Seeking A Firm, Decisive President

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - November 18, 2009

It appears that President Obama, his congressional leadership and liberals at large want to exert absolute and total control over the lives of Americans. They want to control your income via taxation, they want to control your very existence with healthcare reform, they want to control your business and leisure with cap and trade, and they want to control your information with variations of the Fairness Doctrine while marginalizing Fox News. Now, with the president’s seeming indifference to Afghanistan and subdued reaction to the apparent terrorist attack at Fort Hood, the milquetoast at best and misguided at worst performance by Democrat leadership is threatening our nation.

Political expediency and calculation seem to dictate our national policy. Case in point is the healthcare reform debate in Congress. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been lauded by Democratic Rep. George Miller as the greatest speaker ever in the history of the House of Representatives. I am sure that Sam Rayburn and Tip O’Neill are looking at each other right now and laughing their sizable assets off. However, in the quest for the required votes to pass the House version of healthcare, President Obama and Speaker Pelosi needed their membership to walk steadfast with them.

Yes, there is an element of quid pro quo that goes into most legislation. In this case, the bargaining chip from moderate Democrats was the provision that federal money would not be used for abortion. The Stupak Amendment, named after Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, was a condition of support for “Blue Dog” Democrats. Battled against from the beginning, Pelosi capitulated when they knew they needed their votes, and consequently Stupak passed - good, old-fashioned political compromise.

But what could be a manipulation of our war policy in Afghanistan is a completely different proposition. For more than four months, President Obama has known of Gen. Stanley McCrystal’s assessment and recommendation of the need for 45,000 additional troops to turn the tide in Afghanistan. It is curious that, although the president refers to Afghanistan as “a war of necessity,” he has been wont to act on this information.

A plausible theory is the president did not want to jeopardize his much-vaunted healthcare initiative by alienating key allies who are adamantly and intransigently opposed to the war. Again, theorizing that by delaying the deployments requested by the general whom he appointed, the president preserved his healthcare vote by deferring his decision on troop strength. Now that healthcare barely passed the House, will we see a firm and resolute decision on Afghanistan?

If President Obama sends troops now, it will be interpreted as a politically calculated move to shore up support for his reform agenda, and if he doesn’t send additional troops, he will be viewed, at the very least, as indecisive on security issues and, at worst, as willing to use front-line military men and women as political pawns.

Regardless, we find ourselves in tenuous and dangerous times. We are engaged in a war on terror. These are not the words simply of President Bush and his administration, but an accurate conclusion of the 9/11 Commission.

Now more than ever we need a firm and decisive policy not only regarding Afghanistan, but one that addresses and defines our war on terror, too. The Obama administration erased “War on Terror” from its lexicon. If we can’t even say it, then how can we fight it? If we can’t fight it, how do we win?

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