Here is the central question. Is President Obama an effective wartime president? Call it the commander-in-chief factor. Is he determined enough to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan?
Mr. Obama seems to understand the danger. Should the Taliban come back, worldwide terrorism gets a huge victory. And so 30,000 more American troops will be sent to the theater, and once again the president is asking other countries to help out. Good luck with that.
Mr. Obama also set a timetable for U.S. troops to get out of Afghanistan: the summer of 2011. But that's not in stone. It's just on his wish list.
And there's nothing wrong with that. If the Afghans themselves don't fight for their freedom, we'll have to get out. So it's good to send that message.
The problem with President Obama and war in general is that his liberal sensibility is not comfortable with combat. Compare Mr. Obama to Dick Cheney, perhaps the most hawkish politician in the country.
But again, that might not be a bad thing. We certainly don't want another Vietnam. If the Karzai government is hopeless, we have to acknowledge that.
But for now, the president should be as tough as he can be, and I did not see that Tuesday night. I did not see a Winston Churchill-type performance. The president was slick, but did he rally the world to fight the Taliban? I don't think so, but I could be wrong.
Summing up, the president's speech Tuesday night was OK, but not exactly the Gettysburg Address.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
Now that the Christmas season is here, the USO is sending some very famous people to entertain our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. They include singers Billy Ray Cyrus and Kellie Pickler, tennis star Anna Kournikova, and the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders. They're all going over, and they are patriots.
On the pinhead front, Congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York is a very liberal guy, but that doesn't explain this crazy statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAURICE HINCHEY, D-N.Y.: Look what happened with regard to our invasion into Afghanistan, how we apparently intentionally let bin Laden get away. That was done by the previous administration because they knew very well that if they would capture Al Qaeda, there would be no justification for an invasion in Iraq.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. You think they deliberately let Usama bin Laden get away? You think they deliberately let the head of that group get away right after he — after the 9/11 attacks? You really believe that?
HINCHEY: Oh, there's no question about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
No question about that, that Bush and Cheney let Usama bin Laden get away on purpose? This guy is in Congress. He's a pinhead.