in the forty-eight hours and some since President Obama spoke to the nation to outline his new strategy on Afghanistan, I’ve moved from concern about the absence of conviction in his rhetoric to cautious optimism about his relative indifference to the war effort. Now, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think he wants us to lose the war there, far from it. It’s just that I think he’d rather focus on other things.
And as far as Afghanistan is concerned, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it may be a good thing, indeed, a very good hence my slight change of heart since I heard him speak.
When he addressed the nation, he didn’t seem to have his heart in his speech as he has in past addresses. Yet, the nut and bolts of his strategy are pretty sound. Not just that, he has in charge of the effort two men involved in the successful “surge” in Iraq, Defense Secretary Robert Gates who supervised that shift his strategy from his then-new perch at the Pentagon and General Stanley McChrystal who, as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command in 2007, helped General David Petraeus implement the surge in Iraq.
If the President’s heart is not as much in this effort as it is in overhauling our health care system, he likely won’t micromanage the war as LBJ micromanaged Vietnam, devoting his time to his domestic agenda. He’ll let the generals win the war based on the broad guidelines he set and the conditions on the ground. With General McChrystal in charge, the President has picked a good man. Should he let his fight the war according to the plans that outstanding soldier has outlined, we’re likely to succeed in Iraq, achieving the victory Obama refused to call by its name.
Even so, should we win Iraq, Obama will deserve a substantial share of the credit. He’s the guy who tapped McChrystal. And he’s the one who signed off on his strategy.
RELATED: Charles Krauthammer disagrees.