Tonight, President Obama will announce his newest new strategy for Afghanistan. You may remember the announcement of his original new strategy for Afghanistan in a speech on March 27, 2009. The president had this to say:
"Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. This marks the conclusion of a careful policy review that I ordered as soon as I took office. My Administration has heard from our military commanders and diplomats. We have consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments; with our partners and NATO allies; and with other donors and international organizations."
Well, apparently we know now that the careful and comprehensive strategy wasn't up to the new standards of even more carefully deliberated and comprehensive strategies. And even this newest new strategy will probably see a newer, more comprehensive strategy down the road when General McChrystal makes his next troop request. Allowing three and a half months for dithering, of course.
Remember, with this president it's all about what it looks like he's doing, not what he's actually doing. After all, this is the Commander-in-Chief who said in a previous press conference before the troops, "You make a pretty good photo-op." Likewise tonight, the West Point cadets will make a pretty good backdrop for the cameras. I wish we had a leader who saw those willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedoms as more than endless campaign props, but I get the feeling that tonight is all about dear leader.
Rest assured that President Obama will spend a lot of time talking about the tough decisions he has to make, how hard they are to make, how incorrectly they were made before him, and how good he thinks he is at making them. In a way this is Obama's version of President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech, only worse. Obama thinks in just deciding whether or not to commit more troops, by finding the political middle ground (not too many, not too few), that he's actually accomplished something.
Having settled that dilemma, he can get back to a more comprehensive review of the economy and dither over a new program to create or save jobs, since the last one failed to employ anything but creative accounting, or try to figure out the newest new way to close Gitmo, a failed-to-materialize achievement he technically celebrated a year ago. Like a trophy for every kid who plays t-ball, Obama expects praise just for showing up and reading the teleprompter. Sadly, he usually gets it from the mainstream media. We'll see if that still holds true tonight.
Exit Question: Now that 2009 is the deadliest year in Afghanistan for our troops and Iraq is no longer stealing resources away, who does Obama throw under the bus and how does he explain his failures there?