Skip to comments.Is Obama Only Postponing the Inevitable?
Posted on 06/24/2011 6:04:10 AM PDT by Kaslin
In deciding to pull all of the 30,000 troops from the surge out of Afghanistan, six weeks before Election Day 2012, but only 10,000 by year's end, President Obama has satisfied neither the generals nor the doves.
He has, however, well served his political interests.
A larger drawdown would have risked the gains made in Kandahar and Helmand and invited a revolt of the generals, some of whom might resign and denounce Obama for denying them the forces to prevail.
Sen. John McCain, citing some generals, is already saying that, with fewer troops and more missions per unit, U.S. casualties will rise.
A smaller drawdown would have enraged the left, whose support is indispensable to Obama's winning a second term.
So, our president did what comes naturally: cut the baby in half.
Strategically, removal of 30,000 troops in 15 months means that Obama has given up all hope of victory over the Taliban. Gen. MacArthur's dictum -- "In war, there is no substitute for victory" -- is inoperative in yet another American war.
Obama's strategic goal now is the avoidance of defeat, until the election of 2012 is behind him. And by retaining 70,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan during the fighting season and political season of 2012, he has an insurance policy against a Taliban Tet-style offensive or major U.S. military reversal as voters begin to fill out absentee ballots.
In the post-speech analysis, there was much chatter about a "political solution" -- a peace conference including Pakistan, India, Russia, China and Iran that would bring the moderate Taliban and Karzai government together to iron out their differences.
This is self-delusion, born of hope not rational analysis.
Have we not been here before? With Mao's Communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists being pushed toward a coalition by Gen. George Marshall in the late 1940s. With the Viet Cong and North and South Vietnamese making peace in Southeast Asia in 1973.
Like the old communists, the Taliban are all-or-nothing people.
They have a vision, an agenda grounded in religious faith about how a society should be structured, about how men and women should live. They fought their way to absolute power in the 1990s. And they have shown themselves more willing to die for their beliefs and leaders than the Afghan National Army,
This is not to denigrate the brave Afghan soldiers who have bled and died. But the Taliban have not needed U.S. training, U.S. arms, U.S. air and fire support or U.S. paychecks to go into battle. All the suicide bombers who give up their lives are -- Taliban.
They recruit themselves. And for 10 years the Taliban have battled U.S. soldiers and Marines, backed up by NATO troops, to what Gen. Stanley McChrystal called "a draw."
And if Afghanistan has become a stalemated war between the Americans and Taliban after a decade in which 1,600 Americans have given their lives and 12,000 have been wounded, how well will the Karzai regime and ANA make out when the Americans, the best soldiers in the world, depart, and they face the Taliban alone?
"This war does not lend itself to a military solution" is the cliche of the hour. And, surely, if the United States cannot achieve victory over the Taliban with 100,000 troops, we are unlikely to achieve it with 70,000, or however many may remain after 2014.
But has anyone heard the Taliban concede, "This war does not lend itself to a military solution"? Even should the Taliban come to the table and agree to compete democratically, does anyone think it will be faithful to a commitment given to the infidel Americans, once the infidel Americans depart? Why should they?
Over the next 15 months, the United States will be pulling out all or almost all of its 50,000 troops from Iraq, plus the 30,000 from the Afghan theater.
Our NATO allies will execute similar drawdowns.
This will leave Iraq up for grabs. But the Islamic world will see the U.S. pullout from Afghanistan for what it is: a retreat, forced upon a war-weary America by Islamic holy warriors who are the sons of the mujahedeen who drove out the Red Army in the 1980s and helped to bring down the Soviet Empire.
Make no mistake. Obama is headed for the exit ramp, and the Karzai government and Afghan army will not succeed where that same government and army, backed by 150,000 U.S. and NATO troops, could not succeed.
McCain and the neocons will blame what is coming, a terrible day in Kabul and across Afghanistan, on those who refused to soldier on, no matter the cost in blood and treasure.
But the people who should be indicted by history are not those who, after half a trillion dollars and a decade of bleeding, decided to cut America's losses, but those who stampeded this country into two of the longest and least necessary wars in the history of the republic.
This poser is gonna get good people killed,in an attempt to buy votes.
I can only pray for my Soldier Son and all the other Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, Sailors, and others put in harm’s way by this Administration. God protect them all.
And the media will be silent until after the fact...
Obama should be indicted and tried for murder because of his insane rules of engagement.
After all his campaign rhetoric about Afganistan being so important and Iraq being a big mistake. Nothing this guy says is believable.
Pat Buchanan looks at Barack Obama's administration, looks at the problems in the world, and concludes: It's Bush's fault.
What was it John McCain said? Oh yeah that we have nothing to fear from a BO president.
He need to retire and move into a nursing home for the mentally deficient.
I don’t even think it was a very smart political move. This gives an entire year for people to point (rightly or wrongly) at Afghan violence and say see, see, see... he should have listened to his Generals. Obama could have pushed the date back to next summer and still got the political credit he craves.
If I was in Charge I would bring them all out next month along with anything I could haul away and I would destroy anything I couldn’t haul away.
The people there do not want us there, and we will never defeat the Taliban any more than the Japanese could defeat free Philipino’s in WW2.
I believe Buchanan has a good point.
FDR had his faults, but he rallied the entire country in 1941. And his goal was absolute victory. No focus nation-building, and no limited rules of engagement.
FDR beat Hitler and Tojo, both of them, in less than 5 years.
Look what Bush did. After 10 years, both Iraq and Afghanistan are stalemates, at best. That’s 100% the fault of Bush.
He sure will
Buchanan said that he supported going into Afghanistan before, Bush wasn’t the only one. Obama doesn’t have to leave there. It’s not Bush’s fault that Obama is leaving Afghanistan, he could have improved it.
But we are more than halfway through Obama's term, and I see that economically, politically, domestically, and internationally, we are in serious trouble. And then I see people stand up and say, "Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush."
All I really want is for people to say "Obama is a disaster, and Bush wasn't any good either."
But what I see (too often) is a lot of "Conservatives" saying "Bush wasn't any good."
Very well said and I’ll pray with you. Thank you to your son for his service
I certainly agree with that. Bush II kept the homeland safe after 9/11, and I give him credit for that. Otherwise, he was a terrible.
Obama was handed a bad situation. And Obama made that bad situation much worse.
Amen to your post.
There is NOTHING in Afghanistan worth another American life—not one.
Like in Vietnam-we are not allowed to fully prosecute war to victory—so, get the hell home.
No matter how long we stay, or how many Tal—ee-bon we kill, guess what—two weeks after we leave, the Taliban will be in control, and Karzai and his brother will be in Switzerland with suitcases full of cash.
We could have stopped the international trade in opium—ain’t gonna happen, will it?
We are on a fool’s errand. Afghanistan is hopeless.
We declare victory and come home. If anyone from Afghanistan hurts us again, then give them the Hiroshima treatment—end of story.
Obama and these generals need a reality check.
It is time to end this thing. Way past time.
It is not about cutting and running—there is nothing to cut and run from.
We cannot change 1400 years of backwardness, not for 20 trillion dollars.
The problem is Pakistan, not Afghanistan anyway.
And you know Obama won’t do a damn thing about them.
Our troops should all come home now.
Stop the insanity.