Afghanistan: Obama’s war, Obama’s Vietnam

Even before he became president, Barack Obama made the war in Afghanistan his own priority.

With the nomination locked up, he made a high-profile visit to Kabul shortly before the Democratic convention, where he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who didn’t seem the liability then he does now. Obama said Afghanistan should be “our central focus, the central front in our battle against terrorism.” He promised to dispatch two to three more combat brigades to Afghanistan even as he called for an accelerated U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.

True to his word, Obama sent 21,000 more troops earlier this year, bringing the U.S. presence in Afghanistan to 68,000 on top of the 38,000 NATO troops there now.

In May, Obama really took ownership of the war when the U.S. commander there, Gen. David McKiernan, was asked to resign on the grounds that new leadership was needed to launch Obama’s new strategy for the war.

Obama and his military adviser’s choice for that position was Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a specialist in counter-insurgency and unconventional war. McChrystal undertook a top-to-bottom review of the U.S.-led effort in Afghanistan, and over the weekend its contents were leaked, with the perhaps intended effect of painting Obama into a corner.

The upshot is that McChrystal was laying the groundwork to request more troops, perhaps 10,000 to 45,000 more. And his reasoning was chillingly blunt:

“Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”

Allied casualties have begun to rise to the point where Afghanistan is now more hazardous duty the Iraq. The Taliban have proved a resourceful and resilient enemy, and they may take McChrystal’s 12-month timeline as an incentive to redouble their efforts.

When Obama was asked Sunday about the general’s pending request for more troops, Obama temporized, saying he would deal with the question of resources only when there was “clarity” we were pursuing the right strategy.

If McChrystal is right, Obama doesn’t have a great deal of time to achieve clarity. And the leaked portions of his report contained what seemed like a pretty good outline of a workable strategy — get off the fortified bases and out among the population, learn the language and customs, protect the people, take pains to reduce civilian casualties, provide for larger and better trained Afghan security forces — all of which will require more troops.

McChrystal concluded that success is still achievable: “The insurgents cannot defeat us militarily; but we can defeat ourselves.” That doesn’t leave Obama much room for maneuver.

11 Responses to "Afghanistan: Obama’s war, Obama’s Vietnam"

  1. Walter F. Wouk  September 23, 2009 at 9:34 am

    Obama and the democratic party bosses will fill as many body bags as it takes to look tough on terrorism — at least until the 2010 election cycle has run its course.

  2. bryan mcclellan  September 23, 2009 at 11:41 am

    As one who was volunteered to be cannon fodder by my government I find it insulting that the President is sitting on his hands waiting for “clarity” to determine how resources/American Blood will be spent to repeat and continue the criminal act of invading another third world country on false pretenses.
    Read your history books Mr President, this road is infinite and treacherous serving no good purpose but for the enrichment of those D.W. Eisenhower warned of. We are entrenched where we do not belong, spewing western ideals that these people have no interest in, and frankly in view of your predecessors conduct which you blatantly ignore, I don’t blame them.

  3. Carl Nemo  September 23, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Bryan it’s obvious this President is part of the problem and will not be linked to any solution.

    He’s nothing but a “judas goat” leading this nation down a path that’s basically a third term for Bush/Cheney politics and policies as usual.

    Based on his policies to date, I’d say he’s one uv’em; ie., just another front man for our now merged poltical parties, both marching to same corporate MIC drummer.

    We’ve all been had again by another lying crimpol on the campaign trail. I’m not alone concerning my disappointment in his performance to date.

    To me, he’s nothing but a “jive turkey”…!

    Even if he isn’t reelected in four years, he’s still won the lottery; ie., Presidential pension, Secret Service protection for life, franking privileges etc. This silver tongued devil will no doubt make a fortune on the lecture circuit, no differently than Bill Clinton. He will get these percs even if he causes more damage to this nation with his business as usual decisions. His pay and percs aren’t performance related, no different than most of Amerika’s corrupt overpaid CEO’s who’ve steered their corporations onto the rocks of bankruptcy in recent years.

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. MightyMo  September 23, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Now all of a sudden this is Obama’s fiasco as if he somehow created it.

