Obama’s Afghan strategy

It’s good to finally have a plan, and the goal of preparing the Afghans to secure their own country is probably the most realistic one since we are already eight years into the war. But can we possibly expect to reach that goal in just 18 months, when today Afghan President Karzai is known as “the mayor of Kabul” because his government and army are so weak and ineffectual?

Is there any reason to believe that the Taliban and al Qaeda will do anything other than batten down the hatches, knowing that they’ve already survived the vast majority of the war?

I tend to agree with Sen. John McCain’s assessment that this is the right decision, but that announcing a date for withdrawal may well fatally wound the strategy. I take Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s point that there is some flexibility in the summer 2011 timetable for beginning our withdrawal — but I also understand that, just over a year before President Obama seeks re-election, there will be political pressure for that withdrawal to be quick, and completed sometime in 2012. I agree with McCain that if you’re going to have a strategy, the time for withdrawal is when that strategy has been fulfilled successfully. Otherwise, bring the troops home now.

I also understand that the Karzai government may need some prodding, but I don’t know why we couldn’t have done that behind closed doors — where most of the prodding will still have to take place anyway — rather than publicly announcing the withdrawal timeline.

Someone explain to me why it’s wise to set a deadline so publicly.

82 comments Add your comment

Mutts R Stupid

December 2nd, 2009
11:16 am

R we doing the Nation Building thing again? Doesn’t work, give it up.

Davo

December 2nd, 2009
11:18 am

“Someone explain to me why it’s wise to set a deadline so publicly.”

To get re-elected in 2012. Obama wants it both ways, ever the compromiser; never the statesman. By escalating this needless war he appeases the right; saying he will only go so far he satisfies the left.

In a compromise nobody wins and this will become apparent as this BS of a foreign policy plays out. In the short term the real losers will be our troops and any unfortunate goat herders they may run into; long term the sons of those goat herders will seek to extract vengence on the US or its citizens. I have no doubt of this as it was the same justification used by the 911 terrorists.

This is why I, as a conservative, support Ron Paul and others who actually think and use history to determine policy. Everyone else is looking out for the military/industrial machine which is our only real export.

How’s that for American Values?

Joan

December 2nd, 2009
11:20 am

I agree with Mutts. We are not going to do a thing to “nation build” over in that God-forsaken part of the world. It is nothing but rock and rubble, militant, martyr-loving men, and women who submit to the worst kind of life. We can do nothing to change that militarily. Crooks are crooks and will remain crooks. We need to start directing our attention to the corruption in our own political system and in our own Congress. In other words, clean up our own house and our own cities. If we have good young men and women over there trying to nation build, maybe we need to bring them home because we could use some of that energy here.

El Jefe

December 2nd, 2009
11:26 am

Michelle Malkin said it best about the Presidents speech – Also, what an entirely inappropriate venue.

Bush-bashing? Check.
Noxious complaining about the cost of fighting a necessary war? Check.
Disingenuous denial that he dithered? Check.
‘Let me be clear’s = 9.
Self-congratulations for sticking to Gitmo closure policy = 1.
Self-referential ‘As your Commander-in-Chief’s = 2.
References to global jihad = 0.”

Sunshine and Thunder

December 2nd, 2009
11:28 am

“Someone explain to me why it’s wise to set a deadline so publicly.”

Only the mind of a liberal or an academic could think it makes sense for an army to announce to its enemy the day it will stop fighting.

DebbieDoRight

December 2nd, 2009
11:29 am

Our real problem is not so much Afghanistan, we’re using Afghanistan was a front so that we can continue the raids against Al Queada in Pakistan, (IMO). No one wants to see Pakistan fall and the Taliban seize control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon capabilities. We can only do so much on Pakistani’s soil, even with their blessings, but we can do a lot on Afghanistan’s soil, since we’re already there, to foil the Taliban, Al Queada or whatever name they’re going by now.

