Originally posted November 4, 2009
Despite the urgent need for more troops in Afghanistan, Barack Obama insisted on delaying any decision until the results of the Afghan election were in. But now, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says "I think the decision will be made in the coming weeks." And because "thinking" it will happen wasn't lame enough, Gibbs emphasized that the decision "may" get made... which leaves open the possibility that it may not.
The timetable for a decision is not artificial: the longer the president stalls, the lower morale plunges in the armed forces, the more soldiers die, and the less likely that there will be time for additional troops to be trained and deployed effectively.
This president, who enjoyed great political success by simply voting "present" on many issues as a senator in Illinois, needs to learn that this isn't an option when it comes to presidential decisions. Ironically, he told re-elected Afghan president Karzai that when it comes to showing leadership "the proof is not going to be in words, it's going to be in deeds." In this, he's entirely right - and his lack of deeds clearly shows that Obama is unfit for the critical job of Commander in Chief.
Our presence (and soon to be absence) in Afghanistan has been very much in the news this week, with Barack Obama stating that he's pulling out all-important troops over the objections of his generals.
And just how did those extra troops get there in the first place? General Stanley McChrystal...the commander and lead strategist for Afghanistan at the time...issued a report saying that 40,000 additional troops were urgently needed to avoid "total mission failure." This was issued in a report because the president had only talked with McChrystal once...and the president was pressed into acting on it because the document was leaked to the press before being suppressed.
So what did Obama do then? Diddly-squat. He postponed making the decision for months (enjoying vacations and golf outings along the way). When public outrage grew, he arranged a quick nighttime photo-op in which he saluted a single flag-draped coffin to show how "seriously" he took making any decision. On a side note, there were multiple flag-draped coffins at the airport where Obama brought his photographers... but all but one of the military families refused to give permission to the president to use their dead as cheap political props.
After months of stalling, Obama finally agreed to send in additional troops - albeit fewer than requested...and simultaneously announced a timetable for pulling them out again, victorious or not. Apparently "Military Strategy 101" wasn't taught at Harvard.
The new troops made a huge difference. But to consolidate their victories, they need to stay in place through the critical fighting season coming in late 2012. But that's not going to happen.
They'll be gone by September...just in time to look good for the 2012 elections. And of course, the consequences of their withdrawal won't occur until after the elections...which, like the lives of soldiers and the cause of freedom, is of no interest to Barack Hussein Obama at all.