Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tuesday Night

Tuesday night is when the president will outline his plan for future action in Afghanistan. The president is caught between a rock, a war and a hard place for his re-election so his speech has to be carefully crafted and worded in way that is palatable to all sides.

If recent polls are any indication, America has lost her interest in ferreting out terrorists in the Af-Pak war. When we decided to go after Uber-terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden many years ago, it was out of revenge, fueled by the savage attacks on our own soil September 11, 2001.

But the palpable fury has been replaced by grim pessimism. Not because of our lack of will power and determination in our military, but because people are worried about losing their home, their job and the piece of mind that comes with a stable economy. We could stomach two wars a couple years ago. Now people are more concerned about how to get through the week being un- or underemployed.

Also, polls show that people are getting weary of the president’s lack of accomplishment. For the first time in his first term, the president’s approval rating has slipped below 50 percent. Tuesday night he can re-affirm and re-energize the American people and tell the world what his plan has to be, not what he wants it to be.

There is a huge distinction. “Having” is a commitment, a passion and a metaphysical certitude for something to be achieved. “Wanting” leaves room for doubt and distraction. And worst of all, settling. We can’t settle for another long, drawn out conflict in Afghanistan. Nor can the world. Decisive action must happen.

Here is what Barack Obama needs to say to the American people: He needs to be succinct and his conviction must be resolute if he is sending in more troops. For the people who elected him into office, he must steadfastly remind them of why we are fighting and why committing enough of our brave men and women is necessary.

For those who haven’t forgotten why we are in Afghanistan and want more troops, Obama needs to show that he understands the task at hand and has to demonstrate a willingness to win. There is nothing more disheartening than watching a man try to be passionate about something he doesn’t believe in. Look at LBJ during his term during the Viet Nam war. It literally drained him and he didn’t seek a second term.

Obama has to get this speech right if he wants to succeed in Afghanistan. If he doesn’t, the world will know immediately.

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