On the heels of Obama’s version of a “Mission Accomplished speech” just three days ago, apparently some militants in Afghanistan are registering their thumbs up by executing twin suicide bombings in the following days. On Friday, ten people were killed, 24 wounded, by a bicycle bomb detonated in a busy bazaar in Khad Abad district of the northern province of Kunduz. 24 hours later, a car bombing at a hospital in Logar province, just south of Kabul, killed 60, wounded 120. The hospital attack has been called “unprecedented” in the history of the near-decade-long Afghan war by officials.
President Karzai, criticizing Obama’s politically expedient announcement of the US “bug out”, issued a statement stating that that militancy was on the rise in both his country and the Middle East region.
“Not only has Afghanistan not yet achieved peace and security but terrorism is expanding and threatening more than ever Afghanistan and the region,” he told the opening session.
But leaving a country in shambles, unprotected, while promising that the global Islamic jihad movement will be seeing the backs of US soldiers soon, is only half the story of the second time the US has abandoned Afghanistan. In their current status as a high security risk, there is no way the country could be considered an opportune gem by private investors, capable of exploiting Afghanistan’s natural resources, and launching that nation’s entry into the world economy as a player. Indeed, the generations of Afghanistans have all but lost their knowledge of farming for food, substituting it for the more lucrative crop of poppies and heroin. But in one fell swoop, Obama is not only chopping off any possible bright economic future, no longer dependent upon heroin but Afghanistan’s natural mineral resources, but stripping the country of 97% of it’s current GDP. Strip out the military and all associated economic trends associated, and the country is not only left devasted by war, but impoverished… and with little way to rebuild it’s own limited infrastructure.
As Mark Steyn points out in his always stellar commentary, “SpeechWorld vs RealWorld” the word “winning” – when it comes to wars, and not elections – is just not in Obama’s vocabulary.
Unlike [CBO’s] Douglas Elmendorf, the Taliban do estimate speeches, and they correctly concluded from the president’s 2009 speech that all they need to do is run out the clock and all or most of the country will be theirs once more. Last week’s update confirmed their estimate. “Winning” is not in Obama’s vocabulary.
Oh, wait. That’s not true. In an earlier unestimated speech, he declared he was committed to “winning the future,” “winning the future” at some unspecified time in the future being a lot easier than winning the war.
In fairness, it’s been two-thirds of a century since America has unambiguously won a war, but throughout that period most presidents were at least notionally committed to the possibility of victory. Obama seems to regard the very concept as something boorish and vulgar that would cause him embarrassment if it came up at dinner parties. So place your bets on how long it will be before Mullah Omar’s back in town. And then ask yourself if America will have anything to show for its decade in Afghanistan that it wouldn’t have had if it had just quit two weeks after toppling the Taliban in the fall of 2001 and left the mullahs, warlords, poppy barons, and pederasts to have at each other without the distraction of extravagant NATO reconstruction projects littering their beautiful land of charmingly unspoilt rubble.
That’s not how the president put it, of course. But then the delightful appeal of an Obama speech is the ever wider gulf between Speechworld and Reality. So in this instance he framed our retreat from the Hindu Kush as an excellent opportunity to stop wasting money overseas and start wasting even more in Washington. Or in his words:
“America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home.”
Gee, thanks. If America were a Kandahar wedding, that would be the cue to fire your rifle in the air and grab the cutest nine-year-old boy.
General David Petraeus, successor as NATO guru in Afghanistan, was on the horn within 24 hours after Obama’s “bug out” promises, stating it was a far more aggressive withdrawal than advised by commanders on the ground.
Ya think? Within 48 hours, militants are quite busy blowing up women and children, pointing out to the world that Afghanistan is no where near ready to assume their own security.
Of course, it was only another 24 hours after those remarks that Petraeus was making the rounds, saying he supported Obama’s decision. Must be extremely tough to be a gifted military officer, under the command of a blithering idiot.
Then again, Obama’s decision came as no surprise. When they asked for more “surge” troops, Obama cut that number down. Why would we be surprised if he took back that pittance of troops supplied in a faster manner than deemed wise when backing out of what is an inconvenient war during an election campaign? What we have learned about this POTUS in his three years is that if there’s a way to run a war half assed, Obama has demonstrated remarkable skill in doing so. Ignore the real military leaders, make the active theatre troops do more with less, and meantime take Hillary, Susan Rice and Samatha Power’s advice to start yet another war in Libya.
While many families rightly celebrate the anticipated return of their warriors to US soil, my mind goes back to those that are left behind… to again do more with less, and in a war where violence is escalating, and not winding down.
But the moment that the US confirmed the Bin Laden kill, Obama had his political “out” in announcing a “bugging out”. I guess it doesn’t really matter that we went into Afghanistan in a war against the Taliban, with the expressed desire of regime change, because they harbored Bin Laden and AQ elements. We can only wonder why Bin Laden’s death alters that original intent, as the only place that may be out from under the Taliban’s thumb is the central government’s urban clusters of towns. The outlying tribal areas are firmly entrenched in Taliban and militant control… and only getting more bold.
There is no doubt that Afghanistan presents an entirely different challenge for success than Iraq. The country lacks all of the elements that would bond tribes in a need for a central government which would provide infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and invite an economic environment enticing to foreign investors. But what is undeniable is that a politically expedient withdrawal is nothing short of failure. The country will enjoy no lasting benefits from being war ravaged for a decade, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the hotbed of unchecked militants it was before the US and coalition went in.
In the end, the only “mission” that Obama has accomplished is to put a pretty face on “bugging out” and failure for an election talking point, and a desperate attempt to appease his far left anti war base.
But then… there’s still Libya.