Although I've spent a lot of time talking about Climategate recently, I wanted to take a break to talk about Barack Obama's primetime speech at West Point on Tuesday night. As someone who has supported the war in Afghanistan since the beginning, a part of me was heartened by Obama's decision to send more troops there in an attempt to win a war that we should have won years ago. It was the right decision to make.
However, I have to question Obama's decision-making skills and commitment to our military. The war in Afghanistan isn't a new phenomenon; Obama actually did inherit it. On the campaign trail, Obama said Afghanistan was "the right war." It's clear that he knew of the challenges we face there.
So, why did it take him almost 11 months for him to make such a public commitment to sending more troops? And, no, I don't buy the "he was reviewing all the angles" line. As Commander-In-Chief, he should have been reviewing those angles since day one. And he has sent troops overseas without as much fanfare as the speech Tuesday night.
But this time, he needed West Point as a backdrop to give him apparent credibility to try to mask his indecisiveness. It was only a few days ago that Obama referred to the military as "a pretty good photo-op." It came off to me as a backhanded compliment, a way to seemingly praise the military while relegating them to mere window dressing. When you consider Obama gave his big announcement from a military proving ground like West Point, it's clear that he doesn't seem to respect our military, in spite of being its commander.
Then, there's the 18 month timetable. If the troop surge was a means to appease the Right in this country, the timetable was a means to appease the Left, who has been demanding a definite exit date for Afghanistan and Iraq. To me, that's one of the worst things you can do in war. If you set a definitive date when you're going to scale back, you give the enemy a date through which they can dig in and win. And with the absurd rules of engagement in place right now where our troops have to practically jump through hoops before they're allowed to fire back in self-defense, I fear we have a CIC without much concern for the well-being of our troops.
I pray I'm wrong about this. I really do. But from the way it looks, our military doesn't just have to worry about being shot in the front by our enemies abroad; they have to worry about being stabbed in the back by the politicians at home.