Anyone whose read this blog knows that I’m not really a fan of our President’s policies. I swore when he was elected however, that I would never descend to the level of vitriol that was directed at President Bush when he was in office. As with Mr. Bush, I would defend and support Obama when I thought he was right, and I would criticize him when I thought he was wrong. I do not hate Obama. I do not love him. I judge him. He’s my President and that’s my right and my duty as a citizen. So it is that I’d like to praise the President for his signature on the execut/capture order for Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, one of 4 co-conspirators wanted in the 2002 bombing of an Israel-owned hotel in Mombasa, Kenya. Nabhan is by any stretch of the imagination a bad man and the world is better without his presence.
It would be really easy for President Obama to back off our commitment to Afghanistan. The anti-war left, quiet for these past few months, is beginning to make some noises again, joined by jackasses on the right (I’m looking at you George Will) eager to pull out of Afghanistan because it will make Obama look bad. That is a huge mistake. I’m never eager for our country to enter a war and I’m willing to concede that Iraq may have been a mistake, but as far as I’m concerned, once boots are on the ground, the war must be brought to a successful conclusion. To paraphrase Ender Wiggin, it isn’t just winning the battle, it’s winning so decisively that future battles never happen. I say this with the full awareness that my support means people — Americans, Afghans and Iraqis — will die because of it. I hate that. I don’t want anybody to be killed. What I hate more though is the idea of emboldening America’s enemies into yet more attacks by becoming a paper tiger. We still haven’t recovered from President Carter’s disastrous attempt to rescue the hostages in Iran in 1979. Sometimes life doesn’t give us pretty choices.
I hope President Obama has the courage to do what needs to be done in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I don’t want him to “fail” any more than I wanted President Bush to fail us in the myriad ways he did (did the man not know he had a veto pen?). A liberal friend asked me after Obama’s election “how I was taking it,” as if politics were some sort of team sport. Well it is, only we’re all supposed to be on the same side, America’s. I was fine with Obama being elected, that’s the nature of the system. If he fulfills the greatest hopes of his admirers, I’d be happy to vote for his re-election, though that’s looking like a real long-shot at this point. In the mean time, when I agree with Obama, I’ll give him the credit he deserves.
Good on you, Mr. President! Keep it up.