The Terrible Ifs Accumulate. . .
Topic: Decline of the West
This is painful to watch.
Back in March, President Obama did what I and many other observers believed to be the right thing: he appointed a new commander for Afghanistan and expressed a renewed commitment to victory in that protracted and difficult conflict. The war in Afghanistan, he told us, was one that America could not afford to lose.
Having assessed the situation on the ground, the new commander, General Stanley McChrystal, concluded that without a major commitment of additional forces and a switch to an energetic counterinsurgency strategy, the US could indeed lose the war. His recommendations call for the dispatch of an additional 45,000 troops to Afghanistan.
To say that McChrystal's assessment was unwelcome to the White House would be to understate the case by an order of magnitude. It was received there with consternation verging on panic. Polls show that the American people are dubious about the war in Afghanistan, while Obama's progressive base is up in arms at the possibility of "escalation." Having claimed for years that Iraq (a war of choice) was a distraction from Afghanistan (a war of necessity), progressives are now showing their true colors in the form of a white flag. And it appears that the President is fearful of antagonizing them.
As a result, we now have before us the pathetic spectacle of a nervous White House seeking to cut the ground from beneath the feet of its own hand-picked commander. Were it not for the fact that so many lives are at stake, the spectacle of that noted strategist, Vice President Joe Biden, emerging as General McChrystal's most vocal critic inside the Administration would be laughable. Joe Biden! The man who's been wrong on just about every foreign policy issue for the past quarter-century! It beggars parody.
On Face the Nation today, Obama's national security advisor, retired General Jim Jones, sought to downplay the seriousness of the situation in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, his soothing assurances coincided with the terrible news that ten US troops had just been killed in a Taliban attack—news that lent Jones' comments a disturbing air of unreality.
This isn't the stimulus package or card check or the Olympics. This is a life-and-death issue. It involves the safety and security of our country. It also involves hundreds of thousands of Americans in uniform, of whom my own daughter is one. If the President of the United States is too fearful of the political consequences to do what it takes to achieve victory, then I can't support him on the war.
It would be a terrible thing to abandon Afghanistan at this stage—a disastrous setback for the US and a catastrophe for the people of that unfortunate country. It would be worse, however, to sacrifice the lives of our troops for the sake of the Biden Doctrine. Either fight to win, Mr. President, or bring them home.
Posted by tmg110
at 4:16 PM EDT