Bin Laden Dead: Curb Your Enthusiasm

May 2, 2011

On the surface, the news is what we’ve all been waiting to hear for nearly 10 years: Osama bin Laden, the founder of the jihadist terror organization al-Qaeda and the monster behind numerous terrorist attacks, including the 9/11 attack on the US is dead.

All devout Americans celebrate his departure from this light and his descending directly into the bowels of hell.  Michelle Malkin has done her usual stellar job in listing some of bin Laden’s most dastardly deeds, in addition to 9/11. No person with a soul will miss the vicious bastard.

But before we declare today a national holiday, let’s take stock in some additional points that should be taken into consideration:

  • In a report from About.com, as of last week-end, 4683 American soldiers have died in the combined conflagrations in Iraq and Afghanistan since the launch of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) on October 7, 2001 and Operation Iraqi Freedom (beginning with the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003).  This does not take into consideration the number of deaths to coalition soldiers from other countries fighting in support of US Troops.
  • According to a March 29th report from the Congressional Research Service, Congress has approved a total of $1.283 trillion for military operations, base security, reconstruction, foreign aid, embassy costs, and veterans’ health care for the three operations initiated since the 9/11 attacks: Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) Afghanistan and other counter terror operations; Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), providing enhanced security at military bases; and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). This estimate assumes that the current CR level continues through the rest of the year and that agencies allocate reductions proportionately.

Looking at the above, bin Laden’s death comes with a mighty high price tag. But it shows the world, that the United States will not shrink away from a fight when we’ve been attacked. And whether it’s Afghanistan, Pakistan or Any-other-stan, you can’t hide indefinitely.

With the completion of the bin Laden mission, many will deem it time for American troops to leave the region. However, former President Bush added to the agenda as we moved forward. That goal was to establish a democracy in the middle-east region in hopes of creating some level of stability the region. Whether this was his Achilles heel, an idiot’s folly or a shrewd move will be debated for years. The bottom line is American troops are still there and will most likely still be in harm’s way in the middle east for years to come.

The Bottom Line:

When America was attacked at Pearl Harbor on December 7th 1941, most of the Japanese celebrated their victorious moment. Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto was the only one who saw the bigger, more ominous picture as he (reportedly) said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

Osama bin Laden has now learned the meaning of the term “Terrible Resolve.”  However, we would be fools if we didn’t acknowledge that Muslim extremists are also filled with a terrible resolve now that bin Laden is dead. It would not surprise me if the word goes out from whoever no leads al-Qaeda, to seek revenge on the United States for bin Laden’s death. And the options they could possibly have in their possession already  include dirty bombs, nuclear weapons and who knows what kind of chemical poisons. Perhaps worse, given the porous American border (thank you Congress, Presidents Bush and Obama), these weapons could already be in place in numerous locations around the United States… perhaps even in your town or city.

Now, more than ever,  we need a true leader in the White House, one with the kind of experience and ability to make the right decisions in a timely manner. If President Obama was ever looking for the chance to prove his leadership capabilities, that opportunity now lies at his feet.

I’m glad the monster (bin Laden) is dead. But we’re a long way from being safe, my friends.

Gerry Ashley

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Why Obama Needs To Keep McChrystal

June 22, 2010

Or Will America Turn To A “General Contractor” In 2012?

Gen. McChrystal

Something tells me that when General Stanley McChrystal (the top U.S. General on the Afghanistan war) arrives at the White House to meet with President Obama today, he will not be offered a beer in the  Rose Garden. There will be no warm and fuzzy “teaching moment.”

What there will be is attitude, ego, and bluster. Probably a few profanities, possibly an obscene gesture or two (depending on whether or not Joe Biden is allowed to attend).

This, of course, stems from General Hoof-In-Mouth’s comments to a free-lance journalist writing an article to be published in Rolling Stone this coming Friday in which he refers to “The wimps in the White House,” alluding to some of Obama’s aides. He referred to Joe Biden as “Joe Bite-me” and made other similar disparaging comments about other White House staff members as well as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, Gen. Karl Eikenberry.

