Dithering, Conniving, or Just Plain Irresponsible?
November 29, -0001
It was important to the writer of 2 Samuel that, in beginning the story of David and Bathsheba, he not-so-subtly imply that David was not where he should have been, and was not doing what kings are supposed to do (11.1). We couldn't say that David was dithering - he seems to have had no problem with letting his troops go off to war while he stayed at home for a little R & R (winter blahs and all that). He may have been conniving - how many times had he been up on that rooftop and observed Bathsheba before? Certainly he turned to conniving after the sin of fornication and being made aware of Bathsheba's pregnancy. His conniving was completely self-centered, and not only did he not care that it would cost another man his life, he planned for it. David's irresponsibility in this matter led to subsequent problems in his family and in the nation. We never sin alone, and we never sin just once.
So what about President Obama and the policy in Afghanistan? Is he simply dithering, unable to make a decision whether or not to continue the policy he inaugurated in March, to suppress the insurgency and protect the Afghan people from the Taliban? NPR's Scott Simon seemed to think so in a rare commentary on Saturday morning. Perhaps he is conniving? Trying to figure out the best way to save face, secure his liberal base, and still manage to make himself look like the hero of Afghanistan? Or maybe he's just irresponsible, incapable of making the right decision due to pressure from his Vice-President (who favors a Donald Rumsfeld approach), concern for his soldiers on the ground, inability to guage the long-term viability of democracy in Afghanistan, or uncertainty about the real direction of American political winds?
This much is certain: Mr. Obama is not acting like a commander-in-chief. When the general whom he has entrusted with leading the effort in Afghanistan pleads for more soldiers and promises that all is lost if we don't act now, it seems irresponsible to me for the President to strike the pose of a contemplative trying to determine if his military leader on the ground knows better than he and whoever he needs to consult about the proper course. It's time for the President to make a determination on what the future of America's involvement in Afghanistan will be, but he has made his decision all the more difficult by insisting that this is the right war and we should stay in it for the win. Whether we agree with the President or not, now is not the time for him to be strolling around the balconies of the White House. Either he needs to go out to battle for victory or tell the nation the whole thing has been a terrible mistake, apologize to the loved ones of those lost and wounded in combat (he has some experience at apologizing), and get the heck out of that woeful semi-nation. Pray for the President. Pray especially that perhaps this will be the situation that drives him to seek the Lord concerning His will for the nation, and for the President's approach to governance.
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