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The meaning of Dover: Afghanistan is Obama’s war now

Here’s a picture that you never saw during the Bush Administration: The commander-in-chief at Dover Air Force base, solemnly welcoming home America’s fallen dead.

I’m certain that some folks on the right will pooh-pooh President Obama’s trip to Dover as making it “all about him.” (Though reaction at The Corner is surprisingly restrained.)

To me, this is the biggest signal that Obama understands — whatever his cherished domestic priorities — that he is a war president, like it or not. Allowing himself to be photographed with a flag-draped coffin shows that he understands that he is accountable for the results of that war: Not just to the American public, but to every family that sacrifices a son or daughter because of the president’s decision to continue to commit troops to battle. And that, in turn, signals that he won’t make his war decisions based on how well it’s polling, but with the safety of Americans — at home and abroad — in mind.

At least, that’s what I hope. It could be that the president doubles down in Afghanistan, and while I think that would be a mistake, I have renewed confidence that he understands the stakes.

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