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Sunday, December 6, 2009
Bam's Afghan Adventure
This week Obama walked into "enemy territory" (or, at least that's how "thrill up my leg" Chris Matthews described the United States Military Academy) and delivered a speech that was neither inspiring, decisive, nor terribly thoughtful.
If you want insightful commentary on Bam's speech, read either Charles Krauthammer's take on it, or Mark Steyn's.
If you want something a little more amatuerish and about as will thought out as the Obama administration policy on Afghanistan, keep reading me!
Bam has decided to send 30,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. At the same time, NATO allies have agreed to send an additional 7,000. Together, this gets us pretty close to the 40,000 that Obama's hand-picked leader, General Stanley McChrystal, had asked for to carry out the counterinsurgency strategy that the administration had settled on in May 2009.
The real problem, from my perspective, with O's speech, is the continued politicization of the war that was the candidate's "necessary war." As Steyn points out in his column, Obama invokes Afghanistan as the central battleground of the War on Terror (well, he doesn't use those EXACT words) for the entire WORLD.
Yet, he gives a timeline of 18 months to start a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
This is the central front of the most important war of the world, and we are going to leave in 18 months because....well, because Obama's left-wing nutroots demand some timeline to end all wars, and this is what Obama has chosen to give them. As Steyn points, out, "Hey, Taliban, just hold on for 19 months, and all is well!" I agree, if I was an Afghan strongman, I'd be working my best deal with the Taliban, rather than supporting an American initiative against them, when I knew the Americans would be departing in 18 months, leaving me and the Taliban (still) behind.
We will not successfully carry out a counterinsurgency operation without winning over the people who control security in every part of Afghanistan. Just as in Iraq, the success of a COIN strategy rests with winning over the local population, and yes, the tribal (and often militia) leaders who control those parts of the country. It is only with our backing, and the sure knowledge that we will be there to provide security for those same people against the Taliban, that we will win them over to our side.
A timeline is the worst possible thing Obama could have done, yet he did it. A sop to his political left-wing (as if there could be a wing left of Obama). He further mixed domestic concerns into his speech. He can't make a speech without tying it somehow to his aggressive domestic agenda. At least now, we won't have to hear Democrats complaining how much the War costs and how it's bankrupting the country, since they're doing a fine job of that with their out of control money and power grabs.
So, we on the right know that Obama has likely cynically given this promise to his Left. He weaselly says the withdrawal will "begin" in 18 months. Those on the right expect that in 18 months, he'll be reneging on that promise, should conditions require more troops, or the same strength. In the winter of 2011, as the 2012 campaign is gearing up, does Obama want to be remembered as the President who lost Afghanistan?
We don't think so. But, what if Obama faces a primary challenge from his left in 2012? A Kucinich (laughable) or perhaps a Feingold (more credible to me)? In that case, he might feel compelled to make good in some substantive way on his promise. And, that could lead to disaster in Afghanistan.
I think, though, that it's more likely that Obama, in late 2011, will be facing a primary challenge from his right. As the economy continues to struggle (we're already in the midst of one of the weakest recession recoveries in recorded American history), I think the odds of a Hillary Clinton resignation and subsequent attempt to unseat Obama becomes more and more likely. Especially if the GOP fails to bring forward a credible candidate, or, if the GOP candidate appears to be a far right conservative (Palin). In this scenario, Hillary will see herself as not just the savior of the Democratic party, but of the country as well, and she may have a case. If Bam's approval ratings continue to sink into Bush territory, even his uninidicted co-conspirators in the Legacy Media will leave him, and will relish the opportunity to be the ones to resurrect Hillary.
Possible? I make it up, you vet it.