President Obama prefers exit strategy to victory
In war, and particularly in an Afghanistan counterinsurgency effort, there are always three sides to the coin: the good, the bad and the ugly. This is especially true in President Obama's new Afghanistan strategy, finally announced to the American public Tuesday from a West Point backdrop.
The prescribed influx of much-needed American warriors onto the battlefield is clearly and rightly the good. And the good can withstand the bad, a Taliban enemy in the absence of reliable partners in the Afghan and Pakistani governments. But the glimmering light of the good will surely be eclipsed by the ugly, an incoherence of strategy beneath the surface sheen of a surge. The devil is always in the details.
Sending additional troops, whether decided upon from intellectual deliberation or from political calculation, is the right call. The details of their usage, the never-ending questions of "exit strategy" and the general unwillingness to commit to victory is wholly unacceptable. As the commander in chief, the president must act with a clarity of mind and mission.
In doing so, he sends a message that the American people will do what is necessary, for as long as necessary, to defeat those who would oppress others or hide while plotting additional attacks on innocents in Afghanistan, Pakistan or here in the United States. The necessity in doing so should be clear, as the Afghan people are resistant to American aid due to the questionable commitment we've made to them. In this vital aspect, the commander in chief has failed.