"Take your time..." on Afghanistan?

“Take your time,” former secretary of state Colin Powell advised president Obama on making a decision about what to do in Afghanistan. This came on the heels of news that Obama was reconsidering all previous ideas on that war and starting over.


The president is expected to announce a troop increase of 30,000 in his speech Tuesday night. But we need to hear it from his lips before we know for certain.


It is important to remember that Powell, whose career was made by Republican presidents – importantly by the two Bushes – and who long has considered himself to be a Republican, voted for Obama. And now that Obama has dithered on one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency, Powell is saying that that is OK.


“Take your time…”


Because Powell and Obama seem to be in the camp that believes that Obama’s decision on Afghanistan is more about Obama than about winning the war, that somehow that Obama’s legacy is what we need to be concerned about. And after witnessing the embarrassingly inept performance and tattered legacy of another Democrat president undone by events in that part of the world – Jimmy Carter – Obama may indeed be having some sleepless nights about the predicament he faces.


 Then again, he may not. Because Obama seems disconnected about a lot of things from the whole concept of national defense all the way up to our national identity. He has been loathe to even use the words “war on terror”; claimed in Cairo that we Americans “do not consider ourselves a Christian nation”; and urged us not to jump to conclusions when a crazy Muslim killed 13 people at a military installation in Texas.


This is the same president who rushed to the microphones to say that the Cambridge, Massachusetts police “acted stupidly” in arresting black Harvard professor Henry Gates last summer even though Obama had none of the facts in the case when he made that statement. As if Gates’ arrest were more important than any silly little “war on terror”.


Which it indeed may be… to Obama.


Obama is a self-centered liberal in the strangest ways. He seems to have been unfazed by the election recently in which Democrats were roundly defeated, even though New Jersey governor Jon Corzine lost re-election after Obama appeared personally and repeatedly on Corzine’s behalf. Then consider his Twilight Zone moment when he spent more than two minutes talking about Indian tribal business when the nation was awaiting his response to the unprecedented attack on our troops at Fort Hood.


Where was Obama’s head? Is he really all there? Is this intentional?


Or is he just intellectually detached from all his years among radicals like Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers? And wasn’t this suggestion made and dismissed during the campaign, that Obama may not be fit to be president because of his past associations and his inexperience?


Yes, it was suggested. And dismissed by the elite media.


Now Obama has delayed 3 months after his hand-picked leader in the Afghanistan conflict, general Stanley McChrystal said that we need a 40,000-troop ‘surge’ to win that war the way Bush’s troop ‘surge’ won Iraq when things looked utterly bleak.


Afghanistan is not hard to figure out. To compare it to one of those sports analogies: Play to win, or go home!


And we wonder what Obama really has planned. Why has he left our military twisting in the wind, a sort of slow-motion intellectual taunt that is wholly wrong? 


Obama really is under tremendous pressure from his left-wing flank to outright withdraw from Afghanistan. That is one reason that he made no decision before the recent election – so as not to anger his base on the political left, although they did not turn out anyway. His Nobel Peace Prize (remember that?) was a prod from the international left to do what the left thinks is right:  End the war.


Yet now that we conservatives have had time to think about it, perhaps many of us too would just as soon see a withdrawal. The recent attack at Ford Hood by a Muslim extremist enlisted in the US Army really makes us wonder: Why are we spilling our blood to defend Muslims around the world? Why did we go to war in the Balkans to defend Muslims there? Why did we lose 4,000 American lives to eject Saddam Hussein in Iraq in order to protect Muslims in that nation, many of them radical Shia allied with Iran? Why are we continuing to bleed our treasure in a corrupt, chaotic wasteland called Afghanistan?


Indeed sometimes even we conservatives wonder about all this – even though we may not say it out loud.


But the fact is that we entered Afghanistan with a mission after 9/11 – to rout bin Laden and his terrorist lackeys. And for years, Afghanistan has been called “the good war” by those seeking to bash Bush over Iraq. And now that Iraq has settled on a path to democracy for which Bush will get no credit until 20 years down the road, Obama seems uncertain whether to pursue the same strategy in Afghanistan.


When Ronald Reagan was president of the United States from 1981 until 1989, America was under the leadership of a confident, self-assured statesman who faced a potential conflict infinitely greater than Afghanistan. World War III was in the back of all Americans’ minds as the Soviet Union menaced our nation from all sides with a military and nuclear arsenal that could have ended life as we know it.


But Reagan stood strong. He did not dither. He acted in a way that ultimately touted our strengths and cowed our adversary. Meanwhile Obama seems to be pursuing an opposite course by bolstering our enemies with his indecision and his past rhetoric and actions. And with people like Colin Powell advising him, we may have a long and uncertain slog ahead in Afghanistan, something that none of us wants for our brave troops.


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