Obama didn’t mention the additional number of U.S. troops -- 17,000 -- that he has just ordered to Afghanistan. But his pledge that he “will notallow terrorists to plot against the American people” and his ringing declaration, “We will not allow it,” came just before this statement: “As we meet here tonight, our men and women in uniform stand watch abroad and more are readying to deploy.”
Get the message? In his first speech to Congress, the new president threw down a 90-month-old gauntlet, reaffirming the notion that committing to war halfway around the world -- in Afghanistan and now in Pakistan too -- will make Americans safer. With drumrolls like that, the mission could outlive all of us.