Tuesday, December 01, 2009

President Obama and Afghanistan: Essential points, Q&A

Tonight is the long awaited announcement of President Obama's response to General McChrystal's request for additional troops.

There are a couple of points I believe must be made clear:

  1.  Starting tomorrow morning, without a doubt, this war is now the responsibility of President Obama.  For a year Mr. Obama has had the luxury of blaming much of his woes on his predecessor, President Bush.  After hand-picking Gen. McChrystal, and after deliberating 3 months on the general's request, there can be no more pointing to the past: Pres. Obama owns this war, flat out.

  2. There will be no immediate, instant change.  I point this out because when President Bush began the Surge in Iraq, there were critics looking for immediate change from the first of the surge troops to arrive in country.   Then the same critics demanded a change when it was announced the last contingent had arrived.  Changes in war do not happen immediately.  So I am hopeful that none of President Obama's critics expect immediate change when the first troops arrive, as well as I hope none of his supporters point to insignificant changes and give undue credit either.

  3. No matter how you slice it, Gen. McChrystal wanted a reported 70,000 troops.  Sending half that number may actually work in my opinion; however, given the avoidance of the word victory  and the frequent use of words similar to exit strategy it will be quite surprising if these numbers meet the general's goal.

  4. Tonight's speech will postpone the annual showing of A Charlie Brown's Christmas; say what you want about it, but my 6 year old now has a reason all his own not to be happy about President Obama. 

The Heritage Foundation has compiled a list of the Top Ten Questions and Answers on Obama's Strategy in Afghanistan and I believe it is essential reading for all.

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