DebbieDoRight

December 2nd, 2009
11:30 am

You set a deadline publicly the same way you “raise’ a pot when you’re only holding two pair. Karazi has to get his act together, he can’t expect to live on the bodies and blood of American citizens forever; he wanted to lead, so let him lead, if not, let him step aside so someone else can do it. America can no longer afford to become the “police of the world” without the world paying the policemen’s salaries.

Jake

December 2nd, 2009
11:31 am

“We will begin to withdraw our troops in 18 months” is not a deadline, it’s barely a guideline. Withdraw how many, how fast, one division a month or one brigade every six months? Big difference. Barring semi-permanent occupation, there is probably little chance of establishing stable Afghani government control of the country so the 18 month plan seems doomed to failure.

JF McNamara

December 2nd, 2009
11:33 am

Maybe he wants to make the Afghans and military leaders take responsability for their failures? If we don’t meet the deadline, we can point the finger at who was wrong and demand accountability on that date. If you don’t have a deadline, people will do just enough to get by and not upset the status quo.

McChrystal asked for the troops and said he could do it. He’s accountable now and if he fails he gets fired. If he can’t get the Afghans trained by that date, he’s out no questions asked. If Karzai is the problem, he will lose our support and we will work around him. They will be motivated and have a sense of urgency to finish the job.

There’s a possible explanation for the public deadline.

I was hoping we would just leave the Afghanis to their own devices and ask for bases there to fight terror. I guess we slog on in the muck, but it could work. We’ll see.

Evil-Doer

December 2nd, 2009
11:43 am

Sounds like Bush-lite, minus the Christian Army overtones..

El Jefe

December 2nd, 2009
11:45 am

JF McNamara,

McChrystal asked for 60,000 with a 40,000 minimum – the 30,000 the President is sending is a no confidence vote on McChrystal. The President should replace a man he has no confidence in.

That is what a leader does in this case.

@@

December 2nd, 2009
11:46 am

It’s obvious why Obama gave a timeline…it was his attempt to garner votes from his MoveOn crowd. We’ll be there until 2011, then MoveOn.

He simply could have said this is not an open-ended commitment and left it at that. Always keep ‘em guessing.

As is too often the case with Obama, he attempted to address too many different factions. When he looked sternly into the camera, addressing the Arab/Muslim people, it was as though he was talking to unruly children. In complete contradiction to the message he’s conveyed in the past. Daddy loves you….now come give Daddy a hug.

He is, without a doubt, the most frustrating of “leaders” I’ve ever witnessed.

I find myself wishing he’d shut-up….JUST SHUT-UP and get to work already. It’s not all about YOU!!!

El Jefe

December 2nd, 2009
11:47 am

The only thing a deadline does is give the enemy a time table to recruit, train, re-arm and stockpile supplies.

Then after we leave, they return stronger than ever.

dewstarpath

December 2nd, 2009
12:02 pm

- I doubt any of these posters have ever stepped into
a US Armed Forces recruitment office.

Mayor Sheila Dixon Convicted

December 2nd, 2009
12:04 pm

Shouldn’t the ajc’s over priced girl reporter in DC, Cindy whats her name, picked up on this story and done something with it? Another Black Mayer convicted, but the ajc refuses to put two plus two together and get four. Birmingham, Washington, Atlanta, and now Baltimore….now we have Bill Campbell II coming into power in the crooked city of Atlanta. Way to go ajc, way to go.

Baltimore, MD – The jury convicted Mayor Sheila Dixon on one count of fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary.
Dixon was acquitted of felony theft charges.
The jury couldn’t reach an unanimous decision on count six. The judge declared a mistrial.
The state has until the end of the week to decide whether to refile the charges related to that count.
After the verdict was read, Dixon promised that the city will continue to run.
When asked whether the mayor would step down from office, Dixon’s attorney, Arnold Weiner said, “All things are being considered.”

jconservative

December 2nd, 2009
12:04 pm

Interview with Petraeus this morning on Morning Joe. Here are my notes:

There is a “loophole” (my word, not his long sentence) in the withdrawal date. The rate of withdrawal will be “conditions based”. (Could be there for years – my words again).

