One of the important challenges of President Obama’s administration is to sell the continuation of our “overseas contingency operation” (or perhaps FATAVE) in Afghanistan to an increasingly disenchanted audience at home and abroad. But there is a worrisome absence of a good narrative–a coherent collection of stories–about why we are there and what we hope to accomplish.
In recent press conferences and briefings, President Obama and Secretary of Defense Gates have maintained a consistent posture of support for a continued U.S. military presence, despite polls showing a growing lack of popularity for that posture. In a recent (September 22. 2009) Pew Research Center poll, the results were striking: