October 27th, 2009
10:40 AM ET

Dear President Obama #281: Wait, wait ... do tell me!

Reporter's Note: The White House has been working for weeks on a plan for what comes next in Afghanistan. Which means we’ve all been waiting to see it. The subject of my daily letter to the president.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/10/19/afghan.iraq.surge/art.ansf.copters.usmc.jpg caption="Troops prepare to board helicopters at Forward Operating Base Dwyer, Afghanistan."]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

I saw where you made this strong statement that you will not be rushed into making a decision on Afghanistan, and I must say, good for you. I have never been a big fan of rushing into things, because I figure making a decision on anything short of a house fire (or something like that) requires a cool head and deliberation, not a headlong leap toward a conclusion.

On the other hand, (and you know with me there is always another hand) I think you might want to keep in mind that there is sometimes a fine line between “no rush” and “dragging your feet.” Now don’t get defensive. I’m not wrecking on you. I’m just saying that many things in life come with expiration dates, even if we can’t always find them on the bottom of the carton.

Many advantages in politics, hockey, and yes, military campaigns must be capitalized on at the right moment, neither too early nor too late, or they wind up being lost. For example, if you are walking across an open field and suddenly an angry bull appears on the horizon, you have an advantage. It will take him a little time to charge your way, so you can plot your action. And true enough, if you rush into a decision about what you should do, you might end up running further away from the nearest fence and pay with a poke in the posterior. However, if you dawdle too long making your decision, you may wind up patching your pants anyway. See?

You are absolutely right to suggest that there is almost no decision more important than the one that determines when, where, and why Americans take up arms. It should never be needlessly rushed. But right now, our fellow Americans are already being shot at; they are already engaged with the enemy, and as much as we might wish otherwise, there is some sense of urgency. Because every moment that we wait to decide what we’ll do next, they are under the guns. And just because we’re waiting to decide our next move, doesn’t mean our enemies are waiting too.

I won’t dwell on it, but thought it was worth a mention. Speaking of rushing, I notice you seem to be in no rush to call me this week. Or last week. Or the one before. Is it just me, or is there a pattern here?



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. christina

    This is sad sad.. a PRESIDENT dragging his feet and more of our men and women get killed.. Obama never fought a war what does he care? Fundraising is more important then the men and women of our military. Get his HEALTHCARE passed first

    October 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  2. Lisa in CA

    We can't fix every country - heck, seems we can't even fix our own. How about thinking about the original reason we are in Afghanistan - to apprehend (or kill would be fine with me) OBL – the man responsible for 9/11? Let's accompish that first and worry about everything else after.

    October 27, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  3. Sss

    Winning a war ! There,s no winning in a war.

    Instead of sending troops build soccer fields, new clubs ,conduct more tournamants. Keep the youth busy.Introduce th clubs to small leagues on different countries.

    DRONES will take of the rest.

    October 27, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Joe

    While Obama is in Florida raising money 8 more servicemen in Afghanistan died. The toll is mounting and he wants to play the peacemaker. Instead to be raising money he needs to raise his voice and bring them back. Its a lost war, I guess we haven't learned from the Russians.

    October 27, 2009 at 12:47 pm |
  5. Wain, San Francisco

    I hope the final decision is to take out troops from Afghanistan as soon as possible.

    October 27, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  6. Dawn

    As these troops are getting killed and injured in Afghanistan it is in the best intrest of all our troops to make the right choice on this matter.More troops more dead and injured. We saw this in Iraq. Lets get it right this time.Love our USA Troops.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  7. imitalian

    but he's in a huge rush to get healthcare passed.

    60 days is quite long enough to review the situation. Stop giving him a pass. This is way overdue and he needs to just suck it up and let us know what his plans are.

    Just pull everyone back instead of leaving them there as targets if you're going to drag your feet for goodness sakes!

    October 27, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  8. Lori

    Thank you Tom.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  9. Kula May Ellison

    Hello Like really does the
    does Mr. Obma every have long term plan to end the
    war or anynplans for peace
    on the table.

    October 27, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  10. Joanne P

    The technology of war is far advanced, drones are now replacing manned aircraft. There are ways to extend our "influence" while saving the lives of American military.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:42 am |
  11. meenas17

    Yes,there is a subtle difference between "no rush"and dragging the feet..A proper decision at the right moment is the need of the hour.

    October 27, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  12. Enough

    Obama doesn't appear to have a plan for Afghanistan, either that or he is just waiting until after the November elections to announce he will send the troops needed. He doesn't want to be rushed on Afghanistan, but he wants to rush through a really bad health care bill. Seems like his priorities are a little mixed up. I would think our Soldiers lives are a little more important than rushing through a health care bill that wouldn't even start for another 5-7 years!

    October 27, 2009 at 8:54 am |