Also per Petraeus – we will not be nation building – “we are not trying to make a Sweden in Afghanistan”. Will be a lot of emphasis on “local governing” and security, not just a central government. (I take this to mean that they will deal with the feudal “lords” who really run the country).

Mission has changed for McChrystal. He will not be engaged in a counter insurgency operation as he planned – now will be getting the country ready to assume control of its own territory.

Petraeus sounded like he got what he wanted out of the long discussion by the WH , Def & State.

You can see the interview on the Morning Joe website if you are interested.

Davo

December 2nd, 2009
12:05 pm

“- I doubt any of these posters have ever stepped into
a US Armed Forces recruitment office.”

A highschool classroom? Wow, that’s mean.

Skip

December 2nd, 2009
12:18 pm

I would never have thought that 19 Saudi could have brought down the U.S. but look where they have taken us.

Linda

December 2nd, 2009
12:18 pm

Obama does not even know WHY we are in Afghanistan. Last night, he said it was “important to RECALL why America & our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place.” He only mentioned 9/11. This didn’t start 9/11.
Radical Islamic terrorists have been murdering Americans for 30 yrs. in Asia, Europe & in the US on airlines, cruise ships, embassies & consulates, a hospital, a cinema, hotels, restaurants, military barracks, etc. We tried appeasement for 25 yrs. We knew they wanted to blow up the World Trade Center because they had ALREADY tried, in 1993.
We know they want nuclear weapons & that they were within a few miles of them in Pakistan a few weeks ago.
If we abruptly leave Afghanistan, the terrorists will pick up where they left off, with a vengeance & we are toast. Our borders are open. We know terrorists are in the US living among us.
Afghanistan is the least of our problems. Iran will be our worst nightmare. Obama is stilling waiting & waiting & waiting. They have said, “NO! NO! NO!” In just a few months, Israel will bomb Iran & World War III will begin. Oil will double in price & our economy will tank.

Linda

December 2nd, 2009
12:21 pm

This is what I said yesterday. George Bush’s middle name starts with a W. For this reason & this reason only, Obama doesn’t use words that start with W. I predicted that he would not use the word WIN in his speech last night. Did anyone hear him say the words win or victory? Isn’t that the whole reason we’re there?

Robert

December 2nd, 2009
12:21 pm

The ever appeaser, Obama tried to speak to opponents of the war and the proponents of the war. It sounded like two speeches in one and didn’t appear sincere. He is such a politician…giving a withdrawal deadline before an election. I hope I am not the only one that sees right through this.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:28 pm

Setting up our military to fail

Just plain nuts: That’s the only possible characterization for last night’s presidential declaration of surrender in advance of a renewed campaign in Afghanistan.

President Obama will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan — but he’ll “begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.” Then why send them?

Does the 2012 election ring a bell?

What messages did our president’s bait-and-switch speech just send?

To our troops: Risk your lives for a mission I’ve written off.

To our allies: Race you to the exit ramp.

To the Taliban: Allah is merciful, your prayers will soon be answered.

To Afghan leaders: Get your stolen wealth out of the country.

To Pakistan: Renew your Taliban friendships now (and be nice to al Qaeda).

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/setting_up_our_military_to_fail_lBlTIHm69SM02Lly5JbNaO#ixzz0YYOiGJMI

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:29 pm

I guess community organizing and 20 years of racist preaching by his pastor didn’t teach President Acorn common sense.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:36 pm

dewstarpath writes: – I doubt any of these posters have ever stepped into
a US Armed Forces recruitment office.

Speaking from experience?

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:38 pm

The Left Turns Off Obama

by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

While the smoke rises from the Capitol building where the health care debate proceeds, Obama is losing his political base on the left.

