Hamid Karzai Speaks Movingly to U.S. Troops

The military released photos of President Karzai's visit to Fort Campbell, Ky. today, his last stop before heading back to Afghanistan. That's all you'll see because the White House decreed that there would be no media coverage and that speaks volumes about the level of trust the Obama Administration has in him. Karzai was meeting with members of the 101st Airborne who are on their way to Afghanistan for the make or break operation to force the Taliban out of Kandahar, and the White House was not confident enough of what Karzai would say to the troops or what they would say to him to allow coverage. As it turned out, officers who were there say the troops cheered wildly and Karzai spoke movingly.

The last four days have been devoted to showing the world that Presidents Obama and Karzai are true allies in the war against the Taliban - and you would have to say the effort succeeded. But the visit was also designed to serve as a tutorial for Karzai on how to be commander in chief of a country at war. You visit the wounded - as he did at Walter Reed on Tuesday - you honor the dead - as he did on Thursday at Arlington - and you meet the troops - as he did today at Fort Campbell. It will be a while before we know whether he learned anything, but he's said all the right things about how deeply moved he is by the sacrifices Americans are making for his country. At the very least, it seems to have gone over better than previous lectures about corruption and governance delivered to him by Vice President Biden and special envoy Richard Holbrooke, who only succeeded in antagonizing him and goading him into making statements about joining the Taliban.

Flash Points: Karzai's Stateside Visit Obama and Karzai Mending Fences
  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.