I sent this memo to the president this morning:
TO: THE HONORABLE PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA
FROM: FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEBOUTILLIER
RE: CHANGE YOUR SPEECH TONIGHT AT WEST POINT — NOW
Mr. President, I urge you — before you depart this afternoon for West Point — to scrap your speech and the troop escalation the Pentagon and CIA have pressured you to adopt.
Instead, what you should do — to the overwhelming applause of the left, center, and right here in the U.S.A., and the Afghan people, too — is to announce a simple and stunning new American strategy:
“Bring to any American forces stationed in Afghanistan both Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri — dead or alive — and we will then pack up and leave Afghanistan within 60 days.”
That plan, Mr. President, would solve multiple problems:
1. It would decapitate al-Qaida and its ability to threaten us
2. It would give a definitive purpose to our seemingly never-ending mission in Afghanistan
3. It encourages the Afghan people — and maybe some Pakistanis as well — to help us so that we will leave them alone; they will suddenly decide to stop protecting these two mass murderers and instead grab them or give them up to us
4. Politically, here at home, you will be applauded by all sides — instead of being called Bush III.
Do this tonight, Mr. President, at West Point in front of those wonderful young cadets, and you will once again represent hope and change.
However, if you proceed with the surge that White House officials say you are to announce tonight, Afghanistan will bedevil you for the rest of your presidency.
Have the courage to scrap the speech already written — and announce this bold and simple plan: give us bin Laden and al-Zawahiri and we’ll leave for good within 60 days.
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