The White House has had a few laughs recently poking fun at Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.
The most recent gaffe it is pointing to is Mr. Steele's comment about Afghanistan and the possibility the war cannot be won. White House operatives lit up the Internet with charges and accusations that Mr. Steele and his Republican friends were ready to throw in the towel while troops were still on the ground. Never mind that when similar arguments were made during candidate Barack Obama's campaign, Democrats howled in protest and stumbled over themselves to appear "patriotic."
But such shenanigans have no real place in this debate and war that has been ongoing now for close to a decade. The political back-and-forth is about as impressive as the stops and starts regarding America's policy in Afghanistan, and that must change first if we're ever going to bring our soldiers home. If Iraq was George W. Bush´s Achilles' heel for all our sakes we pray that Afghanistan will not be President Obama´s.
Only real commitment can change the course of history — commitment unconstrained by timelines and driven by a real sense of purpose!
What further complicates the White House's views toward Afghanistan was the politically-charged promise Mr. Obama made to the American people while campaigning in 2008. Sensing the electorate's frustrations toward Iraq, and to a lesser extent, Afghanistan, Mr. Obama said he would begin bringing our troops home from Afghanistan by 2011. To be more precise, that's July of next year, almost one year to the date. And if anything, the prospects of securing any sort of peace in the region are worsening, not improving.
To be balanced, subsequent strategic engagements with the Hamid Karzai administration have focused on shifting the dialogue surrounding the 2011 date. Initially the July 2011 timetable was intended to serve as a way to focus our Afghan political colleagues to rapidly assume the reins and frankly to communicate that the United States can't want a free and stable Afghanistan more than the Karzai team. However, like many things in Washington, a complex and lengthy integrated strategic plan with an equally complex political-military campaign plan rapidly turned into a sound byte — "We're out in 2011" — a message the White House needs to continue to counter.