    Maybe we should have been more vocal in 2003 when this mess was initially created, left on the back burner for 6 years, then dumped on Obama to clean up.

    I want out too, but getting out at this point is not as simple as just packing up and coming home. Remember, just about every republican and conservative in America believes this is not a military war or conflict, but a religious good versus evil.

  5. woody188  September 23, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    He did vote for the war as a Senator just as he voted for the PATRIOT Act and it’s extensions. He is at least in part directly responsible.

    Maybe it is as simple as packing up and going home. That is unless you have other agendas unrelated to the conflict but dependent on said conflict like politics. Certainly politics is the worst reason to continue to put our soldiers in harms way.

  6. AustinRanter  September 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    The longer Congress continues to dump money into the Military Industrial Complex…the more likely we will manage to keep some level of stability in the economy.

    If the MIC begins to shutdown…jobs galore will shutdown too and the domino effect will begin to shutdown so many medium to small businesses that produce goods for the MIC. That won’t at all help the Dems considering all of our current economic woes.

    If the Republicans could hope for anything right now…it might be for ending Afganistan.

  7. MightyMo  September 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Right now a vast majority of the Afghanistan money does nothing for our National economy, but it does wonders outside of it.

    Quit the war, bring everyone home, and then divert a percentage of the savings towards modernizing our Air Force fleet of aging and decrepit aircraft, which should keep the MIC functioning and cut overall spending as well.

    Only problem with that is I’m sure if it’s even possible Obama would lose even more Republican support. Republican support ends for anything that makes Obama look good, even if the benefits outweigh their Republican agenda.

  8. bryan mcclellan  September 23, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    We could also return to manufacturing appliances, tennis shoes, widgets, and every other damn cheap piece of crap we are forced to buy from China, India, Pakistan, etc.
    This would strengthen more than just our economy, and would put a huge crimp in the steamroller tactics of the globalist’s plan to cripple not only our workforce but our national resolve to lead through innovation.
    As it stands now, we are becoming lazy beggars whose only pursuit is the art of war.HACK…

  9. gazelle1929  September 23, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Obama will not get SS protection for life, only for ten years. And he will not get any franking privileges. The only person outside Congress who gets franking privileges is a widowed First Lady, who gets a $20K pension plus franking privileges.

    Due diligence.

  10. bryan mcclellan  September 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Hello Carl, As I listened to our President at the UN, today, today, today, I suddenly realized we are trapped in an echo chamber bereft of any meaningful sound but the, drip, drip, drip, of the fetid water of accusation.

    I will not apologize he said.
    Right out of the smirk playbook he insults not only our dead but that of the innocents to make the point of, we, are all you’ve got, Ante up…

    That should go a long way the next time we are caught usurping and assassinating while asking for the return of remains of one more brave volunteer.

    By asserting that inaction by the rest of the world is to blame for the stalagmites that blind our foreign and economic policy, he attempted to hand off the blame for Americas dilemma by accusing them of inaction.

    Why would any with an ounce of integrity, trust a nation that refuses to prosecute the criminals amongst them, and then stand shoulder to shoulder with those that they know will surely run when promises of support come due? HACK…

  11. Carl Nemo  September 23, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks gazelle1929 for detailing my commentary. I have no problem with you doing so. In fact I appreciate it. : ) My point is the guy is set for life whether we give him an endless supply of stamps or protection for life regardless of his performance in office. Bill Clinton has done handsomely on the lecture circuit and his foundation holds almost a half billion dollars in assets donated from both our friends and enemies.

    I must say, like many other Americans that voted for him that both my wife and I have had our hopes dashed with his performance to date. He was the one that said effectively that “We the people” best “get it right” in this election or the consequences would be grave. Then from the minute he set foot in office and even before he aligned himself with the exiting team concerning TARP and other such Treasury draining processes that made me “suck wind”. By the time he was inaugurated his choices for cabinet members and other appointees made me doubly suck wind…!

    I’m not going to half-step with my assessment of the man. He’s been talkin’ the talk, but not walkin’ the walk…! It seems that he’s phase-locked in the campaign trail mode. Someone needs to press his reset button or pull his batteries for a bit to achieve the same… : |

    Carl Nemo **==

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