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!

Obama’s Political Pullout in Afghanistan. by The Elephant's Child

Deeply unimpressive  speech.  The magic is gone.  This is a political drawdown in Afghanistan, that is not about foreign policy or our military, but about trying to win back his anti-war base.  He shows no more understanding of geopolitics than he did as a candidate.

So now we’re going to “join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban.” And how is that to be accomplished?  He lectures the Afghan government telling them what they must do.  And he tells the ‘Pockistahn’ government what they must do as well.  Obama is given to meaningless platitudes, and pretty words no longer suffice:

We must chart a more centered course.  Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events.  But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute.  When threatened, we must respond with force –- but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas.  When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own.

In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -– it is the principles upon which our union was founded.  We’re a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens.  We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others.

I’m sorry, but that is not clear thought, but garbled nonsense. It is unfortunate that he is not listening to his generals, but apparently to Samantha Power who thinks that America must only get involved when genocide is threatened.  So we’re getting out of Afghanistan and spending $100 million a day in Libya, where our national interest is?

The worst line?

America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.

Liberal reporter Thomas Friedman has been sticking that line in every column for weeks.  We’ve already had too much governmental attempts at nation building, and it certainly doesn’t work here.  Our problem is lots of government interference in the economy by people who don’t know what they’re doing.

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