I usually agree with Tony Norman's point of view; however, I have to disagree with his Dec. 18 column "Barack Obama vs. The Rock Obama." The main premise was that "the administration is determined to be the opposite of what many of us believed we were voting for."
Let us just take one major example: Afghanistan. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the fight for Western ideals of freedom and liberty has been about Afghanistan. It is unfortunate that we lost the opportunity to re-embrace these Western ideals, and America's moral authority at the time, when the chance presented itself. The lesson is that we were ill-informed and were misled by the theatrics of the Bush administration, which resulted in the distraction of the Iraq war.
The time to decisively win in Afghanistan may not be in the cards now. But if we abandon the Afghan people now, then we fail them and send a message to al-Qaida that they can reband and "re-home" in another safe haven in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Let us not forget that Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan authorized covert aid to the mujahideen "freedom fighters" in Afghanistan. And a decade or so later, out of the chaos of the Soviet-Afghan war, and an Afghan civil war, the mujahideen evolved into the present-day Taliban, which provided safe haven for al-Qaida.
I think the president has made the correct decision in formulating a plan of a temporary buildup, which will give the Afghan people some examples of liberty and safe population centers. Ultimately, it will be up to the Afghan people to fight for their freedoms and liberties.
I feel very confident that President Obama methodically thinks through each issue. That is exactly what I expected, and continue to expect, Mr. Obama to do.