The NATO alliance. one of Harry Truman's inspired achievements, is based on collective security, on the idea that an attack on one of its member states is an attack on all. Collective security requires the commitment of all allies to support the counter measures required. NATO should not be allowed to degenerate under this President to the point where the old saw comes true--NATO: No action, talk only. We've been attacked by murderous Muslims, but so have London and Madrid.
NATO's Secretary General, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has been to Afghanistan many times. He rejects the U.S. troops' bitter jibe--that the initials ISAF don't really stand for International Security Assistance Force. Our GI Joes and Janes are grumbling that ISAF really means "I Saw Americans Fight."
Rasmussen made the important point that we can stand up an Afghan fighter for 1/50 of the cost of equipping a U.S. or coalition soldier. May be. But will the Afghan fight?
Rasmussen told FOX News: "The situation is not satisfactory. In particular the security situation is not satisfactory. But actually I visited the southern Helmand province recently. I also visited the very same province one year ago, and I saw clear progress as far as security is concerned. Not least thanks to [the] increased number of American troops. So the number of troops matters."
Do they all have to be U.S. troops? Maybe not. But whoever fights in Afghanistan needs to have the attention and the full backing of our President. Couldn't President Obama have spared some of the time he put in to Chicago's Olympic bid even to stage a walk-on in Afghanistan?
After all, this is the war Senator Obama himself called "a war of necessity." This is the war he charged that George W. Bush had failed to win while pursuing a "war of choice" against Saddam Hussein.
This delay, this months-long dithering is dangerous. The Soviets watched very carefully when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers for striking illegally. They were impressed by his swift and sure decisiveness. With Reagan, the KGB reported to the Kremlin party bosses, "words are deeds." Obama's Hamlet act is growing stale.
President Kennedy knew how important the presidency is. He eloquently said: "I do not shrink from this responsibility. I welcome it."
Can it be that Obama's very public shrinking from the responsibility of decision is what is causing his own shrinking in the American public's support? We don't need a President who, in the words of Newsweek editor Evan Thomas "hovers above us all, sort of a god." What we need is a President who understands what Harry Truman meant when he posted a sign on his Oval Office desk: "The buck stops here."
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