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  • Why Are Deadlines OK for Afghanistan but Not for Libya?

    At yesterday’s joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron, President Barack Obama ruled out any deadline for ending NATO’s air assault in Libya. “Qadhafi and his regime need to understand that there will not be a let-up in the pressure that we are applying,” Obama said. “Ultimately,” he added, “this is going to be a slow, steady process in which we’re able to wear down the regime forces.”

    It is troubling that he has refused to express similar resolve in the U.S. and NATO mission to stabilize Afghanistan, where much more is at stake for U.S. national security interests.

    The Libyan intervention was undertaken with a humanitarian goal: to protect Libyan civilians. It is a noble cause, but one in which the United States has no vital national interest. The war in Afghanistan, however, is a crucial effort to defeat terrorists and stabilize a region that has served as a major launching pad for terrorist attacks against Americans.

    Yet instead of signaling to the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies that the U.S. remains committed to ensuring Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for international terrorists, Obama repeatedly talks about withdrawing U.S. troops according to an arbitrary deadline. Indeed, 18 months ago in a speech at West Point, Obama promised to begin withdrawing U.S. troops—and that was long before the additional 30,000 “surge” troops had even been deployed to Afghanistan.

    Broadcasting to the enemy that you will make battlefield decisions based on arbitrary timelines rather than conditions on the ground is a recipe for failure. While President Obama appears to understand this simple logic when it comes to Libya, he has failed to grasp it where it counts most—in Afghanistan. There, al-Qaeda could easily regroup if U.S. forces were to exit prematurely.

    If the President were to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan this summer beyond what may be justified by conditions on the ground, he would squander the gain made by eliminating Osama bin Laden. Instead, the U.S. should build on bin Laden’s death by seeking to convince Taliban leaders to break ties to al-Qaeda and join a legitimate peace process in Afghanistan.

    The U.S. is at a crucial juncture in Afghanistan. Continued talk of large-scale troop withdrawals would tip the balance in the wrong direction, strengthening those in the Taliban who advocate continuing the fight.

    While a transition to Afghan-led security is beginning, rushing U.S. troops out of the region would risk sacrificing the gains made in the past six months. A recent report by the Defense Department noted that U.S. and coalition forces have made “tangible progress” by arresting the momentum of the insurgency in much of Afghanistan and disrupting insurgent leadership networks.

    Arbitrary U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan would open the door for the Taliban to regain influence in the region and allow al-Qaeda and its affiliate organizations to regroup and revitalize. The U.S. instead needs to press its advantage in Afghanistan and demonstrate its commitment to helping ensure long-term stability in the region.

    If President Obama can boldly commit to continue fighting for limited humanitarian goals in Libya, he should rethink his apparently half-hearted commitment to winning in Afghanistan. The outcome there will determine whether the U.S. ultimately defeats the threat of Islamist terrorism.

    Co-authored by James Phillips.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Why Are Deadlines OK for Afghanistan but Not for Libya?

    1. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      This is complete lunacy! Not the total incompetence of Obama, in particular when

      wasting our young men and women lives in Afghanistan and spending billions of dollars in Lybia. But to suggest that by spilling American blood, we will prevent "a safe haven for international terrorist". Do we actually believe that once our troups are pulled out, the entire region will not revert back to what it has always been for centuries? That the Taliban and al-Qaeda will continue to rule regardless how many of American lives are lost?

    2. Dee Va. says:

      The only reason Obama is staying on Libya is so he will be able to take over all the countries and thats also why he wants the 1967 back so he can defeat them…DOESNT ANYONE SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE……………..GET THAT ILLEGAL MUSLIM OBAMA OUT OF OUR WHITE HOUSE AND COUNTRY…………………

    3. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Congress can and should cut funding for Libyan "kinetic military action" in the defense appropriation bill since we have no national security interest there. As Obama was fond of saying about Iraq, Libya is a distraction from Afghanistan.

    4. Bobbie says:

      Get our troops home. Obama (and the like minded) has his own agenda and America is part of their fulfillment. He caters to his favorites as discreet as he can while stealing from America to pay for it. Plays dumb to anyone's recognition of his truth. He's got a cover when needed but won't if he's held accountable! He's having innocent lives killed as he shows to value "certain ones" and it doesn't seem to be any affiliation to America. He's a man! Stop making him exceptional.

    5. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I know why, Lisa! Obama is a Third Generation Communist who operates entirely in the Foreign Interest! The reason deadlines don't matter in Libya and are asserted ridiculously in Afghanistan, they aren't deadlines at all, they are disguised 'aid and comfort to the enemy.' I do not believe for a minute it was a Humanitarian Mission in Libya, Obama let Daffy kill 10,000 before he did anything! Then, he didn't do anything again! He had to kill off the first responders in Libya, not his type of rebel, then Community Organize the Labor (their buddies, the Muslim Brotherhood.) Crazy stuff, it isn't crazy, it is 'aid and comfort to the enemy' to tell Khadaffi "We won't go after you."

      Leading From Behind? Yeah! Sure! From way behind, like all the way around the twist! Obama is qualified to do one thing, to bring America down the way he brought down the Real Estate Market. Nothing about this is difficult to understand, what is hard to understand is the BS!

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