Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus -- Sort of.
Reactions are mixed after President Obama announced he would send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan. After taking 92 days to make up his mind, the president made it clear last night that he would begin withdrawing the troops within 18 months.
Today, the Democrats are upset saying the cost of escalating the eight year old war is too expensive as the build up comes with a 30-billion dollar price tag. Republicans are unhappy that the president announced a definite time line for the troop withdrawal.
The Associated Press is reporting that Vice President Joe Biden, who did not support the president's decision said the new surge and exit strategy is aimed more at keeping the Taliban from overrunning Afghanistan while protecting America from another terrorist attack.
Senator John McCain who ran against Obama in last year's election said he supports the decision to send in more troops but did not agree with the announced time line for withdrawal.
"We don't want to sound an uncertain trumpet to our friends in the region," McCain said.
What do you think? A defining moment for the Obama presidency or too little too late?
A couple of things concern me about the president's decision, and the reaction to it.
First, like Senator McCain, I don't think it's ever a good idea to let the enemy know your timeline for withdrawing from any war. Military strategy is about playing your cards close to the vest. By letting the world know that we're going to be done in 18 months, the signal has been sent that winning the war is not our objective. In fact, the president never used the word "win" in his speech last night. That omission alone has to be very demoralizing to the troops who we're sending in to fight. When a country sends troops to reform a region, it's imperative that said country appears to be stable in the way they conduct the business of war. The president has made the American military look anything but stable, which will harm us in the long run.
Secondly, the Democrats are crying that the surge will be too expensive, yet Congress is spending billions to bale out banks, and the liberal politicians are working non-stop to create a multi-billion dollar healthcare plan that will provide healthcare for illegal citizens, and abortion funding and sex education for our elementary school kids. How bizarre that our national security is not as important to some in our government as a healthcare bill that will keep our children's grandchildren oppressed with massive debt.
Finally, I'm baffled as to how president Obama came up with 30,000 as the final surge number when General McChrystal originally called for 40,000. I understand we have to work with what we've got, but it seems that the president was trying to make some kind of political point when he did not explain why he cut the troop number by 10,000. I sincerely hope I'm wrong when my gut tells me that once again decisions about protecting America have been reduced to nothing more than a pawn in the game of political football. (although I fear I'm exactly on point)
So Virginia, be happy this Christmas, as we are a bit better off than we were yesterday. The president's decision to send more troops after the first of the year, should help calm a region that is rapidly spinning out of control. For the next 18 months you can sleeep a little easier at night. But remember Virginia, life is full of comprimise and you'll never be completely at peace while you walk this earth. July 2011 will be here before you know it my dear, and once again you'll be forced to fear the inevitable when Johnny comes marching home.