Monday, October 19, 2009

Taking the Time

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is counseling a go-slow approach to sending more troops into Afghanistan.

It would be entirely irresponsible for the president of the United States to commit more troops to this country, when we don’t even have an election finished and know who the president is and what kind of government we’re working in with.

When our own commanding general tells us that a critical component of achieving our mission here is, in fact, good governance, and we’re living with a government that we know has to change and provide it, how could the president responsibly say, “Oh, they asked for more, sure — here they are”?

If history and our experience in a previous war in Asia is any guide — and Mr. Kerry has some experience with that historical perspective — then sending in troops to prop up a weak and corrupt government is a mistake that could lead to more tragedy.

It’s also worth noting that the Republicans in the Senate have been pushing the president to make a decision about sending more troops, some going so far as to accuse him of “dithering” because he hasn’t made a snap decision. Yet when it comes to healthcare reform, the Republicans are accusing the president of making snap decisions and going too quickly: the chorus is united in their demand that he slow down and even start over. Going too fast or too slow in either case is a mistake, but being inconsistent because of political opportunism is even worse.