You be the judge: David Brooks of the NYT asserted that the real question in Afghanistan is determination--is Obama sufficiently stubborn to carry through an open-ended war? As a supposed hardliner on Afghanistan, I think that staying the course is perhaps the best option, that a mini-surge might be the right idea, but I wouldn't question Obama's ability to be determined. Think about how he got here--by winning a campaign against the Chosen One (Hillary Clinton) who had the party machine on his side.
But Brooks does remind me of a key bit of magic--how to disapparate--how to disappear and teleport in Harry Potter? It requires deliberation, determination, and destination (as opposed to the five D's of dodgeball--dodge, dip, duck, dive and dodge). Certainly, Obama is deliberating pretty seriously, meeting with the Joint Chiefs today. Brooks questions his determination, but there is a pretty fine line between determination and self-destructive obsession. But really, the big obstacle is destination--can we really get to a semi-self-sustaining Afghanistan? Can Karzai (or Abdullah if he somehow wins) do the stuff that is necessary to build a semi -competent, semi-corrupt government? It may be the case that Obama doubts that we can get to the destination. Certainly, events since March have given us all pause--the level of violence, the election fraud, etc--so I really do not mind the President taking a few weeks to re-evaluate things in light of new information. That seems preferable to staying the course without any review despite significant changes on the ground.