In the past few days, the White House has made it clear that the president wants specific exit strategies for all his Afghan war options. That brought to mind the advice -- from almost a century ago -- of an American geopolitician describing the only exit strategy worth considering: "Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word over there,
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming everywhere.
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware,
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over over there."
The geopolitician in question was, of course, that great Irish-American, Tin Pan Alley's own George M. Cohan. And by quoting his lyrics to World War I's most popular song, I don't mean to be frivolous. But millions of young men were prepared to risk their lives -- to not come back till it was over over there -- because they were called to fight for something our nation considered vital. Those farm boys didn't know about foreign policy, but they trusted their parents and their leaders not to send them off for no good reason.
Hearing the president's request for exit strategies at the beginning of what would be "his" Afghan war -- and thinking of our young troops, 18, 19, 20, 21 years old, who have volunteered to risk their lives for America -- how on God's good earth can we ask those wonderful kids to risk dying for an exit strategy?
I have heard from a few of them, and they are game to make a fight of it, if their country believes it's necessary. Of course, they will obey all their orders and commands. But what a cold and heartless command -- to send our generation's "Yanks" off to risk their young lives just to prepare to retreat (i.e., exit).
The administration is making its intentions quite clear. Over the weekend, top Obama administration officials went on television to "lower the bar for success" in Afghanistan, stressing that the administration is seeking an exit strategy and holds "no illusions" (Fox News).
"We have no illusions. This is not the prior days, when people would come on your show and talk about how we were going to help the Afghans build a modern democracy and build a more functioning state and do all of these wonderful things," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told ABC's "This Week."
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.