The President announced his new strategy in Afghanistan yesterday, and it is one that Republicans and conservatives can support. Clearly benefiting from the breathing space afforded by the successful surge in Iraq, Mr. Obama seeks now to ramp up our efforts in Afghanistan on all fronts. With rhetoric sounding a lot like that of the previous occupant of the Oval Office, the President is very much moving in the direction upon which he campaigned, treating Afghanistan (rather than Iraq) as the central front of the war on terror (whoops, overseas contingency operation).
Good and smart people disagree on this strategy. Many believe it is time to stop the bleeding in Afghanistan and slowly disengage. That may prove to be the case, but I don't think it is the case now. Given our efforts in Iraq and the strains placed on our land forces, Afghanistan never got the kind of attention it deserved.
It is now put up or shut up time in the Democratic Party. We all endured the poetic waxings of Obama, Pelosi, Reid et al about the goodness and importance of the war in Afghanistan, mainly as a way of trying to force President Bush into retreat on Iraq. He did not, and Iraq is making a go of it even as we begin a controlled withdrawl. Now we get to see the truth (or not) behind the elevation of Afghanistan in the councils of Democratic war and policy making. Was it simply to look strong and attack a Republican President? Or did they really mean it? How will the Moveon.org crowd react to their President actually taking the Commander-in-Chief role seriously? The fractious nature of the Democratic Party will be on display for all to see.