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Retreat in Afghanistan

Posted on September 23 2009 12:46 pm
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President Obama told the UN General Assembly this morning that “we will permit no safe-haven for al Qaeda to launch attacks from Afghanistan or any other nation.” 

Nice words.  Yet his actions — or, more precisely, his inaction — are beginning to undercut his rhetoric.   President Obama appears to be retreating from Afghanistan. As Bill O’Reilly pointed out on the Factor last night, this would represent a stunning victory for al Qaeda.

Instead of accepting the recommendation of his field commander on the ground, General Stanley McChrystal, for the deployment of an additional 30,000-40,000 troops to prevent a probable military failure in Afghanistan, the Obama administration is dragging its feet. The Taliban (al Qaeda’s surrogate and former protector) are making a comeback, not because they are beloved by the people but because they are preying on fear and filling a vacuum.  To prevent al Qaeda from regaining safe havens in Afghanistan, the Taliban must be stopped.  This requires smart counter-insurgency strategies and a surge of the type that worked so successfully in Iraq.

Instead, the Obama administration wants to first undertake yet another strategic review of the area.  It is even barring General McChrystal from airing his views to Congress until the administration sorts out what it wants to do.   You would think that nine months should have been enough time to formulate a policy that meets the stated objective of preventing al Qaeda from reestablishing safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  And whatever happened to the partnerhip between the executive and legislative branches in wartime that we were promised?

Joe Biden — who opposed the successful surge in Iraq as did Obama — wants to scale down our military commitment.   This is the precise opposite of what the field commander is recommending.  And this is the same Joe Biden who had previously suggested dividing Iraq into three parts — the split-the-baby solution.  He was wrong in Iraq and he is wrong in Afghanistan. 

Time is of the essence, Mr. President.   Listen to your general, not Joe Biden or the left-wing, anti-war contingent of your party.

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