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September 23, 2009

Is Obama sacrificing Afghanistan for Obamacare?

Topics: Police Brutality and Corruption

As PoliPundit aptly notes, President Obama appears willing to sacrifice Afghanistan to mollify his far left, ultra-liberal, base in order to buy support for and push through Obamacare. However, even the ultra-liberal Washington Post editorial board appears to have problems with that:

[...] The generals believed they had Mr. Obama's commitment to their approach after the policy review last spring. Now the president appears to be distancing himself from his commanders -- including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, who testified before Congress last week that more forces would be needed.

What has changed since March? As Mr. Obama noted, Afghanistan's presidential election has been plagued by allegations of fraud, sharpening questions about whether the government can be a reliable partner. Taliban attacks are spreading despite the deployment of 21,000 additional troops approved by the president earlier this year. Some in and outside the administration have argued for a more limited strategy centered on striking al-Qaeda's leaders, giving up the more ambitious political and economic tasks built into the counterinsurgency doctrine.

It's hard to see, however, how Mr. Obama can refute the analysis he offered last March. "If the Afghan government falls to the Taliban or allows al-Qaeda to go unchallenged," he said then, "that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can." Afghanistan, he continued, "is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan," where al-Qaeda and the Taliban now aim at seizing control of a state that possesses nuclear weapons. Moreover, Mr. Obama said, "a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance . . . and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people -- especially women and girls."

[...] "To succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban's gains, and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government," Mr. Obama concluded. As Gen. McChrystal's report makes very clear, keeping faith with that goal will require more troops, more resources and years of patience. Yet to break with it would both dishonor and endanger this country. As the president put it, "the world cannot afford the price that will come due if Afghanistan slides back into chaos." ( all emphasis mine)

Let's take a look at what Barack said in Kabal on July 20, 2008 during his trip to Afghanistan when he was trying to appear moderate and strong on defense of America - before the election:
Afghanistan must become "the central front" in the war on terror, Barack Obama said Sunday in the Afghan capital, sharpening his policy clash with John McCain over whether the war in Iraq has been a distraction from that effort.

Obama has pledged to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan and to focus more on terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan.

"We have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan, and I believe this has to be the central focus, the central front, in the battle against terrorism," Obama said in an interview with CBS News.

Just words? Or has something changed - like anger from his base? Certainly the need to stop al-Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a base to attack the free world, hasn't changed. Could the answer have something to do with PoliPundit's premise - sacrificing Afghanistan in order to buy support from his base for Obamacare? Or, on the other hand, could it he simply lacks the inner strength and leadership to make hard decisions and separate what's critical to our national security from politics and polls, and listen to his generals, as George Bush finally did in Iraq? In either case, the net result is the loss of Afghanistan and consequently, giving the Taliban a base to threaten Pakistan and its nuclear weapons, which would be a disaster for the West. Not exactly the kind of change Americans thought they were voting for.

Posted by Richard at September 23, 2009 4:55 AM

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