Skip to comments.Afghan Ambivalence (Oliver North)
Posted on 03/15/2012 7:34:03 PM PDT by jazusamo
WASHINGTON Four years ago, when then-Sen. Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he said of Afghanistan: This is "a war that we have to win." He also claimed, "The Afghan people must know that our commitment to their future is enduring because the security of Afghanistan and the United States is shared." But after three years of Obama's being commander in chief, it ought to be clear that he never really believed his own campaign rhetoric. Now, in the aftermath of recent setbacks, his words are further evidence of presidential ambivalence and uncertainty. None of this bodes well for those who hope for a positive outcome in the shadows of the Hindu Kush.
This week, after a U.S. soldier allegedly killed 16 Afghan civilians in Panjwai, a hamlet in Kandahar province, Obama appropriately promised to "make sure that anybody who was involved is held fully accountable with the full force of the law." Though Defense Secretary Leon Panetta reiterated this commitment during a long-planned but unannounced two-day visit to Afghanistan, other unanticipated events a reality in all wars clouded the message.
Even before Panetta arrived, Afghan President Hamid Karzai was demanding that U.S. and NATO troops cease combat operations in populated areas and be confined to major bases. Then, as Panetta's aircraft approached Camp Leatherneck in Helmand province, an Afghan national crashed a commandeered pickup truck, which burst into flames just off the base runway. By the time Panetta arrived at a meeting with American, British and Afghan personnel, U.S. Marines and British troops that mustered for a "meet and greet" with the secretary had been ordered to remove their weapons from the site.
Pentagon spokesman George Little told reporters that the unprecedented order to disarm was "unrelated" to the runway incident. But other officials, speaking on background, said the decision was prompted by "an abundance of caution" after six Americans were murdered last month by Afghan personnel. Yet another story in widespread circulation attributed the order to "fairness" for Afghan troops, who are "not allowed to carry weapons in the presence of senior U.S. officials." Whatever the truth, the order quickly became a public relations nightmare and yet another distraction in shoring up public support for those who are fighting this long and difficult war. For that, Obama has no one to blame but himself.
Ever since he decided to provide fewer "surge troops" than requested by his hand-picked battlefield commander and announced an arbitrary "timetable for withdrawal" during a speech in December 2009, the president's rhetoric has been devoid of words about "winning," "defeating the Taliban" or even "peace and security for the Afghan people." Gone, too, is any attempt at comity with Karzai. And while Obama repeatedly reminds us that "we got Osama bin Laden," his efforts to repair relations with neighboring Pakistan have ground to a halt.
This week, in the aftermath of multiple reversals on the ground, the president reiterated that he still intends to withdraw 23,000 of the 91,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Afghanistan before our presidential election and before the "fighting season" comes to an end. In Kabul, Panetta renewed the administration's commitment to "bringing home" all of the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops by 2014.
Taliban leaders immediately announced that they were suspending long-awaited "peace and reconciliation talks" in Qatar because of the "shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans." What they didn't say is what everyone already knows: The O-Team is getting out of Afghanistan no matter what's happening on the battlefield. All the Taliban have to do is wait until we're gone.
Obama still claims he is "confident that we can continue the work of meeting our objectives" and "accomplish the mission" while implementing his "exit strategy." But then he says his goal is to "responsibly wind down this war" and "bring our troops home." This isn't a "strategy," and it's not a valid reason to send young Americans into harm's way in one of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth. The commander in chief we hired nearly four years ago still hasn't learned that the only "responsible" way to end a war is to win it.
On the day Taliban leaders announced they were pulling out of any further talks, I was visiting Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. While I was there, the mother of a severely wounded Marine said to me, "I hope my son's sacrifice was not in vain." I share her hope. We all should even our ambivalent commander in chief.
Thanks for the ping jaz. Up is down, and down is up.
They’re not willing to fight it the way it needs to be, in order to win.
Four years ago, when then-Sen. Barack Obama was campaigning for president, he said of Afghanistan: This is "a war that we have to win." He also claimed, "The Afghan people must know that our commitment to their future is enduring because the security of Afghanistan and the United States is shared." But after three years of Obama's being commander in chief, it ought to be clear that he never really believed his own campaign rhetoric.
You’re both right on the money, we need leadership.
Afghanistan is not worth one more American life, nor one more dollar of American money.
They are corrupt, tribal jihadi society.
