September 30th, 2009
03:31 PM ET
5 years ago

Borger: Obama's is only vote on Afghan war

Gloria Borger says President Obama faces a political problem of his own making on Afghanistan.
Gloria Borger says President Obama faces a political problem of his own making on Afghanistan.

(CNN) – Sometimes, even in Washington, there's no way around a central truth: that in governing, there are moments when real, tough decisions must be made. No waffling. None of the usual "on the one hand, on the other hand." No hiding behind the votes cast by others.

There is one vote, and it belongs to the president.

It was that way with George W. Bush in December 2006, when, after conferring for three months with his generals and his Cabinet - not to mention the advice offered by the pooh-bahs in the Iraq Study Group - he decided on a surge strategy in Iraq. It was not a plan highly touted by many of his advisers, but by January, Bush told the nation "America will change our strategy ... [and] this will require increasing American force levels."

As it turns out, the surge worked.

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Iraq • President Obama
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Enough

    "Present" will not cut it. Obama needs to start making the tough decisions, lives are on the line. The buck stops with him.

    September 30, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    And we are all wondering what the man without a spine, moral conscience will do. Would it involve supporting our troops in anything but a campaign speech?

    September 30, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  3. single mom

    That means Obama can't vote present.

    September 30, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  4. Tim

    The difference is, Obama will throw in something about inheriting the situation, and will also make sure that he says he has relied on the advice of others.

    Bush, on the other hand, showed leadership by stating it was his decision.

    September 30, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Carlos

    The cat has no clue and talk is cheap on the campaign tour, now he's stumbling and bumbling and looking like a fool.

    September 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. victim of republican greed

    Since Bush's plan, or lack thereof, had so many holes in it, you couldn't fix it with duct tape. I am confident that Obama will make the correct choice.

    September 30, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Chris D.

    I trust President obama on his decisions.

    September 30, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Jay T.

    America is like a big, dumb puppy. I think Johnny Depp said that, and though I hate it when celebrities make such comments from their private islands, I'd have to agree with that one.

    September 30, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Limbaugh is a liberal

    You know if back in 2001-2002 we committed enough resources to Afghanistan we could have completely eliminated the Taliban by now. What did Bush Jr. do instead? He withdrew most of the troops and wasted them in Iraq instead. This gave the Taliban and Al Quaida a very comfortable 7 years to easily relocate to Pakistan, rebuild, and strengthen. Thank you Bush! You really won this for us...

    September 30, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  10. GuyInVA

    That's right. Sometimes tough decisions must be made. SO MAKE ONE ALREADY!

    September 30, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. Bob from Pittsburgh

    Extremely hard to win the war in Afganistan.. Bush had his chance, and is not coming back..

    Declare victory and get back over here..

    September 30, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Melissa

    Yes, and the President likes to have all the information before he makes a decision. He's already waffling on it, weighing the pro's and con's. You know this. So why bother to bring it up? We all know that its his decision, so what. He'll make a choice when he makes a choice, and not when you want him to.

    September 30, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Leftie

    Interesting that this story points out that Bushie took 3 months to make a decision about the surge in Iraq and yet the neo-con-nit-wits are all yammering for President Obama to make a decision about Afghanistan yesterday!

    September 30, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  14. Mississippi Miss

    When he FINALLY speaks to this issue, I will break my own resolution to avoid looking at him, and watch his speech with anticipation ( and a
    knot in my stomach) I am desperately seeking one good thing from this egotistical President (yes he is my President, but I can't help it).

    If he leads on this in a way that ensures America's victory... then I will
    applaud to my television set ( as a way of apologizing to it for all the times I have been cursing it lately).

    September 30, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Gary

    The taliban oppresses women, gays and non-muslims. They produce half of the world's illegal opium supply. They support Al Queada. They also undermine what little stability Pakistan has. We need to win in Afghanistan and President Obama needs to support this effort or resign.

    September 30, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Martin Sonopel

    Please note in the accompanying photo, Obama is not one of the persons standing on the equipment. Obama considers the lives of military people to be just his equipment.

    September 30, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. An Ex-NC-Pub

    Borger, you have NO CLUE!

    September 30, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. S Callahan

    We're praying for you President Obama.

    September 30, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Sam Sixpack

    Obama needs to dangle your kids in front of the Taliban just a little while longer – just long enough to finish tricking the gullible into voting for the health care "reform" scam. He knew you'd understand.

    September 30, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. kate

    Either way, Obama loses on this one. Welcome to the tough job of being President.

    September 30, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Haas

    I agree that Pres. Obama needs to make a decision and not put it on the shoulders of congress. They're not fit to make these kinds of decisions anyway.

    September 30, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Bush_Low_I.Q.

    Rush Limbaugh is an Anti-Obama and Anti-Democrats Propagandist.

    Wrong, Illogical and Imprudent Propaganda can be very harmful for the Person who spreads Propaganda, than any Advantage or Benefit.

    Whatever Rush Speaks is Absolutely Insane and Lunatic. His criticism of Obama is like “Kindergarten Name-Calling”.

    Rush Limbaugh is an Illiterate and an Uneducated person. GOP is using him as their Spokes Person.

    There is an old saying, “A Foolish and Idiot Friend is more Dangerous than an Intelligent Enemy”.

    GOP does not realize, the more Rush Limbaugh speaks, the more People Hate GOP.

    It is like, Rush is destroying GOP. Good Luck Rush and Good Luck GOP. :P

    September 30, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. MZ

    If Obama chooses to listen to Nancy Pelosi and NOT defend our country and SURRENDERS to our enemies, HE should really consider gettind a DIFFERENT JOB !!!!

    September 30, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  24. Mike Syracuse, NY

    Let's not pick on Obama too much. It's hard to actually make a yes or no decision without saying yes or no. Maybe he should appoint a decision czar.

    September 30, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  25. victim of republican greed

    The man without a brain is no longer making decisions, as he has retired to Dallas.

    September 30, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
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