William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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THE ORDERS GO OUT - AT 7:34 P.M. ET:  The only thing we know specifically about the president's Afghan strategy, to be announced tomorrow night, is that it's driving the left crazy.  For that the president deserves at least one hand clapping.  We'll give him the other one if he delivers a winning strategy, and backs it up.  The Washington Post reports:

President Obama has informed his senior advisers of his Afghanistan war strategy decision and ordered his commanders on the ground there to begin carrying out the plan.

Speaking Monday to reporters at the White House, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama met Sunday evening in the Oval Office with Vice President Biden; Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates; Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Gen. David H. Petraeus, chief of U.S. Central Command; national security adviser James L. Jones; and Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Sounds reasonable, until you get to this:

According to advisers, Obama intends to outline the escalation and an exit strategy in the Tuesday speech, which is likely to run roughly 40 minutes. Gibbs reiterated Monday that Obama "will make clear this is not an open-ended commitment."

Huh?  Is that part of a strategy, or part of an attempt to appease the Nancy Pelosi Lightning Brigade?  If Obama signals a will to win, he might make some progress and convince those of us who've been critical.  But if he provides the enemy with, essentially, a timetable for withdrawal, he will just compound his problems.  The enemy has all the time in the world, and they can wait us out. 

For Barack Obama, this is a critical moment, a moment when America will learn what he's really made of.  So far, he has been a weak, vague and indecisive leader.  Let us see if he's capable of change we can believe in.

November 30, 2009