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Dithering



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Scanning the shows and talking points yesterday, it’s interesting John Kerry is getting so much attention. I guess he’s one important Democrat. There are some others though: Dianne Feinstein (chair, Senate Intel), Ike Skelton (chair, House Armed Svcs), Anthony Zinni (once a favorite of Democrats) — of course they don’t agree with the Kerry/current-Obama thinking, they agree with McChrystal, Petraeus, and Mullen. What bothers so much, though, is the continually updated rationale to justify the tarry. The president’s comprehensive review and conclusion in March was not dependent on elections, neither was the appointment of General McChrystal — and neither was McChrystal’s after-the-election assessment and request.

Bill Bennett put it this way yesterday on CNN:  

Why is that the case [that we have to wait for an election outcome]? Isn’t the Taliban our enemy? Isn’t al-Qaeda over the border, coming in, being invited and urged to be our enemy? Wasn’t this a matter of our security? Isn’t that what the president said?

He had talked about this being a war of necessity and not a war of choice. It’s now becoming not clear what choice he’s going to take. Look, either side, Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah are on our side. They don’t want us to leave. As another Kerry, Bob Kerrey wrote in the Wall Street Journal, no one in a responsible position is asking us to leave. 

Finally, if the rationale that we shouldn’t bring in more troops until all of this is decided because it’s critical what kind of government they have, why do we have any troops there at all? They are changing the rationale for why we are in Afghanistan. What’s really going on here is a dither, a big dither, indecisiveness. It is costly and it is going to get worse unless they make up their minds and lord knows I think they’re going to make up their minds and pull out and not give McChrystal what he wants.

I am unsure as to whether McChrystal will ultimately get what he wants or not, but right now it does not look good. But, I want to highlight Bill’s point: If it’s a Vietnam vet the press wants to get the comparisons down, do focus on what Bob Kerrey wrote.

 — Seth Leibsohn is a fellow of the Claremont Institute and producer of Bill Bennett’s Morning in America



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