Dear Mr. President: Please make up your mind

Rick Moran
How's that for being polite and respectful - even though I think most Americans who are vitally concerned about what's going on in Afghanistan would like to grab our president by the shoulders and gently shake him awake.

This man is sleepwalking into disaster. Now we learn that President Obama has rejected all the plans that were placed before him regarding our Afghan strategy and wants "clarity" relating to how we are eventually going to turn over responsibility for security to the Afghan government.

Sound familiar? It's the same unrealistic nonsense Democrats were spouting for 3 years with regard to the Iraqi government. As Obama discovered after he was elected, he couldn't just wave a magic wand and bring the troops home. Current plans call for a pullout by September of next year - a deadline that may slip if the Iraqi elections scheduled for January are delayed.

So does this bring us back to square one with our Afghanistan policy? Probably not, but in the meantime, opposition to sending any more troops is building in the State Department, as Greg Jaffe, Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung point out in their piece in the Washington Post:

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai's government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise, senior U.S. officials said.

Karl W. Eikenberry's memos, sent as President Obama enters the final stages of his deliberations over a new Afghanistan strategy, illustrated both the difficulty of the decision and the deepening divisions within the administration's national security team. After a top-level meeting on the issue Wednesday afternoon -- Obama's eighth since early last month -- the White House issued a statement that appeared to reflect Eikenberry's concerns.
"The President believes that we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open-ended," the statement said. "After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time."

I actually sympathize with the president's dilemma. Hard choices are in front of him, none of them very palatable.

But it is unconscionable that it should take this long. There comes a point where caution becomes indecision, and indecision becomes paralysis. At this point, it appears the president is unable to decide. He wants things perfect - every "i" dotted, every "t" crossed.

In this respect, he reminds us of General George McClellan, Lincoln's indecisive general. That analogy is not new and will be repeated more and more often the more the president dithers in deciding what to do in Afghanistan.

No decision is expected for weeks. I guess this is another example of our "smart" foreign policy - so smart we are outsmarting ourselves.





How's that for being polite and respectful - even though I think most Americans who are vitally concerned about what's going on in Afghanistan would like to grab our president by the shoulders and gently shake him awake.

This man is sleepwalking into disaster. Now we learn that President Obama has rejected all the plans that were placed before him regarding our Afghan strategy and wants "clarity" relating to how we are eventually going to turn over responsibility for security to the Afghan government.

Sound familiar? It's the same unrealistic nonsense Democrats were spouting for 3 years with regard to the Iraqi government. As Obama discovered after he was elected, he couldn't just wave a magic wand and bring the troops home. Current plans call for a pullout by September of next year - a deadline that may slip if the Iraqi elections scheduled for January are delayed.

So does this bring us back to square one with our Afghanistan policy? Probably not, but in the meantime, opposition to sending any more troops is building in the State Department, as Greg Jaffe, Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung point out in their piece in the Washington Post:

The U.S. ambassador in Kabul sent two classified cables to Washington in the past week expressing deep concerns about sending more U.S. troops to Afghanistan until President Hamid Karzai's government demonstrates that it is willing to tackle the corruption and mismanagement that has fueled the Taliban's rise, senior U.S. officials said.

Karl W. Eikenberry's memos, sent as President Obama enters the final stages of his deliberations over a new Afghanistan strategy, illustrated both the difficulty of the decision and the deepening divisions within the administration's national security team. After a top-level meeting on the issue Wednesday afternoon -- Obama's eighth since early last month -- the White House issued a statement that appeared to reflect Eikenberry's concerns.
"The President believes that we need to make clear to the Afghan government that our commitment is not open-ended," the statement said. "After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time."

I actually sympathize with the president's dilemma. Hard choices are in front of him, none of them very palatable.

But it is unconscionable that it should take this long. There comes a point where caution becomes indecision, and indecision becomes paralysis. At this point, it appears the president is unable to decide. He wants things perfect - every "i" dotted, every "t" crossed.

In this respect, he reminds us of General George McClellan, Lincoln's indecisive general. That analogy is not new and will be repeated more and more often the more the president dithers in deciding what to do in Afghanistan.

No decision is expected for weeks. I guess this is another example of our "smart" foreign policy - so smart we are outsmarting ourselves.