American Elephants

And What Happens When the U.S. Pulls Out? by The Elephant's Child

President Obama’s “cut and run” Afghanistan speech has caused a blossoming of unintended consequences. “Can the last NATO ally out of Afghanistan please turn off the lights?” said the Wall Street Journal. By Thursday morning France’s Nicholas Sarkozy had endorsed the U.S. pullback and unveiled his own plans to withdraw a quarter of his own troops, starting next month.

Poland’s Prime Minister will conform their actions to the US strategy, and move their 2,560 soldiers from combat to training. Germany, Italy and Canada had already planned to reduce their troops. The U.S. does the bulk of the heavy fighting, and other NATO nations play a supporting role. If America says they’re heading out, their allies aren’t going to stick around.

The military leadership believes the decision is a mistake, especially the decision to withdraw the remainder of the surge troops by September 2012, but they have no choice but to endorse the president’s decision after giving him their best advice. The Chairman of the Joint chiefs said that they believe the decision will increase the risk to the troops and increase the chance that the mission will not succeed. The president’s decision is based on a political calculation, and he wants the troops out two months before the 2012 election, so he can brag about bringing our boys home.

Mr. Obama forgets that the Taliban will receive the news of his speech too, and will direct their efforts accordingly.  he U.S made a huge mistake in turning its back on Afghanistan when the Soviets pulled out in 1989.  Now Obama seems ready to make the same mistake.

Obama has been consistent in his opposition to the War in Iraq, calling it “a dumb war,” and indicating that the only real war was in Afghanistan to pursue Osama bin Laden. Clearly, his understanding of the military and what they do is unusually superficial. He doesn’t understand the language (corpse-man?),  and I’d guess has never read a history of a war— any war. No Tom Clancy or Harold Coyle in his vacation reading either.

In both Iraq and Afghanistan he has made the mistake of telling our enemies there when we would leave, so they could make their plans accordingly. He is far more comfortable sending drones to kill the enemy than with military strategy, yet under Obama the U.S. casualty rate has increased 5-fold. The withdrawal plan signals to both our Afghan allies and enemy forces that the  U.S. is more committed to withdrawing its forces than to the long-term go al of stabilizing the country. The words “win” or “victory” have never to my knowledge crossed his lips.  Oh wait— there’s the ubiquitous “win the future.”

“Now,” he said, “we must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. “

The man is obsessed with infrastructure (always crumbling), and maybe this time it will be “shovel-ready.” But did you notice that “living within our means.” Gosh, last year we spent a trillion dollars more than we received in revenue. Living within our means indeed!

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