President Obama is absolutely correct in doing exhaustive research and fact-finding as he decides on the basic and major approaches by the U.S. in Afghanistan. The elephant in the room is that after Bush diverted focus from capturing Osama bin Laden and ending al Qaeda as was imminent at Torah Borah, Bush directed the invasion of Iraq. Afghanistan was left to become a Chinese puzzle. U.S. options in Afghanistan are widely varied, disputed, fraught with danger, and these horrible choices harken back to our disaster in Vietnam. Any chance for a decent outcome in Afghanistan will require complex, new approaches that are carried out intelligently. Listening only to the military would be making the same mistake we made in Vietnam. Their input is essential but limited in perspective.
Far be if from me to decide who should merit the prestige of the Nobel Prize for Peace, but it seems a little premature to award this unique recognition to Barack Obama nine months into his presidency. I understand the fresh voice and hope he brings. I understand what it means to his being the first African American elected to the White House. But these hopes must translate into more direct and specific peace outcomes, though not every Nobel Laureate saw accomplishments evolve from their promise.
While in college he was in the ROTC. He volunteered to serve in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. He was awarded the Silver Star and the Bronze Star. A grenade blew off both his legs and his right arm. After returning home for therapy, he served in several public offices in Georgia, and in 1996 was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat. He was considered a moderate. What an amazing set of heroic accomplishments!
*While watching the Packers-Vikings game and reading-viewing after-game accounts, I am amazed at how much was made of Brett Favre's great game and how little was made of Aaron Rodgers miraculous game. Yes, Favre is an all-time great quarterback and he had a very good game. But Favre was not sacked or even touched during the entire game. Any NFL quarterback would have a good game under those conditions, and Favre has the best running back in the League in his backfield.