This isn’t the first time Obama has called McChrystal on the carpet. In October of last year, Obama went head-to-head with McChrystal over a similar incident where McChrystal wasn’t able to keep his thoughts to himself. At that time, our own Stoutcat pondered whether Obama would force McChrystal out. Ultimately he did not, and it’s to the benefit of every soldier in Afghanistan that he didn’t.

But will Obama fire McChrystal this time?  Not if  he’s smart.

In the Fox Forum today, James P. Pinkerton writes:

My guess is that McChrystal will survive in his post. The words attributed to him and his team in Rolling Stone–he felt “betrayed” by the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan; James Jones, the national security adviser, is a “clown”; and, perhaps most stark of all, he regarded “the wimps in the White House” as an enemy–were pretty strong, bordering on insubordination, and yet his apology was pretty abject.

And Obama really can’t afford to fire McChrystal in 2010, as Lincoln fired McClellan in 1862, and as Truman fired MacArthur in 1951. If the president does fire McChrystal, his administration will then see an enormous blow-up over Afghanistan policy, with critics on both the hawkish right and the dovish left pounding away at the commander in chief in the muddled middle.

Moreover, Obama might think to himself that if he fires McChrystal, he will be minting a possible new Republican presidential or vice presidential candidate to oppose him in 2012. 

But what about McChrystal? Is he, like General George McClellan in the Civil War, uncontrollable? Is he, like General Douglas MacArthur, so outspoken that he will openly criticize his commander in chief?

President Obama would be wise to keep on General McChrystal and listen to his evaluation of life on the ground in Afghanistan. And McChrystal would do well to learn that sometimes generals should be seen and not heard.

As to Pinkerton’s comment about Obama possibly creating a political opponent for the 2012 election, that’s not a comment to be taken lightly: McClellan ended up running against Lincoln in 1864, and MacArthur tried (unsuccessfully) to get the nomination to run against Truman in 1952. But Truman did eventually see the White House go to another general in 1952: Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Gen. Petraeus

If  history does, in fact, repeat itself, Obama may find himself facing a noble challenger in 2012, but not from McChrystal.  Like Truman, it may be another general that takes the spotlight and wins the hearts of Americans. And that might just be General David Petraeus.

Something to think about… Something very good, indeed.

Gerry Ashley


Obama to Iran: “Hurry Up!”, But Still Waffling On Afghanistan Troop Decision

November 19, 2009

President Obama took his “Do as I say, not as I do” routine to dizzying international heights today, demanding that Iran cease its “foot-dragging” over whether or not to comply with demands to halt development of its nuclear program.

Obama’s warning came after Iran rejected a compromise proposal to ship its low-enriched uranium abroad so that it could not be further enriched to make weapons. Talk of fresh sanctions also showed that Obama is preparing for the next phase should Iran fail to meet his year-end deadline for progress in negotiations.

He made the demand while continuing to drag his own feet on whether or not to provide more troops in Afghanistan, something he’s been mulling over since last summer. Expect B-list “actress” Janeane Garofalo to be a featured guest on Bill Maher’s show soon to remind us, once again that if the world criticizes Mahmood Ahmadinejad for taking his time, it’s righteous indignation. If one criticizes “the chosen one” for dragging his feet, however,  it’s simply a case of racism.  

Meanwhile, American soldiers in Afghanistan are waking up each morning with the knowledge that their government is solidly behind them… oh, who are we kidding?  

Mr. President… Crap or get off the pot!

Gerry Ashley


Obama’s Dilemma: Afghanistan

November 13, 2009


It’s no great secret that President Obama is in hopelessly over his head. The man has never worked a “punch the clock” nine-to-five job in his life. He was just a junior senator when America rapturously tried once again to cleanse itself of its original sin of slavery and ushered him into office. It didn’t hurt that Barack and the MSM had the ultimate villains in the evil George W. Bush and Darth Cheney.

