Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Leadership Vacuum

In the Summer and Fall of 2008 we were reliably reminded by all and sundry, and particularly by Candidate Obama, that the conflict in Iraq was an illegal and immoral war, drawing American resources from the "war of necessity" in Afghanistan. Indeed, if memory serves, Candidate Obama proudly proclaimed that he had voted against the war in Iraq, although he had not been in the US Senate at the time.

It is now clear that the war in Afghanistan was a "necessity" only to the extent that Candidate Obama needed a stick with which to beat the outgoing Bush administration. Had Afghanistan been a genuine priority for Team Obama, surely they would have developed a number of possible policies over the course of the campaign. These could have been refined with the Pentagon and State during the transition prior to the Inauguration, and then implemented early in the Administration.

Instead, some 9 months after taking office, there is no plan, only a promise to make no hasty decisions. The Israelis could have won the Six Day War 45 times in time it has already taken Mr. Obama to decide on his course of action. More significantly, young Americans have DIED while Mr. Obama has waffled.

In a recent address to troops in Florida, Mr. Obama pledged that he would not risk their lives except in cases of "absolute necessity." In such cases, the nation would "back them to the hilt." The clear message was "You're not going anywhere anytime soon."

But perhaps we should expect no less. After all, Candidate Obama described Afghanistan "a war of necessity," not one of "absolute necessity." Thus he is barred, by his own lights, from sending more troops, and those who are there need not look for additional support.

The message for our men and women in uniform, and indeed for all of us, is clear, dispiriting and frightening.

Our CinC is AWOL

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