|September 24, 2009|
|Hamlet on the Potomac|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Mitt Romney yesterday compared Barack Obama to Hamlet for his apparent hesitancy to commit more troops to Afghanistan. |
The former Massachusetts governor and probable yet-again GOP presidential contender said: "This is not the time for Hamlet in the White House."
Note to Mitt: it is also not the time for another cowboy in the White House, itching for a fight against international evil-doers.
Shortly after he took office, Obama ordered more than 20,000 troops to Afghanistan. In the wake of increased violence and a rigged election, the president is apparently having second thoughts about a future military build-up. That's in line with the American people.
More than half (51 percent) of Americans polled by the Wall Street Journal and NBC oppose sending more soldiers to Afghanistan. Nearly 60 percent are pessimistic about a U.S. victory.
A bigger question: What is a U.S. victory in Afghanistan? Is it the capture of bin Laden? Rooting-out Al Qaeda? Destruction of the Taliban? Transformation of a collection of warring tribes into a modern state?
After eight years of conflict, the public still doesn't have a clue about what our goal is in Afghanistan.
Obama was right to ask Gen. Stanley McChrystal to delay asking for more troops until the administration completes a review of U.S. policy. That's not mimicking Hamlet. It is being responsible for the lives of young Americans who may be sent to a military quagmire.
The president told the United Nations today that the U.S. can't fix all the world's problems. That applies to Afghanistan. Terrorism is a global problem. It requires a global solution. The U.S. shouldn't have to go it alone in Afghanistan with only token help from NATO allies.
Obama is right to think things through. If he okays more troops, he will have to give the speech of his life to justify that decision.
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