Nope. Forget about an academic who didn’t even know to how to appropriately interact with Prime Minister Gordon Brown; who has thrown the gay movement under the bus; who would associate with virtually anyone (including people like Ayers and Wright) to gain power; who to this day refuses to admit the painfully obvious fact that the surge in Iraq worked; who has turned his back on the Iranians yearning to be free from a government hell bent on destroying both Israel and the U.S. Forget all that and so much more. Because of a weird juxtaposition of left-wing political, media, and social influences, the Chosen One can virtually do no wrong… Except in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is Obama’s dilemma. During his campaign, Barack relentlessly hammered Bush on fighting the “wrong war in Iraq”. He hounded Dubya on his failure to focus on Afghanistan and “get” Osama Bin Laden. As POTUS-to-be he promised to get our troops out of Iraq, and put them where they needed to be — Afghanistan. One tiny problem for President Obama, however: Bush chose his war wisely and from the heart. Captain Teleprompter chose his politically. Whereas GWB picked a bloodthirsty and vicious regime with a track record for WMDs and terrorism but an even older history of a well-educated middle class and a taste for representational government, Obama instead opted for the political anti-Bush – supporting a war with a war-like country whose only real claim to fame is that Somalia is worse.

So here sits Barack Obama… Caught between the Scylla of his politics and rhetoric on the one hand, and the Charybdis of the facts on the other. Faced with the awful truth that while America may wince and look the other way when it comes to racist reverends and moronic comments from Mrs. Obama, we will not turn away from torn American flesh. We’ll fester over ACORN, Van Jones, and Anita Dunn, but what we will not tolerate is politics when it comes to Afghanistan.

Here’s the deal, and I think we all know it including President Obama: Afghanistan is a decades-long war, and it will no doubt spill over into Pakistan. There are three choices here, two reasons behind those choices, and one excuse.

The first choice for the POTUS is to follow the advice of his generals (McChrystal et al) and pour troops into the fray; that’s certainly a respectable option. Who knows if it will work, but at least it’s decisive.

The second choice is to stand pat (or stand down) as ambassador Eikenberry has suggested. Given the corruption, drug smuggling, war lords, etc., etc., etc., this option has beaucoup merit too.

But it’s the last choice/excuse that is the most defining for President Obama. If he continues to waffle, if he lets Afghanistan agonizingly wither on the vine, if he chooses to blame all this woe on the “ill-prepared groundwork” laid out by the previous administration, he will have proven himself to be nothing more than a Chicago hack – a pathetic, dim, hollow, stuffed-shirt, power-mongering shill who will trade American blood, security, and values for make-do polls because that’s the best he can do.

Afghanistan is Obama’s defining moment, and presents an almost Shakespearian dilemma.

Alan Speakman


Head to Head: Obama and McChrystal

October 7, 2009

 

I don’t think that President Obama ever acknowledged that the surge in Iraq actually worked.

Because of that successful strategy, the world in general now considers the war in Iraq (one theater of the Global War on Terror) a victory.

But because if his reluctance to admit a surge strategy has already worked once, I guess it’s not surprising that the President is stonewalling General McChrystal on his (now-on-the-back-burner) request for a surge of 40,000 more troops for the Afghanistan theater. 

In London last week, in response to a question about whether a more drone and special ops-focused strategy would work, the Telegraph reported McChrystal’s response, about which the President is reportedly furious:

“The short answer is: No… Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

Is it the President’s hope that the General’s request, if ignored or denied, will cause McChrystal to resign or retire, thus allowing Obama the luxury of appointing someone he feels might be more complaisant to his point of view on Afghanistan (whatever that POV might be)?

I truly hope this is not the case, but it’s getting harder and harder to think otherwise as the President continues to stall on either answering McChrystal or even proposing a workable strategy of his own.

General McChrystal is an able and honorable man, wanting only the best for his country and his troops. I hope that the President can see this, and get beyond his evident distaste for military strategies that have proven to work in execution as well as in theory. Who knows? He might even begin to like the smell of victory…

Stoutcat


Obama To McChrystal: “Shut Up And Obey!”

