Yesterday, two polls found that an increasing majority of Americans feel confident in the Obama administration's ability to keep America safe from terrorism. This trend has developed in the wake of the failed attack by the underwear bomber, as the Administration projected a measured, responsible and determined approach to dealing with the issue, rather than resorting to hysterics.
The last few weeks have highlighted significant obstacles to the Administration's efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Karzai, whose rule is already overshadowed by widespread allegations of corruption and vote-tampering, has encountered new difficulties in working with the Afghan Parliament. The President and his team must maintain focus, holding the Afghan government, and more importantly itself, accountable, creating the conditions for a transition away from a large-scale military presence, and resisting the calls for limitless commitment that Al Qaeda is happy to promote.
On Christmas day, a terrorist came perilously close to successfully staging an attack within the US. The administration has set out to carefully review how this attempt could have taken place, with the President vowing to strengthen the system protecting Americans and to hold his administration accountable for its mistakes. Within a day, conservatives had begun discussing preventive war on Yemen, confidently asserting that Obama's policies had caused the attack, and using the incident for fundraising purposes. For the sake of Americans' security, conservatives should abandon these dangerous tactics, and take up the administration's call for unity in countering the terrorist threat.
Last night, before an audience of cadets at West Point, President Obama brought months of deliberate review to a close by announcing a new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He outlined America’s ultimate goal: “to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.” More importantly, the administration must hold itself accountable, communicating its progress to Congress and the American people, and remaining true to the President’s pledge that “that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.”