Sunday, July 20, 2008

Doing Afghanistan

So endeth Day One. Barack Obama did Afghanistan yesterday, where more Americans are now dying than in Iraq--a photo op with President Hamid Karzai, bacon and eggs with the troops (hold the grits) and shooting hoops with them.

His comments were low-carb, too. "To see young people like this, who are doing such excellent work with so much dedication and pride, it makes you feel good about the country," he said. "You want to make sure that everybody back home understands how much pride people take in their work here and how much sacrifice people are making. It's outstanding."

If and when he visits the Middle East again as president, the atmosphere won't be as relaxed. If Obama keeps his campaigning word, the emphasis of the war on terror will shift to Afghanistan from Iraq, where Nouri al-Maliki is now waffling on endorsing Obama's withdrawal plan.

Nine US soldiers were killed last week fighting Taliban militants in eastern Afghanistan during the deadliest attack on American troops in Afghanistan in three years.

Obama won't be visiting Pakistan on this trip, but that's where the problem lies, getting the post-Musharraf government to stop tiptoeing around the tribes shielding al Qaeda there. If he can do something about that, Obama would lessen the "sacrifice people are making" of the troops he visited today.

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