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Obama, Wikileaks, and the Failure to Lead

Do you feel like we are a country at war? Do you feel like you have a leader who is galvanizing the country to take on the enemy and break its back?

What a serious business war is. And how unseriously it is being waged.

At the same time we announced we were getting a bit more in it, we announced the date for starting to get out.

Obama rarely speaks about the war. Only a few times during his presidency has he formally addressed the American people on it.

Here’s a quote from his infamous Cairo speech of June 4, 2009. Note the Churchillian phrasing.

We do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan. We seek no military bases there. It is agonizing for America to lose our young men and women. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home.

Not exactly inspiring war leader stuff, now is it?

Obama’s problem today, as he tries to emerge from the muck of 92,000 Wikileaks, is that he has not sold this war to the American people, because he has not sold it to himself. He has not engaged America in the campaign. The war is being fought by an overstretched military comprised of a small and increasingly weary minority of this country that believes it has a patriotic duty to get on the field of battle and, unlike the president, actually kick some ass.

For the rest of us, the war is something out there somewhere.

West Point cadets listen to Obama
West Point cadets listen to Obama last December

The new leaks will provide ammunition for pants wetters in Congress and throughout the nation for the president to start getting us out. And they will gain traction because America does not fully understand it’s in a war in the first place, does not feel that it is being led to a definable victory.

“Make no mistake,” Obama declared last month. “We have a clear goal. We are going to break the Taliban’s momentum.”

Break their momentum? Now that’s really something to rally around.

Maybe the Neville Chamberlains in Congress will be right. If Neville Chamberlain was going to fight Hitler, than the British might as well have surrendered and spared themselves the loss of blood and treasure.

The president either needs to get his head into this war, or we need to get out.

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4 Responses to Obama, Wikileaks, and the Failure to Lead

  1. Call me a bedwetter, but I think we need to leave. Four countries have never been conquered–and Afghanistan is one…I don’t think we will break their streak. As a rule of thumb, to me a country that has a “fighting season” is going to be tough to beat.

  2. Exactly. Could the timing of this leak be any more convienent? Obama wishes to get out of Afganistan and bingo! here’s some ammunition to make the case. Karzai is corrupt, the locals are uneducated and tribal, there’s no hope for peace or order; shocking? nope. Call me suspicious, but there’s more to this than a military hacker involved.
    Obama is not a leader, he doesn’t inspire anyone to do anything. He is a speech reader. Policy is set by whoever is running the WH circus.

  3. Don’t look now, but Iraq is still kind of a hot mess. I heard “beginning” withdrawal has been pushed back there… The last line of THAT script has not been written.