Afghanistan: To Be or Not to Be

President Obama has been equivocating on what action to take in Afghanistan for over a month now. His original policy, which he announced to great fanfare over six months ago, seemed bold and straightforward enough. BBC News reported on the new policy announcement back in March of this year:

“We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the US, our friends and our allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists,” said Mr Obama. “The safety of people around the world is at stake.”

This seemed consistent with what he has been saying for several years. In August of 2007 in a speech at the Wilson Center, then-Senator Obama said the following:

“When I am President, we will wage the war that has to be won… Above all, I will send a clear message: we will not repeat the mistake of the past, when we turned our back on Afghanistan following Soviet withdrawal. As 9/11 showed us, the security of Afghanistan and America is shared.”

And yet, and yet… Just last month the President, during his foray into Sunday morning television, signaled that he’s beginning to waffle:

“We are in the process of working through that strategy.  The first question is . . . are we pursuing the right strategy?”

The problem is that the President, by his indecision, is endangering our troops who are already massively imperiled. He is signaling to our enemies that America is irresolute and weak. The loss of American lives in Afghanistan in October alone tells us that the Taliban is getting stronger, emboldened by our lack of leadership.

President Obama, it’s time to decide. Are we going to be victorious in Afghanistan? If so, give Gen. McChrystal the 40,000 troops and whatever else he requests, and allow our military to get the job done.

If you’re not going to do that, then bring all our troops home now. Don’t nickel and dime our troops to death. Get them out of harm’s way immediately and let Afghanistan go back to being run by gangs of murderous medieval thugs. Allow it to become again a breeding ground and haven for terrorists who may already be planning another wave of 9/11 attacks on us and others.

Abandon our efforts there, and in 2013, if another attack comes, President Palin or President Giuliani or President Jindal (and make no mistake, if you abandon Afghanistan, you will not be re-elected) will once again take this fight to the enemy, and then we will win.

And you’ll be history.



3 Responses to Afghanistan: To Be or Not to Be

  1. Doug says:

    What does victory mean to the Administration? I have suspicions but no clear idea. Is Beck right?

    If the Glenn Beck theory is correct, that we are in a time of transition to Marxist Socialism fomented by the Obama White House, then victory in Afghanistan might mean saving resources for other efforts that will be needed.

    If the administration needs to placate their base, maybe victory means anything that W would not do.

    One thing is nearly certain. If President Obama was saying what he meant and meaning what he said, those 65,000 troops would already be on the ground and the taliban would be crying to the U.N. or the E.U. suing for peace, begging for relief.

    Whatever the goal of the current administration is, the stated one of winning the war seems a remote probability.

  2. LostSailor says:

    What does “victory” in Afghanistan mean, period?

    Is it the creation of a stable, peaceful, friendly nation? Does it mean destruction of the Taliban? Does it mean destruction of Al Qaeda? Does it mean complete conquest and occupation of the country?

    If the Obama administration is taking time to craft strategic measures, including troop deployments, that will meet a well-defined goal before just throwing 40,000 or 60,000 more soldiers at the country to placate those who just want something done, it’s well past time.

    We can’t build a stable, peaceful, friendly country in Afghanistan. It may not be possible at all, but if it is, then the Afghanis are the only ones who can do it. If that’s the goal, then a policy of providing security to allow them the chance is not the same as a policy for warfighting.

    As odious as the Taliban are, the are not, strictly speaking, our enemy (though they may be the enemy of the Afghanis). Yes, they supported Al Qaeda, and we overthrew them.

    Let’s be clear: we’re not fighting a “war on terror” (how do you militarily attack an emotion?) nor are we fighting a “war on terrorism” (it’s a tactic): we are fighting a “war” on terrorists. Specifically, terrorists like Al Qaeda that want to kill us.

    And Al Qaeda isn’t in Afghanistan.

    The lesson of history is that you can’t “win” a war in Afghanistan. We are seen as invaders and occupiers and supporters of a corrupt government by large portions of the population there.

    So, please, elucidate the strategic goals that can be militarily met by adding 40,000; 60,000; 100,000 or more troops to Afghanistan. Pious chest-thumping may make for resounding rhetoric, but it makes for crappy military policy that tend to get (other) people killed.

  3. Tony Shelton says:

    The first Gulf War in 1991 gave me some hope that the United States had learned from the Vietnam experience that the civilian administration has no place in the planning and conduct of military operations. LBJ micro-managed Vietnam and it was a total shambles. For Desert Storm, the national objectives were clearly stated and the military forces were allowed to do whatever was necessary to achieve those objectives. Unfortunately, it appears that we are reverting to allowing the administration to dictate strategy. The use of military force is only effective when that force is presented with a clear objective, then allowed to do what it does best. Our generals have spent their entire lives learning to plan and conduct military operations. The civilian administration MIGHT have spent a couple of years in the Boy Scouts!

    That being said, we as a country need to STOP attempting to shove our system of government down the throats of every country in the world! The American Democracy works for us because freedom and liberty meant enough to our founding fathers that they were willing to fight and die to achieve it and the subsequent generations have molded it to fit our particular circumstances. American Democracy is a living, breathing entity that is constantly growing and evolving. Each country or indigenous group of people have to find their own way and we should not have the arrogance to think that our way is best for everybody. Freedom cannot be gifted – it must be won!

    The other thing that we need to pay attention to is history. The Afghans have NEVER been conquered by an outside force! From Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union – every attempt has failed. They are a proud and honorable people and we should respect that and allow them to live as THEY choose. albeit with the understanding that we will find and kill the terrorist elements, regardless of where they are.

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