His decision to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan, an odd move for a peace candidate, his failure to close Guantanamo, our continued military presence in Iraq, and his failure to act on liberal priorities like gays in the military and immigration reform are all sapping his support from those who voted for him.

http://townhall.com/columnists/DickMorrisandEileenMcGann/2009/12/02/the_left_turns_off_obama

Sunshine and Thunder

December 2nd, 2009
12:38 pm

Someone near and dear to me is going to Afghanistan. If he isn’t given the tools, guidance and leadership to do his job over there – and do with with muscle and power – this country should never forgive the CIC.

Jake

December 2nd, 2009
12:40 pm

Linda – Unless the Pakis and Israelis start shooting the nukes that WWIII doomsday scenario sounds more like another 7 Days War to me. The rest of the Muslims don’t have any real firepower.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:45 pm

Jake, the Muslims don’t have firepower? Huh, Iran is about to have plenty of it to start WW4.

Hillbilly Deluxe

December 2nd, 2009
12:45 pm

If you were an Afghani, would you stick your neck out against the Taliban, knowing who is going to be around and who isn’t?

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:46 pm

Hillbilly Deluxe, bingo, and who would? President Acorn just told them when to come out of hiding. 2011. It’s like Vietnam all over again except this time the Democrats are purposely planning our demise and the demise of the Afghan people.

Democrats=No one can trust us. Ever.

AF

December 2nd, 2009
12:50 pm

Why a deadline?

Because we cannot create a nation for another people – they have to do it themselves. We have helped the Afghanis write a constitution and hold free elections. We have given them training for their own police and military and held off Qaeda and the Taliban so they could build strength and gain experience.

As long as they think we will hang around and do the hard work for them, they will not take the ultimate and final responsibility themselves.

So, yes, a deadline, not written in stone but held out there to clearly say they have to make their own tough political and military decisions.

If we could start over again, if we could go back eight years and refight this fight, I think we could have been more effective. But we got side-tracked into an unjustified war in Iraq and we lost the opportunity to really make a difference in a strategic, Islamic country. If we could have spent on Afghanistan what we spent in Iraq – in military power, diplomatic focus, and infrastructure building – I think we could have had a different result.

Lesson learned. If we ever have another 9/11 – God forbid – then we do what we started out to do, we do not lose focus, and we do our dirty work. We bring down the government that supported the terrorists who attacked us, we pursue those terrorists with our military whereever they are without regard for political boundries, and we harrass them, we bomb their strongholds, we capture or kill them.

Then, if the rest of the so-called “free world” joins in to build hospitals, schools, sewers, roads, if the rest of the world sends troops to help train local police and military and lets their own troops fight until the local forces are ready, if the rest of the free world participates in building a nation, then we join them in that effort.

Otherwise, we retaliate for the damage done to the US and we leave.

Jake

December 2nd, 2009
12:51 pm

David – That’s why the Israelis almost have to take out the enrichment plants before the Iranians develop the nukes. Also (just my best guess) that’s why Obama started on a different foreign policy tack between his election and inauguration. He got the briefing that let him know just how precarious the situation is. Thank god GWB got the picture and established military bases and presence in the area.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
12:54 pm

Jake, that was a great take on the current situation. I just didn’t know where you were going to go with your comments about Muslims and weapons. Yes, Obama has given Israel no choice but to bomb Iran. Then he will condemn them. Nothing better than an arm chair QB like President Acorn.

Jake

December 2nd, 2009
1:02 pm

AF – Please, enough with the unjustified war against a sovereign nation crap. The mission, despite all the different spins Bushco was forced to put on it, was ensuring the US vital interst in the area, the continued flow of the oil our economy depends on. Afghanistan doesn’t have oil, Iraq does, it’s really that simple. and we now have troops in the area that can be sent into Iran prety quickly, if need be.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

December 2nd, 2009
1:04 pm

Surely it is telling that Chauncey sends his main message – half the forces the commanders say they need, and less than18 months to accomplish the mission – as a shot at the government opposing those who shelter Al Qaeda, and as a beneficial promise to those who would kill us..

