama: It tells me to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. But I can't do that. You know I said all those things about how important Afghanistan was during the campaign. Sure it was just to bash Bush over Iraq, but unfortunately people remember it. I'm not committing political suicide.
Maddup: What about the Biden plan? At least that would cut down on the troop levels.
Obama: You know, I gave that some thought. But there's a problem.
Maddup: What's that?
Obama: I hate to say this, but you have to consider the source. When has Joe Biden ever been right about anything? The guy is a total flake. Could this be the one time he actually has a decent idea? I don't know if I can take that chance. After all, we are talking about my political future, and my legacy here. I don't want to be the guy that screws up Afghanistan worse than Bush.
Maddup: I see your point. So what are you going to do?
Obama: I'm going to give it more thought, but I'll tell you what I'm leaning toward, some sort of half-measure.
Maddup: A half-measure?
Obama: That's right. Look, you've got this counterinsurgency idea on the one hand, and the counterterrorism option on the other. Why not do a little of both?
Maddup: Isn't that what we are sort of doing now?
Obama: Well, yeah. But we would do it differently. There'd be a whole new plan. Give something to everyone. That way I can get a little support from each side, instead of massive criticism from one side.
Maddup: I see. Do you think we should move to a new topic?
Obama: Please, I hate talking about Afghanistan. [Mutters something unintelligible about Bush]
[End Part Two]
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