"General Houston, we've got another letter from Col. Travis. He's still asking for more troops. He says he can hold if he gets some reinforcements soon. But if not, he isn't sure although he says he will try."
"Where is Travis again?"
"You sent him to San Antonio de Bexar to hold the place against Santa Ana. He's got not much more than a company of Texians with him. He says Crockett showed up with some fellows from Tennessee and Bowie's there, but he's drunk most of the time. Are we going to send help?"
"I thought I could trust Travis not to be whining. He's supposed to be an expert in that area. Doesn't he know I'm the territorial governor and the people don't want me in a war with Mexico? Let's convene my staff and talk about what to do here. We need to have some meetings and be sure we make the right choice. A lot of voices need to be heard. Maybe Travis will stop his belly-aching before we have to commit."
"I don't think so, General. He's got about 180-200 fighters in the old mission there, but Santa Ana has got about three or four thousand just a few days march away. It's going to be a massacre!"
"Naahh, the people will forget about it in a couple of days. And besides, Travis may hold and Santa Ana will get tired."
We know the rest of the story. Travis did hold for a siege, but in the end the Alamo fell and all of the defenders died. A few days later Santa Ana marched onward and at Goliad engaged another force of Texians, this time about 350 led by Colonel James Fannin, a most inept commander who waffled on defense or retreat until his options were lost. He surrendered to Santa Ana who then executed the disarmed troops.
Eventually Houston moved and whether through military skill or incredible luck, he conducted a strategic withdrawal which extended Santa Ana's army further and further from his supply sources until during a mid-day siesta along the San Jacinto River, Houston's forces turned and in a brief skirmish killed more than 750 of Santa Ana's army and wounded another 700 before capturing the general himself.
What is the parable? Travis is McChrystal. Texas is Afghanistan. Santa Ana's army is the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Unfortunately Obama is no Houston. He can do the indecision and waffling part very well, but he apparently can't figure out when the moment will ever be to turn and fight. I wonder if the troops in Afghanistan feel at all like defenders of an Alamo waiting to see if there will be reinforcements arriving before the deguello is played: