The situation in Afghanistan is like a poker game. There are only three options for action: raise, call or fold. The President seems to be unable to pick one which has the American public on both sides of the war debate as well as our military leaders tearing out their hair.
During his campaign for the White House President Obama said,
“We have seen Afghanistan worsen, deteriorate. We need more troops there. We need more resources there … I would send two to three additional brigades to Afghanistan.” (Sept. 26, 2008)
He promised to send another ten to fifteen thousand troops to help those already there. He also declared that the war in Afghanistan was the proper front against terror. Now that he is Commander-in Chief his vision seems to be less clear.
The military commanders gave the President four troop deployment options earlier this week but he refused all four. Not for military reasons but because of some hooey about the corruption of the government in Kabul and their inability to run a fair election. Mr. President, if our support for governments was based on if they were corrupt or not and could run a fair election we would have pulled federal funding from Chicago and New Orleans years ago. The problem with pulling out of Afghanistan, or Chicago and New Orleans for that matter is that they would fall into violent anarchy. We have already seen that happen in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Current thinking on what to do in Afghanistan is based on two faulty assumptions. The first is that wars are clear and concise events with specific outcomes and easy to find exit points. When John McCain told us the truth about how long we might be in Iraq we didn’t want to hear it. We have been in Japan and Germany for over sixty years and in the Philippines for much longer. I wonder if back during the Spanish- American War leftist were telling the President that the Philippines were tribal islands and would never be able to be organized into a stable democratic government.
The second faulty assumption is that if we walk away from Afghanistan; simply pull all of our troops out, the war it then over. How long would it be before the Taliban was running things again and Al Qaeda was using it as a base of operations? We will be fighting the same people again in the future, perhaps armed with nuclear weapons from Iran or Pakistan. Our national attention span has shortened to Twitterish dimensions while our enemies think in terms of centuries.
The real problem for President Obama is that is if he deploys more troops and commits to staying then Afghanistan is no longer Bush’s war but his. Not even a year into his term and he is already worried about his legacy rather than doing what is best for the country. He is worried that his presidency will get bogged down in the battle for liberty instead of being able to focus on strengthening ACORN and the SEIU.
The left doesn’t mind waging long costly and non-winnable wars if they start them. Look at the war on poverty and the war on drugs. Our cities are littered with the lost lives of those wars but we never seem to find the cost too high. We have thrown enough money into those two rat holes to finance Iraq and Afghanistan for the next fifty years and toss in twenty years of free government healthcare to boot. Do we have an exit strategy from the Welfare State, Mr. President?