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Obama fiddles, Afghanistan burns


Okay, what’s the delay with Obama’s decision about troops in Afghanistan? He’s been getting his Afghani ducks in a row for months. I’m all for careful consideration, a gathering of facts, a seeking of advice, and all that. But enough is enough. While we’ve waited and he’s cogitated, Americans have continued to die in Afghanistan. And for what? Will 40,000 more American targets in that country stop the dying?

I hope the president isn’t doing what I’ve sometimes done myself — delay a difficult decision in the hope that some external event will make the decision. And I hope he doesn’t do something else I’ve sometimes done — not commit fully to either option, but try to take a middle road between the two. Or, as some have framed it in this case, send some additional troops to Afghanistan, but nowhere near the numbers asked for by the generals. Just enough to appear to be doing something.

History — very recent history, unfortunately — shows that halfway measures can be worse than none at all. A partial commitment, some troops but not an overwhelming force, is worse than nothing. People die, and keep dying, because the goal — if one was ever defined — is simply unachievable without the necessary manpower. (I hope the president has studied the Powell Doctrine.)

Just a few days ago, 18 more dead Americans were brought home from Afghanistan. The president, to his credit, was there to honor them. Maybe, finally, he understands the situation.

Enough, Mr. President. It’s time for a decision. And it seems to me it’s pretty simple. Even the kids understand. Go big, or go home.

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