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Obama's Afghan Speech, One Day Later

The president is getting hammered by both conservatives and liberals over his plan to deal with Afghanistan. The right doesn't like the timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal, and, shockingly, some on the left reject it as well:


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC: If I were the Taliban right now, I would put a little post-it up on that month in 2011 and say, this is when we do our surge.

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: I don't understand, Katie, how you can set a deadline on what you're going to do. And you know, this is not a football game, where there's a clock, where the time runs out. To win this war, you have to defeat the enemy.


But defeating the enemy will not be done with 30,000 more troops. As Stratfor reported Wednesday, that is impossible.

What the additional troops will do is give NATO more time to train the Afghan army. That is the key to Mr. Obama's strategy.

As far as a timetable for withdrawal, I don't think it's a big deal. As we've seen, President Obama didn't take the troops out of Iraq very quickly, and he won't take them out of Afghanistan if there's any risk to his leadership. The president does not seem to like aggressive action, but he doesn't want to go down in history as a weak leader either.

"Talking Points" believes the bigger problem is Mr. Obama's lack of passion for victory. What the nation needed to hear Tuesday night was a little Gen. Patton:


GEN. GEORGE PATTON: Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war, because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.


Instead of a resolute Patton, what we got was a placid Barack Obama:


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might and with a commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure and a future that represents not the deepest of fears, but the highest of hopes.


Waging war is not solely an intellectual exercise. Emotion has to be involved. Great wartime leaders like Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln understood that.

At this point, I don't believe President Obama does. As always, I could be wrong.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Wednesday morning on NBC, actress Meredith Baxter Birney, the star of "Family Ties" and a person who has been married three times, said this:


MEREDITH BAXTER BIRNEY, ACTRESS: I guess I should really, too, say that I'm a lesbian, and it was a later-in-life recognition of that fact. If I can be that lesbian you know now, OK. Well, if I vote this way, then that might affect this person I know. That mattered.


Now depending on your point of view, Ms. Birney is either a patriot for being brave or a pinhead for revealing this on national television. You make the call.

On the pinhead front, there's little doubt about Howard Dean:


HOWARD DEAN, FORMER DNC CHAIR: So I think the debate for a new generation, instead of capitalism or socialism, is we're going to have both, and then which proportion of each should we have in order to make this all work. It's a much more sensible debate.


Now I believe socialism has no place in America. Gov. Dean obviously disagrees, so you can decide who's the pinhead here.

You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Pinheads & Patriots" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on Send your comments to:

Bill O'Reilly currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel's (FNC) The O'Reilly Factor (weekdays 8PM/ET), the most watched cable news show for the past 13 years. He joined the network in 1996 and is based in New York. Click here for more information on Bill O'Reilly