I might have more sympathy and inclination to defend Barack Obama from Peter Brookes’ cartoon in today’s Times of London, but since it echoes an unfair attack launched by Obama himself on his predecessor, I’ll chalk this up to karma. Brookes takes a cheap shot at Obama and the US for unintended civilian deaths in a recent raid in Afghanistan, in a tableau usually reserved for George W. Bush:
It looks like Europe has hit the limit for “I inherited this problem” excuses, and now they’re putting Obama in that flight suit instead of Bush. This reflects not just the fact that Obama is now the CinC, but also that he’s escalating the American presence in Afghanistan, and wants our NATO partners to do the same. Britain already contributes to the front lines, almost alone in Europe except for the Dutch and the Poles. Perhaps if more of Britain’s EU partners contributed ground forces, we could avoid using air power as often.
But let’s also put the blame for the civilian casualties where they have always belonged — on the terrorists who hide in civilian populations, exploit them for cover, and most often target them for murder. The Taliban has never been a stand-up army fighting a war of liberation, or even an honest rebellion. Even when they held power, they held it by terrorizing Afghans into compliance. Brookes needs to fix responsibility where it belongs, and apparently needs to fix his moral compass as well.