The Afghanistan decision
The big speech is later today, but most analysts seem to expect an increase in the number of troops, some changes in strategy, and a renewed commitment to actually win, not just fight to a standstill. Many of Obama's supporters are very unhappy about this. I have not seen anyone propose a specific alternative plan which would have a better chance of achieving the desired results. (Persuading ourselves that things would be OK if the Taliban regained control doesn't qualify. Reality doesn't go away just because we decide it's too hard to deal with and convince ourselves it's not real.)
In marked contrast to Bush, who made important decisions based on gut feeling and notoriously ignored experts, Obama has not only listened to his advisers, but has held meeting after meeting, demanding more and more information. He's done the hard work of understanding Afghanistan's complexities, rather than doing the lazy thing and declaring it an incomprehensible quagmire. He has, at least, the most thorough and accurate picture of the real situation on the ground that's humanly possible.
I doubt that whatever option he's chosen is what most of us would describe as "good". There aren't really any good options. But there are options which are less bad than others.
The administration's more intelligent approach is already bearing fruit. Part of the reason the Taliban have been so difficult to defeat is that they can retreat to the "tribal areas" of Pakistan, near the Afghan border, which have for years been under Taliban rule rather than that of the Pakistani government. Recently Pakistan finally launched a serious military effort to reassert control over one of those areas, South Waziristan, and has had considerable success; the subsequent wave of terrorist attacks throughout Pakistan suggests that the Taliban feel seriously threatened by the move. While the government's lunge into South Waziristan was partly in response to Taliban efforts to expand their rule into more of Pakistan, I suspect that pressure from the US also played a role. We'll find out when we see whether the campaign moves beyond South Waziristan into other tribal areas. If it does, the Taliban in Afghanistan will lose an important advantage.
Afghanistan is one of the toughest problems facing Obama. If his approach fails, there will be plenty of time to criticize then. He deserves the chance to succeed.