October 5, 2009
General Stanley McChrystal Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A)

General Stanley McChrystal

Alex Spillius writes on today’s London Telegraph, that the recent speech in London made by the Commander of Nato Forces, General Stanley A.  McChrystal “enraged”  US-OJT (On-the-Job-Training) President Barack Obama.  

I”m not exactly sure what Obama’s point of reference was. I mean, let’s be brutally honest here. In the war arena, I think a fair and unbiased comparison of credentials will give General McChrystal a slight advantage over President Obama. Let’s just see:

  • On one hand (according to Wikipedia), General McChrystal is the current Commander, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A). He previously served as Director, Joint Staff from August 2008 to June 2009 and as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, where he was credited with the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. He assumed his current assignment on June 15, 2009. His father was Major General Herbert McChrystal. He was the fourth child in a family of five boys and a girl, all of whom would serve or marry into the military.  
  • On the other hand, while researching Barack Obama’s military experience, about the only thing I was able to uncover was that he once had a friend who had a GI Joe lunch box. 

So who do you feel more confident with when it comes to running the war in Afghanistan? Yet Obama reportedly threw a major hissy-fit over General McChrystal’s comments in London which prompted him to order the General to meet with him aboard Air Force One on the Copenhagen tarmack.

According to the article on The Telegraph:

In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.

He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to “Chaos-istan”.

When asked whether he would support it, he said: “The short answer is: No.”

He went on to say: “Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

Let me make this short and sweet. Obama and many other members of the left were quick to criticize the Intelligence gathering skills of the Bush administration.

Yet, it would appear that Obama’s intelligence wasn’t even up to the task of determining there was no point to fly to Copenhagen to lobby for the 2016 Olymics in Chicago.

Count me as one American who thinks this is one time President Mmm-Mmm-Mmm Barack Hussein Obama should mmm-maybe check his ego at the tent and listen carefully to what General McChrystal has to say.

But don’t count on it.  

Gerry Ashley


Obama and Afghanistan

September 29, 2009

 

What will the President do with Afghanistan? To answer that, look at Obama’s past stance on the war, where he’s at now, and given his decision-making proclivities, what he might do in the near future…

Well, what’s the background? I think we all know that one through and through. The “POTUS to be” campaigned on the anti-Bush rhetoric that Iraq was a mistake, and Afghanistan was the real fight. It became his mantra and there are no doubt hundreds of clips and quotes to act as proof.

And where is Barack now relative to the war in Afghanistan? Quite simply, he is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, he’s haunted by all the campaign-speak, and on the other he’s facing a deteriorating battle condition, and a growing outcry from his very own Left to get the Hell out. It certainly hasn’t helped matters that commanding General Stanley McChrystal is looking for as many as another 45,000 troops for that conflict.

Finally, what will the President ultimately do with the Afghanistan War? Obviously, no one (probably not even Obama himself) knows for sure. But here’s my guess based on what we’ve all seen in the past… He will probably find a way to tuck tail and at the same time claim that he is indeed fighting the good fight and will continue to do so. I’m guessing that he’ll take George Will’s advice, and turn to technology, special forces, and intel…

America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters.

But why will he take this route? Because if Obama is anything, he is shrewd (and by concomitant political necessity, a shrewd wordsmith). Damn the truth, and damn the proper, Obama is just a Chicago politician with an agenda to “fundamentally transformAmerica… Full blur ahead! He is after all, “Community Organizer in Chief“. Somehow, I don’t think a war 6,500+ miles away rates as the brightest blip on his radar. So, he’ll find the expedient way out of Afghanistan – the crafty public relations way to have his cake and eat it too.

Just as he could explain away Reverend Wright, and morph “create a million jobs” into “create or save a million jobs“, Obama will find/explain a way to make Afghanistan a political win. He’ll bail. He’ll spin it as cost-cutting and soldier-saving. He’ll claim it’s more humane, more efficient, cheaper, and the next logical step into 21st century warfare. Let technology, intelligence, and elite units perform the miracles… And we’ll buy it. And the whole damned mess will quietly rot on the vine as our economy scoops and finally breaks under inflation and unsustainable debt.

That’s how I think President Obama is going to handle Afghanistan.

Alan Speakman