The President's Speech
President Trump addressed the nation last night from Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia. His remarks about winning the war in Afghanistan were measured and his tone was presidential.
Trump has appeared numerous times before military audiences, and the troops are always boisterous in their support. But last night, they clearly had been told that this was a serious, solemn address. And it was.
Not only do reports indicate that the president is considering sending 4,000 to 5,000 more troops to Afghanistan, but Trump began by calling for national unity.
Here are some excerpts of the president's remarks:
"By following the heroic example of those who fought to preserve our republic, we can find the inspiration our country needs to unify, to heal, and to remain one nation under God. The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission, and one shared sense of purpose.
"They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together -- and sacrifice together -- in absolutely perfect cohesion. . . They're all part of the same family; it's called the American family. . .
"Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people. When we open our hearts to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice. . . The young men and women we send to fight our wars abroad deserve to return to a country that is not at war with itself at home. We cannot remain a force for peace in the world if we are not at peace with each other."
I strongly agree with Laura Ingraham, who observed this morning that Trump needs to give more of those kinds of speeches on a variety of topics, such as why the American people are overtaxed, racial reconciliation and the need to secure our borders. And with politicians in Congress unable to agree on an alternative, even Obamacare offers the president a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the leadership we saw last night.
The president's critics say that Donald Trump can never admit a mistake. Well, last night he candidly said that before he took office his instincts told him to pull out of Afghanistan. But after sitting in the Oval Office, studying the issue and receiving the advice of his generals, he changed his mind. Rather than withdrawing from Afghanistan, the president said this:
"First, our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the tremendous sacrifices that have been made. . . The men and women who serve our nation in combat deserve a plan for victory. . .
"A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill. . . We cannot repeat in Afghanistan the mistake our leaders made in Iraq."
There are major differences between what Trump announced last night and the policy Obama pursued. At its peak, Obama had roughly 100,000 men in Afghanistan and 100,000 handcuffs to prevent them from doing what they are trained to do -- to fight and to win. Trump will have only a fraction of that force, but he made it clear that they are going after the enemy.
Obama infamously ordered a surge into Afghanistan and also announced the date when the surge would be drawn down. Trump refused to do that, adding that results on the ground would determine when we are finished. He also made it clear that he would not tolerate continued duplicity from Pakistan, which has given terrorists a safe haven.
President Trump said that we will work with India, the world's largest democracy, toward the goal of India assuming more responsibility for its own "backyard." And he insisted that our NATO allies contribute more to the war effort.
Perhaps most importantly, the president abandoned the idea that America's military should be deployed for nation-building, saying, "We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists."
Nation-building is not difficult when there is a Western tradition of self-government, liberty and dissent. But we are not going to turn an Islamic culture with the second-lowest literacy rate into a thriving republic. It is unfair to ask our warriors to do that.
The USS John S. McCain, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, collided Monday with an oil tanker near the Strait of Malacca. The ship suffered "significant damage" and ten sailors are missing. It was the second collision in two months, and the fourth such collision involving a U.S. Navy ship this year.
This disturbing news has spurred a debate over what is causing this spate of collisions. Possible explanations are bad or worse. One is that under Obama's eight years of political promotions and sensitivity training over seamanship, we have failed our young men and women in the Navy by not giving them adequate training. That's the bad explanation.
The worse explanation is that the large numbers of hacks and data breaches that repeatedly occurred during the Obama years may have enabled someone -- China, Russia, North Korea -- to manipulate GPS signals or onboard navigation systems. While the Navy denies this possibility, there are reasons to be concerned. So-called "spoofing" incidents have been detected in the Black Sea.
The Left's War On Cops
Over the weekend, tens of thousands of left-wing protestors effectively shut down a "free speech" rally in Boston. There certainly was plenty of bigotry on display . . . from the left.
Antifa produced a poster identifying symbols used by the "fascists" allegedly attending the rally. Antifa urged its members to "Learn to identify these symbols and let anyone displaying them know that they are not welcome in our city!"
Among the symbols included in the Antifa poster was the "Thin Blue Line," which the group identified as a "Pro Police symbol."
Whether it is the family, the church or the police, the left is attacking the very institutions of society that maintain stability and order. Just like the chant, "Cops and Klan go hand in hand," this poster amounts to incitement against the men and women of law enforcement.
Antifa and its ilk are not interested in pulling down Confederate monuments. They want to tear down America.
Kudos to Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz who condemned these so-called "progressives." Dershowitz said that "people on the hard left, who are themselves engaged in violence and also some bigotry of their own" should not get "a pass."
I agree completely. So I will ask again: Where are the responsible liberal leaders and journalists calling out these radical groups?