Friday, September 03, 2010

What does Obama truly believe about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Charles Krauthammer notes that President Obama is so ambivalent on being a wartime leader that he has formed policy decisions based on domestic concerns. This has led to the feeling that Obama regards the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as distractions from all the domestic transformations that he seeks to make in domestic policy.
Many have charged that President Obama's decision to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan 10 months from now is hampering our war effort. But now it's official. In a stunning statement last week, Marine Corps Commandant James Conway admitted that the July 2011 date is "probably giving our enemy sustenance."

A remarkably bold charge for an active military officer. It stops just short of suggesting aiding and abetting the enemy. Yet the observation is obvious: It is surely harder to prevail in a war that hinges on the allegiance of the locals when they hear the U.S. president talk of beginning a withdrawal that will ultimately leave them to the mercies of the Taliban.

How did Obama come to this decision? "Our Afghan policy was focused as much as anything on domestic politics," an Obama adviser told the New York Times' Peter Baker. "He would not risk losing the moderate to centrist Democrats in the middle of health insurance reform and he viewed that legislation as the make-or-break legislation for his administration."

If this is true, then Obama's military leadership can only be called scandalous. During the past week, 22 Americans were killed over a four-day period in Afghanistan. This is not a place about which decisions should be made in order to placate members of Congress, pass health care and thereby maintain a president's political standing. This is a place about which a president should make decisions to best succeed in the military mission he himself has set out.
Paul Mirengoff is more aggressive in characterizing Obama's words on the wars. He calls the President "two-faced" when he compares the words that Obama spoke when he spoke to soldiers at Fort Bliss on Tuesday. As Doug Feith points out, the President said something to those soldiers that I don't believe that he has not said before in public.
When President Obama spoke earlier in the day on August 31 to soldiers at Ft. Bliss, he made a notable acknowledgement that the war in Iraq had contributed to the well-being not only of Iraqis, but Americans too. He said that “because of the extraordinary service that all of you have done, and so many people here at Fort Bliss have done, Iraq has an opportunity to create a better future for itself, and America is more secure.”
Have you heard the President characterize the war in Iraq as important to America's security before? Wasn't that exactly what they argued against since 2004? Arguing that the Bush's bad decisions on Iraq had weakened the United States was the mantra of the Democrats from John Kerry to Barack Obama. But, when speaking to soldiers, that was what Obama is now willing to claim, but not to the American public when he spoke from the Oval Office. He isn't willing to rally support for the wars he is leading the American forces in fighting by explaining to the American people why it is important for us to be fighting there. That would just be a distraction from his domestic agenda and we've seen how poorly he has been able to rally American support for that agenda, why should we be surprised that he can't rally their support for wars that he doesn't want to be fighting in the first place?

Meanwhile, this cartoon that Lucianne is featuring perfectly captures Barack Obama's approach to the whole blaming Bush game.