There is no doubt President Barack Obama is an eloquent speaker and can inspire milions with visions of a new beginning. Unfortunately, his eloquence just does not resonate with the people of Afghanistan who, in the long run, have to be committed to fighting a war against the Talian. Robert Burns, writing in the Army Times, argues the eight year long war has been operating in slow motion, “raising doubts that President Barack Obama’s new plan to quickly get the nation’s army and police in shape so US forces can leave in 18 months” will ever be achieved. Senator Carl Levin points out the presence of more US soliders and marines on the ground in Afghanistan might well result in fewer Afghans on those streets.
The most realistic evaluation came from Rep. Jane Harman who believes that given the reality of the Afghan army and police, having them assume responsibility for their nation’s safety is “years or decades away.” No speech will substitute for leadership that provides the people of Afghanistan a trained armed force, an economy that provides jobs or a life in which individuals can live in peace. Talk is cheap, but it all too often is rhetoric rather than reality.