I always thought that George Bush’s framing Afghanistan and Iraq as two wars was a mistake when Iraq was obviously an extension of the “War on Terror.” That Cheney is such a sly bastard, it’s now clear that if the Bush administration wanted to ensure that the war was brought to a successful conclusion the “two war” framing was brilliant.
It opened the door for democrats to proclaim the “good war -bad war” analogy that has now trapped Obama in a rhetorical box. He is going to find it politically hazardous to walk away when he has promised to keep his eye on the ball, fight the good war that was “ignored by the Bush administration”, and to get Bin Laden.
Insurgencies are won and lost not on the battlefield but on the home front. The French learned this in Algeria and the US learned it in Vietnam. The insurgency in Iraq was in effect al Qaida’s Tet Offensive and it almost succeeded but for the tenacity of Bush, Petraeus, and the American soldier. The insurgency in Afghanistan is now heating up not because the front was ignored but because the enemy believes that they now have an opportunity to sway a war weary American public led by a weak kneed president.
Obama will either come to realize that he has the opportunity to be remembered as the President that won the war. Or he can opt to go down the path of the slow bleed as Joe Biden has suggested and eventually pull out as the left demands. The reality is that while Obama has compared himself to every president since Abe Lincoln I don’t believe B.HO wants to be the next LBJ. After a few days of political self reflection Obama will give the commanders what they need to finish this fight.