Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: Libya is rapidly taking over the headlines again, and today’s letter to the White House.
Dear Mr. President,
The problem with problems, of course, is that they don’t come along just when it is convenient. Here we are just trying to make it past the shock of the Japan quake, still worrying about those nuclear reactors, and suddenly Libya is back on the schedule.
My understanding from our reporting at CNN is that you are trying to support the U.N. effort to shut down Gadhafi’s military attacks on his opponents, hoping he’ll be booted from power, and yet trying to not get our military heavily involved in the process; as in, we help with radar, and drones, and intelligence, but not the actual fighting.
That is a difficult needle to thread.
It takes much more experience, strength, and focus to dance around the edges of a war than it does to actually engage in one. The lines in that type of fighting are many, many shades of gray and it is easy to find oneself uncertain of the mission. That, in my experience, is something that deeply troubles military leaders, and can infuriate and demoralize troops. Don’t get me wrong: I have no doubt that our skilled military professionals are capable of it. I’m just saying that it is tough.
I understand the reticence that any American may have for getting any deeper into any additional, distant battles. To be frank, we aren’t really done yet in Iraq and Afghanistan remains a very long, slow grind. So the idea of keeping our involvement in Libya to a minimum may seem reasonable.
But I find myself thinking about my younger days. I didn’t get into many fights. I avoided them whenever I could. But I became convinced that fighting is usually best either utterly engaged or not at all.
Still, our troops have had so much asked of them, and they have responded so well; I hope for them and their families, this plan of yours works no matter how tricky it may be to pull off.
Call if you can.
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