Well the long-awaited day is here and tonight we will here President Obama's revisit to his new strategy for Afghanistan. Reports have the number for a troop reinforcement at 34,000 which is short of what Gen. McChrystal called his medium risk option of 40,000. Even so, this is a major step and depending on what else he outlines could well be the path to success there. I hope the President stands up in front of the West Point cadets and shows those oratorical skills he is always being praised for. the country needs to hear a rousing call to action and a solid rationale for fighting this war.
What we should not hear tonight is a "have your cake and eat it" speech where he tries to placate his base by talking about how soon we will be leaving, timelines, exit strategies etc. while committing to a renewed effort. If more troops go into harm's way it needs to be with some resolve.
We may want to gen up enough Afghan forces to handle security there, but it will take time and first we have to take the Taliban down a few notches ourselves. At the same time we need to adopt some sort of strategy that builds rapport and trust with each tribe as we clear their area of Talibs. There is no magic bullet for Afghanistan, and the idea that we can set a desired end state is only possible if the goal is to bring our troops home by a set date regardless of conditions on the ground.