Even more than healthcare, the war in Afghanistan will decide whether Barack Obama succeeds or fails. On Tuesday night, in a speech at the West Point military academy broadcast across the country, Mr Obama will lay out his plans.
Mr Obama already owns this “necessary” war, as he has called it, contrasting this battle with his predecessor’s supposedly needless war in Iraq. But Tuesday’s speech will expunge the last particle of doubt on that score. He is expected to commit upwards of 30,000 more US troops to the mission.
Added to the 21,000 extra soldiers he has already assigned, plus support forces, this increase would roughly treble the Bush administration’s commitment. Last week, again to mark the contrast with the previous administration, Mr Obama promised to “finish the job”. Muscular talk, and making the announcement at West Point underscores it. If health reform goes wrong, there will be others to blame. If this war goes wrong, it will be all his fault. It is Mr Obama’s biggest bet by far.
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