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Maybe Dick Cheney was too harsh last week when he accused President Obama of "dithering" over his Afghanistan strategy, but U.S. indecision in the face increasing violence is lending credence to the former veep's charge and heaping pressure on the administration to act.
Obama is being pressed to mount an Iraq-style troop surge, but seems to be waiting until the Nov. 7 election run-off to make his move. In the meantime, violence on the ground is painting an ever-more chaotic picture of the war-ravaged nation, and daily diplomatic developments continue to ratchet up the pressure on Obama to act.
The Obama team recognizes the political peril created by the Afghanistan situation. On Wednesday evening, the president flew to Dover Air Force Base to meet families of troops slain this week. It was the right thing to do, but it also put the spotlight on the human sacrifice America is making in Afghanistan. Such reflection gives rise to new questions. Americans will want to know why soldiers are dying in what Obama has called a "war of necessity," and they will want to know that we have a sound strategy for winning -- and exiting.
If President Obama doesn't make a decision soon on Afghanistan -- stay, go, stay with more troops or stay with less -- the paralysis of analysis will spark a brushfire of anger and frustration from all political corners.
He wants to hold out until the election runoff is decided.
He may not have that much time.