A column in the Washington Post website by Robert Kagan acknowledges President Obama's courage for his decision not to abandon Afghanistan. Kagan argues that it's the responsibility inherent in the office that compels men as different as George Bush and Barack Obama to make principled decisions that go against conventional wisdom. Congressmen and other politicians, spared the burden of that responsibility, have no disincentive to acting and speaking irresponsibly (which they do). Kagan is also optimistic about the flexibility of the arbitrary drawdown date of July, 2011, saying that declaring defeat in 18 months will not be any easier for Obama than it is now.
Not so sanguine is Eliot Cohen (WSJ) who focuses on the shortcomings of Obama's Afghan policy.
Stephen Hayes (Weekly Standard) posts this precious juxtaposition of comments from the President and Vice-President.
An End to Partisanship and Cynicism
President Obama last night:
This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on every issue -- nor should we. But I also know that we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership, nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time, if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse.
It's easy to forget that when this war began, we were united -- bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe with every fiber of my being that we -- as Americans -- can still come together behind a common purpose.
Vice President Biden, in an email to supporters tonight touting Obama's speech:
It's a clean break from the failed Afghanistan policy of the Bush administration, and a new, focused strategy that can succeed.
Yeah, why are people so cynical?