"We're Here For You." Not.

Last night I heard on NPR this clip from the President's remarks at Arlington Cemetery yesterday.
when your tour ends, when you see our flag, when you touch our soil, you will be home in an America that is forever here for you just as you've been there for us.
I thought to myself: "we're here for you?" The sophomores are at it again." Bill Clinton never said, "I feel your pain" in a formal speech.

The entire speech isn't so bad, so maybe it's more a reflection on NPR that its reporter thought that was the best line. The speech is highly self-referential --not about the President himself this time, but it's about our suffering: the nation's suffering, the soldiers' suffering, their families' suffering, how good it will be when everyone is at home and at peace. Nothing to disagree with in what was said, but there is not one line which is ennobling, either. It reads flat and condescending: "Oh, you poor lads," as if the vets are "them" and not "us."

People are noticing more and more that Mr. Obama comes off cold and uncaring, but I had resolved not to make a cheap snarky remark about the speech. We have to accept a man's limitations for what they are. It makes no more sense to hate a cold man for not appearing warm than it made sense to hate an inarticulate man for not being eloquent. "Down, Girl," I thought.

Until I saw this story. in Wednesday's pivotal war council meeting,
Obama wasn't satisfied with any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, one official said.

The president instead pushed for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government. In turn, that could change the dynamic of both how many additional troops are sent to Afghanistan and what the timeline would be for their presence in the war zone, according to the official.

Military officials said Obama has asked for a rewrite before and resisted what one official called a one-way highway toward commander McChrystal's recommendations for more troops. The sense that he was being rushed and railroaded has stiffened Obama's resolve to seek information and options beyond military planning, officials said, though a substantial troop increase is still likely.

The man is dithering, and our troops in Afghanistan have just suffered their highest casualties since the war began. That is not "being there for them." Seems to me he knows what he wants to do: let him just do it and not talk about it endlessly.

Everyone mocked W for saying the President was "the decider." Yet even Bill Clinton knows that is pretty much right.

You know the second President Bush got made fun of for saying that the President was basically the Decider in Chief. Everybody thought that was funny. But it's not, it's true.

Update: a military man writes in to the Corner:

I have been in the military while a president dithered or failed to make a tough decision, it is eviscerating, and a rot settles in. “Commander in Chief” is not just a fancy title. The president is the ultimate officer and like any poor officer his failure to make tough decisions is seen as a weakness by his NCOs and men. Morale, that most fragile base of any good military unit suffers immediately. When our officers are fearful and indecisive, we become fearful and indecisive.

NCOs find reasons not to patrol or to avoid high-risk areas, Convoys are diverted to avoid possible confrontation, our allies desert us and the advantage is ceded to the enemy.And this happen quickly, weeks are all that’s left to keep the advantage in Afghanistan. After a certain point in time “mission weariness” begins to settle in and the edge is lost ... and almost impossible to regain.

Having someone's back does not primarily mean hugging him when it's over, Mr. President.

Update: Mr. W. takes a darker view in comments.
O's "dithering" is calculated, has nothing to do with being undecided. He INTENDS the situation to deteriorate...he has decided that he wants NOT to send troops and hopes his time-wasting will push the cost too high for most Americans to tolerate sending more of our forces "to die in vain for a corrupt government." This is deeply disgraceful, not to mention dangerous in the extreme. Let's not say he wants his country to lose this war...let's just ask IF he wanted to lose, how would he behave differently?
Over at American Digest, broad agreement.

There are two benefits to Obama’s decision not to decide in Afghanistan:

1) It increases the instability of Pakistan and makes the likelihood of a radical Muslim coup in that country greater. This would, in one day, bring the control of nuclear weapons into radical Muslim hands. No waiting for Iran to get its act together. It also means that a vast sector of the world, from India to England falls under the spectre of a nuclear holocaust on a hair trigger. If you believe that great creation arises from great destruction, this is to your benefit.
2) It lowers the morale and effectiveness of the US military from the Joint Chiefs of Staff down to Private Grunt on patrol in Kandahar. Since the ultimate check to a politician’s power is always found in the military, anything that decreases that element is always to the politician’s benefit. If you can reduce the budget for the military at the same time you increase its responsibilities, so much the better.
None of this makes much sense if your goal is the improvement of the nation you are sworn to protect and defend. If, however, your goal is to enter history at the level of an Alexander or a Caesar deciding not to decide is a decision you will implement for as long as possible.
In light of which thoughts, the Veterans' Day speech linked above seems positively ominous. No wonder the emphasis on Viet Nam.
If we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that there have been times where we as a nation have betrayed that sacred trust. Our Vietnam veterans served with great honor. They often came home greeted not with gratitude or support, but with condemnation and neglect. That's something that will never happen again. To them and to all who have served, in every battle, in every war, we say that it's never too late to say thank you. We honor your service. We are forever grateful. And just as you have not forgotten your missing comrades, neither, ever, will we. Our servicemen and women have been doing right by America for generations. And as long as I am Commander-in-Chief, America's going to do right by them.
It's like an announcement: you're going to be our new Viet Nam vets, but we won't spit on you this time.