President Obama delivered his latest strategy for the war in Afghanistan before an audience of cadets and officers at West Point last night. Secretary of Defense Gates and Secretary of State Clinton were also in attendance. The audience was polite and respectful. Frankly, they looked bored and one cadet was caught on camera falling asleep.
Candidate Obama called the war in Afghanistan the "war of necessity" and a war that must not be lost. He also pledged to send more troops and resources to the fight in Afghanistan while on the campaign trail. His far left supporters have conveniently blocked that part of history from their vehemently anti-war narrative.
There are those on the far left that choose to label Americans as either hawks or doves. Those labels are out of step with the times but they remain. Going back to the war in Vietnam and the anti-war demonstrations of that era, a generation of Americans feel perfectly comfortable with showing open disdain for the military personnel and operations of our nation. This president falls into that category, too. You may remember he was a willing participant in the campaign to label General Petraeus as "General Betrayus" as former President Bush implemented the surge in Iraq, which has brought victory in Iraq. Candidate Obama wore as a badge of honor that he was anti-war in Iraq.
General Petraeus was in the audience last night at West Point, too. He was in full uniform, a chest full of medals and ribbons on display. Karma.
The first and foremost obligation of the President of the United States is to perform his/her duties as Commander-in-Chief. The oath of office as the new president is sworn in states this clearly. The pledge to protect and defend this country is the first of the oath of office, not the end as an afterthought thrown in for good measure. Like it or not, President Obama is a war president.
The war in Afghanistan, however, is not Obama's war. It is America's war. It is NATO's war. It is the war on terror. It is the war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban as they train enemies of the free world in camps there. Our country was attacked by those in allegiance with an evil man in that part of the world. Nations around the world came together and showed solidarity with us in our answer to the attack.
Just as it was wrong for the braying population to label Iraq as "Bush's war", it is also wrong to label the war in Afghanistan as "Obama's war". He is the Commander-in-Chief and it falls to him to conduct the way forward. All Americans are called upon to stand together in the best interests of our national security. Do Republicans agree with all of Obama's decisions in waging war? No. Do Democrats support Republican concerns? Not much. That is the politics of war. This president is more politician than statesman or leader and that is a pity. Not once in the transcript of his speech last night at West Point does the word "victory" appear.
Our all-volunteer military presents the very best of our nation to the world. They are brave and courageous in the fight and compassionate to the civilians caught up in the battlefields. They deserve the best from us and the respect of a grateful nation.
Words are important.