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October 1, 2009
Afghanistan: Obama's Inaction speaks louder than words
With Barack Obama, inaction speaks louder than words. At least on his commitment to the U.S. troops putting their necks on the line in Afghanistan.
General Stanley McChrystal said on Sunday that Barack Obama had spoken to him only once since Obama appointed McChrystal U.S. commander in Afghanistan in mid-June. Once on a video conference call.
Just seven days prior to McChrystal's revelation, Obama took time to appear on five separate Sunday morning shows, where he discussed, among other things, how important the war in Afghanistan is, telling Meet the Press:
He had spoken to General McChrystal once. By video conference.
The next night Obama was again on the air, this time telling jokes with David Letterman.
During the time since McChrystal took command in Afghanistan, Obama found time to hold a Beer Summit for a black Harvard prof who claimed he was harassed by police. He jetted on Air Force One all over the country, often to fundraisers. He managed to find a hole in his schedule to meet with labor leaders behind closed doors. He even motorcaded over the way to Arlington just to have burgers with Joe Biden. Neither, apparently, having more pressing things to do.
Obama had talked to McChrystal once.
Since McChrystal took charge in Afghanistan, Obama has played White House host to events honoring country music and the Columbus Crew soccer team. He has traveled to Ghana, Rome, Moscow and Mexico. He has hosted a luau for members of Congress and their families, a dinner celebrating Ramadan, and an East Room reception for Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender month.
Obama found time to relax at Camp David and on Martha's Vineyard. He even took time to hold a White House event for Chicago Olympic organizers, at which he said he wouldn't go to Denmark, before he said he would go to Denmark. Kerry-esque, n'est pas?
He talked to the U.S. commander in Afghanistan once.
After McChrystal's revelation, the White House promptly announced that the situation would be rectified ... with another video conference call.
Obama's "emergency" Denmark trip, to repay the Chicago gang that helped get him in office by lobbying the International Olympic Committee, will take a full day of Obama's time, as well as cost, at minimum, $10 million. On the taxpayers dime, the candidate who vilified lobbyists during the 2008 campaign has become a lobbyist, himself.
Just as the candidate who called Afghanistan "the good war" during the campaign has since shown little stomach for winning it.
William Tate is an award-winning former journalist and author.