QUICK THOUGHTS ON TONIGHT’S SPEECH
Posted by Andrew Roman on December 1, 2009
Not immediately anyway.
By all accounts, the President will announce what will amount to a limited “surge” – anywhere from 30,000 to 35,000 additional troops on the ground. It will be a strategy dressed in limitations (because war strategies only work if there are pre-defined limits).
Paramount to Obama will be that in announcing the troop uptick, he sound nothing like George W. Bush.
It’s what the enemy is counting on.
I’ll rightfully save the bulk of my commentary on the matter until after he has finished speaking (so that I can pull quotes to eviscerate). There are, however, things to look out for tonight.
As a whole new batch of Americans prepare to go to war, how often do you think we will hear the word “victory” come out of the mouth of Barack Obama this evening? How will the Commander-in-Chief inspire his troops tonight as they get ready to march into battle? With the world watching, how exactly will he lead?
White House Press Secretary, Robert Gibbs said that tonight’s speech will “outline for the public … the cost of [Obama’s] new strategy in Afghanistan and the limits on U.S. involvement there.”
“You will hear the president discuss clearly that this is not open-ended,” Gibbs said. “This is about what has to be done in order to ensure that the Afghans can assume the responsibility of securing their country.”
If this is any indication of what we can expect tonight from the President, it ain’t good.
Pray tell, how was President Obama, after only mere months of contemplation, able to decide that the war was not to be an open-ended one? That’s the kind of wartime leadership they sing about around the campfire.
Apparently, dithering begats clarity.
Here’s the reality of the situation … The moment Obama uses the phrase “exit strategy” or throws in the word “timetable,” understand that he has, for all intents and purposes, conceded Afghanistan. By using tonight’s West Point speech to make it known that America will be walking away based on some pre-determined set of limitations, without ever setting victory as the objective, and only after sending in less troops than his commanders in the field asked for, he will essentially be inviting the Taliban to hold back until the coast is clear.
Remember, the surge in Iraq was as much as psychological tactic as it was a military one.
If the American will to do what it takes to win has a shelf life, the patience of our enemies will prove to be as formidable a weapon as any we are up against on the battlefield.