U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe isn’t usually thought of as an optimistic kind of politician. He doesn’t exude optimism like some elected leaders.

But Mr. Inhofe, R-Tulsa, sounded somewhat optimistic when talking about the military this past week. He spoke to a room full of business leaders at the Norman Chamber of Commerce.

He said things were improving overseas. As evidence of better times, he said the retention rate for the military is higher than it has ever been.

He raised two concerns that seem to be fair. The first was involving Oklahoma Guardsmen training in Mississippi. Just weeks before their scheduled deployment to Afghanistan, the mission was changed for many of them. They were now headed to Kuwait, instead of Afghanistan.

The second involves talk of a planned pullout from Afghanistan. He said any signal of a timeline for pulling out works in the Taliban’s favor.

“In the Middle East, they think in terms of years,” Inhofe said. “They will wait you out.”

President Obama has promised to withdraw more than 30,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer. He faced criticism from his own Democratic party for acting too slowly in ending the war.

A timeline or a pledge to remove troops by a certain date may be politically popular, but it doesn’t help those soldiers already there. They face a heavy burden and increased risk in some areas of the country.

— Norman Transcript