The speech seemed mediocre and generally uninspiring, but I wanted to give the underlying plan time to sink in. Since then, I’ve grown increasingly comfortable with that plan: 30,000 additional troops, plus NATO inputs, is close to General Stanley McChrystal’s request, and follow-up testimony by Secretary Gates revealed that the July 2011 “date certain for withdrawal” is not so certain after all.It is interesting and not without irony to note that just over a year ago, I and two other Iraq veterans appeared in a VFF commercial criticizing then Sen Obama for not admitting that the Iraq surge had been an overwhelming success. Now that same former Senator is not only admitting that the surge was more successful than most people could have imagined, he is also showing his belief in the surge and counterinsurgency concept by making that plan his own.
I disagree with the president on nearly everything that he says, thinks, and believes. But in this case, you have to give the man credit for doing the right thing when nearly everyone who helped elect him believes he is wrong. Think back to a year ago, and tell me (honestly) if you ever would have predicted President Obama would not only not retreat from the War on Terror, but that he would expand it by 200%.
I am hesitant about President Obama’s core commitment to the mission, but he showed true political courage in almost tripling the U.S. presence in Afghanistan since January. And most important, Gens. McChrystal and David Petraeus — who conducted the successful Iraq surge and will lead our renewed fight in Afghanistan — enthusiastically support the plan and believe they can achieve significant progress with the new resources. Generals have not always been right, but these two men are our most experienced warriors and helped the U.S. win a similar war against a similar enemy.No matter what his motivations are for the surge, President Obama has done the unthinkable for a modern Democrat-he has given the US military a chance to win. And given the military savvy of Petraeus and McCrystal on the politics of the wars we are fighting, is it too hard to imagine that Gen McCrystal, needing an extra 30,000 boots on the ground in Afghanistan, used the old Arab trader tactic of asking for 80,000 with the expectation of knowing he would be talked down to a lower number? Having spent a few hours myself in the Gold Souk in Doha, Qatar, I don't think it is unreasonable for the top general in Afghanistan to have learned a thing or two from the people whose hearts he is trying to win.
As I mentioned last week, the conservative view of the Afghanistan surge, aside from partisan politics, should be a standing ovation of support for the president and the mission he laid out. Because in the end, President Obama is doing what conservatives have said all along should be done. Did he do it in the way we wanted? Of course not. But George W Bush in not the president anymore. President Obama, elected in part by MoveOn, Code Pink and every other anti-war coalition and lobbyist you can think of, went against every radical leftist bone in his body and doubled down on the war in Afghanistan. For the sake of our troops in harm's way, we need to vocally support him lest he change his mind.
Read the rest of Pete's article here.