Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Personal Aside: Obama Botches a Good Decision on Afghanistan.

It took three whole months and eight—count `em, eight—high level meetings with the Joint Chiefs of Staff…but Obama made the right decision on Afghanistan: only to botch it with a characteristic show of foolhardy weakness.

He campaigned on the theme that the Iraq War was a failure but that Afghanistan was the “right one.” He came out for prompt withdrawal from Iraq and fought like a tiger in the U. S. Senate against the Surge, saying it could not work. He was wrong: the Surge worked although he has never been fully able to recognize his error (something to do with narcissism). But he staked his reputation on Afghanistan. Once in office he appointed Gen. Stanley McChrystal to top command in Afghanistan. McChrystal followed up with a recommendation that to save the war there…the war Obama had called “the right war,” a sharp increase in reinforcements should be delivered promptly and smartly to Afghanistan. Obama took an ungodly amount of time trying to decide—mainly to placate the Left flank of his party.

Now with the speech last night he has announced the right decision. But then he botched it. He did what any good poker player…and smart president…would not do. He tied the deployment of 30,000 plus 10,000 NATO troops to the pledge that they would exit Afghanistan by 2011. Do you know what this does? It vitiates the value of the reinforcements. By saying that all troops would be out of Afghanistan by 2011 it tells the Taliban that there will be a time soon when it will dominate the scene in their country if they can just hang tough.

The second thing it does is this: it tells the Afghans that they’d better rethink cooperating with us in our efforts to decimate the Taliban…since after 2011 our troops will have been gone and the Afghans will be left to the tender mercies of the Taliban.

Thus the fatal obsequious weakness of Obama foiled his initiative. Another fatal blunder. Any other president…even Jimmy Carter…would have shut up about when troops were going to be pulled out—thus strengthening the role of the troops and the chances that they could overcome the Taliban. But Obama is so deferential to the Left in this country that he felt he had to make the concession. The concession wrecks the chance that he can win the war in Afghanistan. Oh—but he never says the word “win” or “victory.” He will just “end” the war.

Fatal weakness from one who in the long range of history will be recalled in perpetuity as the worst president the United States ever had. Bar none.

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