On his radio show yesterday, former Sen. Fred Thompson upped his criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of the war in Afghanistan, predicting:
It really doesn’t matter how President Obama divides the Afghan baby, how he splits the difference between McChrystal and Biden. Because the war has been lost. I say this because of one sad and simple fact. The president does not have the will and determination to do what’s necessary to win it. His heart’s not in it, and never has been. The Taliban knows it. Al Qaeda knows it. Our allies know it. And the American people know it.
Our enemies are now emboldened and our friends are discouraged. We cannot prevail if the American people are not willing to make the sacrifices necessary for an extended effort. The case has not been made to them to justify this effort. The case can only be made by the president. This president is unable or unwilling to make that case.
Thompson is half right. If the Obama administration chooses to deny its field commander’s request for the troops and resources necessary to fully implement a counterinsurgency strategy, the results would likely be disastrous. Half measures are guaranteed to fail.
But all hope is not lost. On the campaign trail President Obama showed he has the leadership and the rhetorical skills necessary to inspire Americans. As a candidate last year, and even as recently as this August, President Obama acknowledged the centrality of defeating the Taliban to American security. That President Obama could win this war.
Victory is still possible. It all depends on whether the President’s heart is in it.