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Obama Needs to Talk About the War

Despite mounting political pressure and public discontent, President Obama—at least in public—is hanging tough on his raise and withdraw strategy in Afghanistan. The FT reports that the President ruled out any “sudden” troop pullouts and reaffirmed his commitment to the timetable in a joint address with British PM David Cameron.

This is Obama’s call to make, but whatever he does, he has to act more like a war leader. Over the past few months, the public has lost confidence in his Afghanistan strategy, and support for the war has collapsed. A recent Gallup poll reports that fully half of all Americans believe the the troop pullout should be accelerated, while less than a quarter believe we should honor the current timetable. There are a number of reasons for the current ambivalence, from the difficulty of the mission, to the apparent contradictions of the strategy, to the long duration of a war that shows little sign to the public of improvement. Many of these problems are beyond Obama’s control, but on top of this he has added another problem: he is attempting to fight a major war without talking about it.

Wars, even relatively small ones, are serious things. The President has committed troops to Afghanistan and spent money on it as if it was vital to the national security, but in domestic politics he has treated it as an irrelevance and a distraction, something of minor importance. With his first term drawing to a close, Obama hasn’t spent political capital on maintaining support for the war, rarely visits the troops, and hasn’t even bothered to update the nation at regular intervals as to the progress of his “war of necessity.”

Acting as if the war mattered but ignoring it as if it were a trivial distraction is not the way to handle Afghanistan.  If nothing else, the troops in Afghanistan and their anxious friends and families back home deserve explanations and updates from the man whose decisions have sent their loved ones into harm’s way.

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  • John Barker

    Perhaps, Obama should study how Churchill informed and encouraged the free world in the darkest hours of the Second World War.

  • Robert Duste

    Obama sent Churchill’s bust home. I don’t think he is going to study anything Churchill did.

  • Steve

    Since Mr. Obama’s agenda is now (and perhaps always was) political, he has no need to talk about Afghanistan. Why? Because his likely opponent doesn’t have an Afg. strategy that differs much from that of Mr. Obama. Both talk in useless abstractions about a war with no clear objectives wherein real people are dying every day for nothing.

    I’m constantly amazed at the unbelievable discipline and dedication of our troops. However, I fear morale will continue to deteriorate as the average soldier determines that we are leaving very soon and there is no point being the last soldier killed on our way out.

    Of course, one can only fervently hope that Karzai is the last casualty.

  • Mrs. Davis

    Obama has turned Afghanistan into Vietnam. It will be interesting to see if this meme makes it to the MSM.

  • Corlyss

    “Obama Needs to Talk About the War”

    Why? He knows 60% of the public thinks the war is not worth fighting. He’s a man of the polls, unless the polls support Republican ideas.

  • Kris

    “he is attempting to fight a major war without talking about it.”

    War? What war? Ah, yes, the Republican war won women! Those evil Republicans want to force the womenfolk to be pregnant and barefoot!

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