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  • Obama Must Return Clarity and Focus to Afghanistan War

    The AP reports today that “a request for new troops from the U.S. commander in Afghanistan may have to be revised now that there is growing uncertainty inside the Obama administration over whether to escalate the American commitment to the eight-year war.” General Stanley McChrystal is set to deliver his troop request, believed to be upwards of 40,000 additional troops, by the end of the week.

    It is now up to President Obama to decide if he will keep his promise to the American people when he committed to winning the war in Afghanistan because it is inextricably linked to our safety at home. It is up to President Obama to decide if he will listen to the generals on the ground or if he will continue to ask them to revise their assesment until it fits his political agenda. It is up to President Obama to decide if he has a clear strategy for success in Afghanistan, or if he is merely winging it. It’s time for real leadership, but is the President capable of providing it?

    In March 2009, President Obama said:

    As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future. We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and our allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan to have suffered the most at the hand of violent extremists.

    So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That’s the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: We will defeat you.

    President Obama displayed true leadership in these seven brief lines. The Afghanistan war is against a common enemy that threatens us, our allies and the Afghani people. It must be won and to win, it must be executed with clear and focused goals. But where is this clarity and focus only six months later?

    Politics has clearly gotten in the way of clarity and focus. The liberal left do not want troop surges, just as they did not want them in Iraq. Senator Harry Reid declared the Iraq War “lost” well before the troops had the opportunity to win it. They want the troops home from Afghanistan, even if that means our mission failed, and the world is no more safe than it was on September 10, 2001. The President has failed to make a compelling and strategic case to his liberal allies in Congress, or even to the American public, and it might possibly be because he never believed in the mission either.

    According to the AP: “One senior military official said stepping up airstrikes might be difficult and more risky to do without additional forces. Without more troops, coalition forces will be able to secure fewer regions, and the insurgents will only have to move to the areas troops vacate.”

    Does the President believe al Qaeda must be defeated in Afghanistan; in what he calls a “just cause?” Does the President believe he can defeat them with the troops that are on the ground now, despite NATO and U.S. forces commanders urging otherwise?  And if he doesn’t, is any decision to keep troop levels low, solely based on political headlines at home?  President Obama had a clear strategy in Afghanistan only six months ago, but now that polls are down, health care reform is failing and his environmental agenda is collapsing; he said to NBC on Sunday: “I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan.”

    President Lyndon Johnson often grew frustrated with the Vietnam War, since it took away focus from his domestic priorities, i.e. the Great Society.  President Obama has set out on even more ambitious, more costly, and more transformative domestic agenda in 2009 that has largely been met with public indignation.  He clearly would prefer to maintain focus on these priorities demonstrated by his numerous White House meetings on government giveaways such as Cash for Clunkers, and his utter lack of White House meetings on Afghanistan troop levels.

    President Obama laid out his strategy for winning this war. The Generals responded to his strategy with a request for more troops. The President now must commit those troops or explain why the war is no longer worth winning. If he doesn’t appreciate the advice of his commanders, he should respectfully ask them to resign rather than undermine them and their mission as he has this past week, and install leaders who are willing to fight a war with limited troop deployment and a confused objective. Does that general exist?

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    11 Responses to Obama Must Return Clarity and Focus to Afghanistan War

    1. Worldbfree4me says:

      Lest we forget, the report by the General was submitted before the elections. Its the Presidents duty to now reaccess our strategy now that word is beginning to spread that Karzi may have rigged the election.

    2. worldbfree4me, TEXAS says:

      Lest we forget that the Generals report was submitted prior to the elections. Now that facts have begun to emerge that Karzi may have attempted to steal the election undermining everyone involved with getting the Country headed in a positive direction. POTUS must now re-evaluate our positon and the way forward in Afghanistan.

    3. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Oh, brother! ("Karzai-Schmarzai" is a side-issue: The real question concerns dealing with Al-Quaeda and the Taliban and whether, should we now relent in our efforts, the country will forseeably return to its pre-2001 status? That would be a tragedy impacting the entire region!)

    4. Bobbie Jay says:

      a leader is reasonable. Obama is not.

      Wouldn't it be extra special if all human life had the strength to respect all human life and there was no such thing as human weakness called "terrorists?"

    5. Spencer Peters, Cars says:

      Outright micro-management by an amateur, a la Johnson and Nixon. Wake up Obama and let the professionals handle it like Colin Powell and "Stormin' Norman" did it.

    6. Normca says:

      The left's outlook is they want America to be defeated. They do not care about the troops coming home. They use the troops when they picket at a funeral, they find a veteran and convince the vet to talk out against the war the vet volunteered to fight in. The left is all "The One" is going to have left come the mid term congressional elections and his own re-election in 2012 [including Soros's money and the unions]. This is the Commander in Chief's first real test. Until now his priorities have been obvious – his own interest first. As in the stim – pork bill, the unions received ownership of the car company and free health care, etc etc. I do not think he has the gravitas to go against his base. I hope he does though. The big difference between Obama and Bush, as Commander in Chief, Obama's ego is having him set the strategy, unlike Bush who allowed the military commanders to set the strategy. Go Obama.

    7. George C. Carlisle, says:

      Toy Soldiers

      Our military is not made up of Toy Soldiers. We have a son that is in the US Army. He is real, alive flesh and blood. He may have to deploy to Afghanistan, we are told. My concern is that our commander in Chief has become distracted. Seemingly, he has left his little soldier figures out in the backyard sand box while he has gone into the house for milk and cookies. I am sorry, I should be more respectful, the Commander in Chief is all grown up now, and he is a man. It may be more reflective of him, to say; He has gone into the house for beer and Combos.

    8. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Afghanistan is a tribal country. They may not like the Taliban, but at least the Taliban are Muslims, like the rest of the Afghan population. Given a choice between what they see as two evils, I truly believe they would rather have the lesser evil they can relate to (Taliban) rather than the evil they can't relat to (the U.S. presence).

      Yes, militarily we can defeat the Taliban, if we can find them. But just like in Vietnam, we can't tell the good guys from the bad guys, because the Taliban doesn't wear uniforms and they don't mind if the population continues to grow poppies.

      Also, just like in Vietnam and Iraq, the only locals who want us there are the ones who believe that the U.S. will prop them up as leaders of the country. And because of that U.S. backing, the general population will hate the local leaders we install and support.

    9. Richard Vettraino.Ph says:

      And just like Vietnam,when the USA abandoned the Gov.& people of the RVN.Millions of people were murdered,[our Government lost the War,Not the Military]and we as a people did not care.But it showed our enemies that we as a nation are weak,just a few years after "The Vietnam Lost War".On November 4th 1979 Iran declared War on the USA,by storming our embassy [which is US territory]and taking hostages.If we Abandon Afganistan,Al Queda will beat us,especially with our President who's number one priority is his own ego.

    10. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Give the farmers of Afghanistan an alternative crop that makes as much or more money than heroin and the Taliban will be long gone. Problem is, drug trafficing is far too profitable and money talks. This problem goes way beyond political and relgious issues. Look at Mexican drug cartels as the model.

    11. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      He sent more troops into Afghanistan without the proper equipment, or any equipment. Now they are fighting a war with limited resources.The enemy has endless money and men. Iran is giving the enemy guns, bombs etc. We are at a G20 summit with dictators from all over the world. Which side is this President on? He sides with a President who wants to become a dictator and take over a country!He has these dictators make policy for our country. He won't help our farmers in California get the water they need for their crops. He would rather them starve to death. I am very scared for our troops, I'am not sure who is running our country! President or dictators!

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