The war president who needs to say we are at war
President Obama will soon have a new secretary of defense. I don't see any problems with the nomination or reason to vote against it. He is as good as we are going to get, given President Obama's record with the three previous men who've held that important job.
We wish Mr. Carter success as secretary of defense. We also hope that he is ready to explain to the country what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let's hope that the subject comes up in the confirmation hearings.
We learned from Reuters that we will keep a larger force in Afghanistan than advertised:
The United States will keep up to 1,000 more soldiers than previously planned in Afghanistan into next year, outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Saturday, in a recognition of the still formidable challenge from Taliban insurgents.
Hagel, confirming a change in the U.S. drawdown schedule first reported by Reuters in November, said the additional forces were needed because delays in signing security pacts had impacted plans to raise troops from other countries.
However, he also said that a particularly violent surge of Taliban attacks in Kabul in the last two weeks was a reminder of the continued need for a foreign presence.
We also learned at Stars & Stripes that the 82nd Airborne is headed to Iraq:
Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division will soon head to Iraq to participate in Operation Inherent Resolve, the Pentagon announced Monday.
I don't have a problem with keeping a military presence in Afghanistan, especially after seeing what happened in Iraq when we came home so that President Obama could run for re-election claiming that he ended the war.
I don't have a problem with sending troops to Iraq, or to fight ISIS. Someone has to lead the effort against ISIS, and I don't see any of the allies asking for the baseball. We lead, or nothing gets done.
My problem is twofold:
1) Where is the war resolution?
2) Why hasn't President Obama spoken to the country and outlined our military objectives? Does President Obama think that he can pretend that we are not at war when there are troops back in Iraq? You can call them "trainers" or "support," but they are men with loaded weapons.
We can't go on escalating our military presence pretending that we are not doing so. I understand that this is not the way that President Obama wanted to spend the last two years of his presidency, but that's the way it is. He is a war president and needs to start acting like one.