Under Basrck Obama’s three years we have had more KIA in Afghanistan than in the seven years under Bush. Obama is not only the nation’s worst President, he is a completely disengaged and uncaring Commander in Chief.
Get the guys back to Kandahar and then out of the country,the sooner the better.
Anyone who f’s with our withdrawal gets eliminated with extreme prejudice. THAT the useless Afghanis understand.
Agreed...Obama is not a CINC, he’s a corrupt politician that is only worried about his image and his reelection. Get our troops out of Afghanistan and Obama out of the WH.
>> Article: the mother of a severely wounded Marine said to me, “I hope my son’s sacrifice was not in vain.”
The jackass does nothing to alleviate this anguish.
Unless you rate banner poppy production as good news, there will be no more good news coming -just bad news and worse news.
Exactly...If he cares at all he doesn't express it in a genuine manner and he's supposedly caring and educated. All bunk!
Yep, Viet Nam all over again. The politicians sabotaged our war effort and refused to win, thereby killing a whole lot of our kids for NOTHING! It was criminal in the 1960s and it’s criminal now. Our politicians will never learn.
I just voted on Bill O’Reilly.com to get out of Afghanistan. Why should another American patriot die for these corrupt politicians who care not a whit?
George Bush cared, but he could have won the war too and didn’t.
I don’t care at all for Obama.
In relation to Afghanistan and the war since 2001, the following most recent posts:
“In a way i agree w/ Elle Bee.
It depends on how one defines winning a war in Afghanistan or Iraq.
You cant win a war (easily) against an ideology (certainly not the Taliban which espouses an Islamic philosophy [ideology], as well as the tribal Islamics factions in Afghanistan, or any where in the moslem world).
That war is certainly not winnable by guns or military alone. You have to declare war against the ideology (philosophy) itself.
To think that we could win a war against an ideology by military alone and then nation-build was a mistake, which was made long before Obama.
And, I definitely dont support Obama, male or female.”
“Afghanistan has a dreadful history dominated by tribal (Islamic) leaders who have been & still are anti-modernization. They want Islam to dominate.
Even their monarch back in the 70s had massive trouble with these tribal leaders. So, did the Soviets, and we are too. We shouldve taken that into account when embarking on so-called nation-building adventures.
Kabul may be a slightly different story, safer, etc.. but Kabul is not all or most of Afghanistan.
Karzai has not been a popular figure since around 2007. I heard that from 4 or 5 different people who visited, spent time there and should know.
Karzai is hanging on by a very thin thread. Thats partly why he is upping the rhetoric about Quran burning, and shifting back and forth on wanting to negotiate w/ the Taliban. If it werent for US and NATO troops, he couldnt possibly hang on. I reckon he will be eventually killed or will have to escape. Especially once NATO pulls out.”
Links to posts in #13:
Exit82,and Jazusamo and all I agree with the replies so far.
I worried that it was a mistake to deploy to Afghanistan when we were sent it.But held on to the belief that we ought support the troops -and trust the prosecution of the War would lead to a just end. now it appears the prosecution of the War by the stuffed suits in Foggy Bottoms D.C. has proven no better than our War Games in S.E. Asia where the Democratic Party politicians managed to secure DEFEAT from the jaws of Victory in just a few short years. Now I agree Trashcanistan is NOT worth one more drop of American blood. IMO we ought give Karbonzai his Country in ashes. Let him clean up the Islamic mess without us.
And his Panni got his fanny a plumb plitical position as reward for his role in this Administrations corruption of Gunwalker. Much better for our men and women in Uniform if Pannetta was restored to his position when he served on Active duty as a supply clerk.
Panetta’s cowtowing to the United Nations is totally disgusting and unconstitutional and where the heck are the lead GOP to STOP that immediately? Panetta sneared in his testimony that he would “inform” congress. WHAT the HECK?
Crickets you say? Panetta’s connections to less than desirable characters in years past has also garnered him this plumb position. Connect the dots with all of these folks / czars, etc. Anitta Dunn, Valerie Jarrett, Van Jones, corrupt union thugs, Black Panters, George Soros, what stinking constitution Eric Holder, I don’t have to pay taxes Timmy Geithner and all the rest with whom Ozippy surrounds himself. This is a frightening and serious situation and more and more comes to light every day.
And where are the elite GOP? Trying to shove Romney down our throats. Where is Joe McCarthy when you need him?