- The Washington Times - Friday, October 9, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Washington Times’ editorial “The president fiddles, Afghanistan burns” (Opinion, Thursday) makes one wonder whether its writers occupy a vacuum of reality and reasoning or are interested primarily in scoring cheap political points at the expense of advocating wise policy.

After eight years in Afghanistan, the “U.S. effort is adrift” precisely because President Obama’s predecessor dithered for seven years in making it the backwater in the fight against terrorism. President Bush invested American lives and resources in the war in Iraq, a great unnecessary distraction, while Afghanistan burned - which led directly to the Republican Party’s colossal defeats at the polls in 2006 and 2008.

There were only 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan when Mr. Bush left office. Today, there are 68,000 - more than double the number deployed under Mr. Bush. Some fiddling! Yes, Mr. Obama must decide if we should send another 40,000 troops, but he wants to make sure this time we get the policy right by clarifying our goals and maximizing our resources. Good for him. My son is a Marine and Iraq war veteran who likely will be putting his life on the line in Afghanistan in the future. If he does, I hope he and his fellow warriors have a war policy worthy of their courage and sacrifice - no matter how long it takes to get it right.

GARY JARMIN

Vienna

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