Mutts R Stupid

December 2nd, 2009
1:08 pm

AxelFart: If Israel bombs Iran, R U prepared for Iranian missiles loaded with high level radioactive waste to fall on Tele Aviv, making it uninhabitable for a hundred years? Remember, Iran has the missiles and the high level radioactive waste. An attack on Iran by Israel is an act of war, and Iran is well within its rights to fight back with a missile attack. I for one will oppose any mass evacuation of Israel to America, they make the mess, they live with it, not me.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
1:12 pm

Ms. R Stupid, NO, Iran WILL have the missiles to deliver radioactive material because President Acorn doesn’t have the balls to do anything about it. You democrats are a walking talking conundrum. Never any solutions, just doom doom doom. Woe is us, we’re all doomed mentality.

Jimmy Carter helped usher in the Ayatollah over 30 years ago. Nothing like a good dictator appeasing democrat to get us into messes!

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
1:14 pm

Ms R Stupid, how would Iran bomb Israel if Israel takes out the nuke sites?

Mutts R Stupid

December 2nd, 2009
1:15 pm

AxelFart, you have your verb tense wrong, it is not Iran will have, it is Iran has missiles to deliver radioactive waste. Back to Freshman English, boy.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
1:18 pm

Ms R Stupid, do you realize that the Jewish nation of Israel is surrounded by Muslim countries? Interesting that you take the side of the Iranians like they’re some innocent country that has done nothing wrong. Interesting indeed.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
1:22 pm

Ms R Stupid, are you really that retarded? A missile without radioactive material is……….not a radioactive bomb. If Israel takes out the nuke sites…………….no nukes. Make sense?

Steve

December 2nd, 2009
1:27 pm

Once again Obama clearly shows he is out of his league.

AF

December 2nd, 2009
1:35 pm

Jake – at 1:02

So why not invade Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, or Algeria? We import far more from Nigeria than Iraq and Nigeria has a government even weaker than ole Saddam’s was. Are they next?

Oh, it was to position troops closer to Iran, who really is a threat. Oh, they are really the ones with weapons of mass destruction – or the means to make such weapons. It wasn’t Iraq after all. Is Iran next?

Oops, we are getting off subject. This is supposed to be about Afghanistan, the country that was ruled by the Taliban who really did support Qaeda, the ones who really did commit a terrorist act on US soil. So, it would not matter if we invaded Iraq or Nigeria or Iran – we would still have had to attack and invade Afghanistan because that really was the source of the terrorists who attacked the US.

Oh, what the heck. Lets just invade them all.

And, lets cut taxes while we do it.

Horrible Horace

December 2nd, 2009
1:49 pm

Once again the kenyan waffles while his political base, little by little, abandons him. Whenever one trys to please everyone they end result is pleasing no one. This usually learned in ones teens or early 20’s. Guess the Campaigner in chief missed that lesson.

Oh well its still wonderful to watch his hope and change crowd snarl, cry then wet themselves in the realization they have once again been snookered!!

AHH HAHAHAHAA!

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
1:51 pm

Horrible Horace, President Acorn was too busy smoking crack in his 20’s. He has never been criticized in his life. Until now.

Audrey in Georgia

December 2nd, 2009
1:54 pm

The opium fields are the economic base of Afghanistan and the they fund the taliban and
al queda. Once the fields are destroyed and the taliban have no money all of you complaining
about President Obama can go to Afghanistan for a vacation. Tourism will be their new
economic base. Always remember, Bush and Cheney dithered for 8 long years with no
mission accomplished as of this date.

Horrible Horace

December 2nd, 2009
1:56 pm

Its now the kenyan war.

dewstarpath

December 2nd, 2009
2:04 pm

- Axelfraud writes things like:
– dewstarpath writes :

- I guess all the other posters need him to report
what’s on Kyle’s blog.

And yes, I have been in a recruiting office, and not to visit
anyone, thank you.

Davo – good point.

dewstarpath

December 2nd, 2009
2:06 pm

davo – I meant the non-high school variety.

David Axelfraud

December 2nd, 2009
2:08 pm

dewstarpath, no, I do it to address others comments so that they know exactly what I am commenting about.