The president keeps saying he will not be rushed. Maybe in a few weeks — hmm, after two key gubernatorial elections — he will disclose what his Afghanistan war strategy is. But really, what is taking so long?
Anthony Zinni, the retired four-star Marine Corps general who backed the surge in Iraq and has been CENTCOM commander (and was invited and then disinvited to join the Obama team), supports Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s plan and thinks we need a lot more troops in Afghanistan. And he doesn’t get what all the White House ”dillydallying” (a much more vivid term than “dithering,” no?) is about:
Zinni said his own son was among the troops waiting to be deployed, adding: “I think that we owe them a decision. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why we’re still waiting for one.” … Zinni had some specific advice President Barack Obama: Americans need to hear a better explanation of why the U.S. is in Afghanistan, on the doorstep of nuclear-armed rivals Pakistan and India neighbors. “I think the speech that has been missing … is this talk not only to the American public but to the world about what the threats are, what the challenges are and what the concerns should be out there,” he said.
Indeed, it isn’t simply a lack of a decision but a lack of leadership and — shocking for a president who adores speechifying — any effort to halt the erosion of public support for the war. But alas, that might rub his liberal base the wrong way. He’d have to bring up all that talk about the “good war” and make the case for assertion of American power to defeat not just al-Qaeda but also, as he explained in the spring, the Taliban, who threaten to topple both Afghanistan and nuclear-armed Pakistan. Things might, you know, get uncomfortable for the netroots — or for Obama.
So he has dawdled and will, it appears, trim and fiddle with McChrystal’s recommendation. And for what, exactly? Like Zinni, I’m still stumped.