Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama in Afghanistan

In addition to being a Democrat and a strong supporter of President Obama, I am also a Vietnam veteran and I have been closely following the news reports of his decision about what to do in Afghanistan. He is scheduled to make his announcement next week, but there are many “leaks” coming from the White House about what his decision will be. It appears that he will be sending more troops, a lot more troops.

There are many reasons we should be disturbed about this, assuming the leaks are accurate. One of the most cogent reasons for concern is that President Obama is sounding more like President Bush with every pronouncement he makes about his reasons for putting American troops in harm’s way. He has been quoted as stating that he will “finish the job,” but cannot tell us exactly what that job is or how he will know it is finished. Until he can give clear guidelines of what he means to accomplish and how he will know when it has been accomplished–in other words, give us a credible exit strategy–he will not receive my support or the support of any veterans who value the lives of our sons and daughters in uniform more than vague hopes of some illusive political gain.

Our soldiers, their families, and our country deserve better than to have yet another president think he can overcome the bitter lessons of history and impose Western democratic ideals on an unwilling nation; that he can win the hearts and minds of a populace by supporting a corrupt government and using our patriotic soldiers as enforcers for that government, or that he can subdue his enemy without injuring our nation.

However, he has not announced his intentions, so perhaps the skies will open and a light from above will shine on him as he announces an end to the fighting. Maybe he will announce that the Afghanis must set up their own government without our troops shedding their blood in the process. Maybe, just maybe, this could happen... But I doubt it.


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