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December 1st, 2009
11:07 AM ET

Five questions for Obama on Afghan war

Gordon M. Goldstein
Special to CNN

As a candidate and president, Barack Obama has distinguished himself as one of the most dynamic and enthralling orators in decades of American politics.

On issues ranging from race to health care to engagement with the Muslim world, he has repeatedly applied his rare gifts to both galvanize supporters and engage his critics and the undecided. Yet it will take more than an eloquent speech before the cadets of West Point to reverse his declining 35 percent approval rating for management of the war in Afghanistan, as his advisers no doubt hope.

Like President Lyndon Johnson in 1965, who tried to balance the demands of his nascent Vietnam policy with a highly ambitious domestic agenda, President Obama confronts a tough series of tests, beginning with his Tuesday night address.

Even more critical than moving the political needle, however, is the imperative of launching a frontal assault on the unanswered strategic questions about Afghanistan that continue to divide the military, his senior counselors and the country at large.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • President Barack Obama
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Joanne P.

    Has the President and everyone forgotten, that these numbers are those of living, breathing human beings? Having a 17 year old in the house makes me wonder...will they draft him? Will this seemingly well-considered gradual addition of military support , "war game", result in more lost loved ones, broken families because the Middle East differs in culture and their theory of justice and sense of humanity differs to greatly from ours?

    911 was horrific; however, how many more Americans have lost their lives, lost limbs, left widows since we declared war

    Why are we there at all?

    December 1, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  2. Alice, AR

    Do we really think any one person has the answers to all these questions? No One and I mean No One knows how this will all end. I only know one thing. President Bush got us into this war and President Obama and his people are going to have to figure out how we are going to accomplish our goals and get out. That is a tall task!! I would like to see how these critics would do it.

    December 1, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  3. Tim Gibson

    Unless Obama will be speaking to say he is sending in help to wrap it up and bring it all home, not to include further involvement in the region. Gather up our weapons of war and end this war. We await his shout out in earnest.

    December 1, 2009 at 11:18 am |
  4. MARK DEVANE

    Come on Anderson ask the hard question and give us the answer. Where is Cindy Sheehan? She sure made a good show against George Bush, but no one is rallying her to go camp outside the WH in protest. You should go and ask her why?

    December 1, 2009 at 11:12 am |