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Restore the Wetlands. Reinforce the Levees.

Harm’s Way, or, A Surge of His Own?


Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

The ceremony at Fort Hood yesterday was beautiful, and heart-breaking. The pain was all too real, and the president’s speech was sincere, somber, respectful, and probably healing.

But . . . could the ceremony have been designed in part as a warm-up, a stirring of our patriotism before the president announces yet another large increase of troops to Afghanistan? It may seem cynical to ask such a question—even heretical on Veterans’ Day of all days—but we know that this White House’s strategists and media team are skillful in their use of theatrical settings to match the president’s eloquence (nothing necessarily wrong with that). Obama’s words will unite us, make us feel better, and then he’ll announce a surge of his own. Or will he?

Just days after the horrifying massacre at Fort Hood by Nidal Malik Hasan, an army psychiatrist “mortified” about being deployed to Afghanistan, it has been leaked (and denied) that the White House plans to increase U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan by some 35,000 to 40,000. Once this deployment is fulfilled, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, now about 68,000 (more than double the number when Bush left office), would be about 110,000.

But for now, on this Veterans’ Day, no more commentary, but prayers for healing of the wounded, for repose of the souls of the many, many dead, and peace and healing for the families and friends of the casualties of war. And, always, prayers for peace—and for the enduring strength and determination to work for peace.

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