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President Obama’s Afghanistan Speech: Woefully Incompetent, Dangerously Irresponsible

June 22, 2011

“America, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home,” said President Obama during his speech outlining his plans for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. First, I’m not the President of the United States and all, but I’m pretty sure we’ve been a nation for a good long while. And as Jonah Goldberg said on Twitter “Just get it over with and declare Tom Friedman the King’s Hand.” But, I suppose we should at least give President Obama credit for his honesty in admitting that he can’t handle the job; I mean, shouldn’t a President be able to multi-task? Shouldn’t the leader of the free world be able to handle domestic issues and foreign policy, you know, at the same time? What happened to that whole ‘I can answer that 3:00 am call’ thing? They must not teach that in Community Organizing seminars.

They also don’t seem to teach the what should be obvious idea of “do not tell your enemies when you are leaving” because his plan is as follows:

President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision.

These troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they reflect mounting political and economic pressures at home, as the president faces relentless budget pressures and an increasingly restive Congress and American public…

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces as possible for another fighting season, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent fighting.

Note, this is a far greater reduction than military commanders advised, but when did that ever stop him? His surge approval, over which he dithered for months, was for far less than they wanted. I’m sure he’d just remind us all how he is the one with the ‘gutsy calls’ and all. Who needs military experts or the advice of people on the ground? That’s for mere mortals. President Obama once again proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that not only is he woefully incompetent as an Executive, but he is also dangerously irresponsible as a Commander in Chief.

During his speech, he claimed that we can leave now because we met commitments and there are “new opportunities being created for women and girls.’ Yet, he then also said “America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban.” Um. We spent a decade fighting a war to oust the Taliban and now we are going to return them to a governing role again? So these new opportunities for women and girls are what? New methods of stoning and permanent ‘vacations’ from school?

He also had the audacity to discuss the ‘principles upon which our union was founded’; principles he clearly either does not understand or he holds in utter disdain. Then, during the course of his stump speech preview which, make no mistake, this was, he uttered the phrase – with a straight face, unbelievably – “all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.” Really, President Obama? First, the Taliban exemplifies neither freedom nor dignity.

Secondly, how about you start practicing that preach here. That’s what we Americans want, actually. Leave us be and get out of our way. Our nation was already built and we like it. We do not want, nor need, your ‘nation-building’, which is in actuality tearing us down. I know reality is hard for you to see from your ivory tower perch, but hopefully you’ll get the hint soon enough. Come election time. He ended, in part, by saying “Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story.”

Then why do you keep doing everything in your power to interfere with the American Dream? And why does your Presidency feel more like a nightmare?

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23 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2011 12:17 am

    Sadly, the biggest fight Pres. Obama is concerned about winning is that of his reelection. Afghanistan is a distant second unless he can take credit for a “gutsy call” like the killing of OBL. When this country went to war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it wasn’t a fight to a certain date to appease a political base, it was a fight until we gained the inevitable triumph so help us God. Sadly when this country goes to war now, it’s not to win and only lasts as long as it’s politically convenient. That is both tragic and criminal. Our men and women in uniform deserve better as do the victims of 9/11 who IMO have not yet been sufficiently avenged.

    • molten permalink
      June 25, 2011 9:32 am

      Daniel,

      What exactly would a “win” in Afghanistan look like to you?

      What, in your opinion, needs to be done to “sufficiently avenge” the victims of 9/11?

      Lori says that… “We spent a decade fighting a war to oust the Taliban and now we are going to return them to a governing role again?”

      First of all, it didn’t take us a decade to oust the Taliban from power. They took control of the Afghan government in 1996, and we “ousted” them from that role in 2001.

      Lori may think that we can “oust” every single Taliban member from the country of Afghanistan if we stay there long enough, but that’s just wishful thinking on her part, especially with the current support that they’re receiving from Pakistan.

      The Taliban are, after all, comprised mostly of Pashtun tribesmen, who are the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan. They aren’t going anywhere.

      Did you folks ever consider that maybe the Taliban isn’t “oustable,” and that just maybe our attempt at nation building in Afghanistan is a fools errand? Maybe our men and women in uniform deserve better than to be stuck in a quagmire for another decade or longer. Did you ever think about that?

      Obama is not surrendering. In the short run, there will be more continuity than change in U.S. policy. Even after another fifteen months, U.S. force levels will be close to seventy thousand, approximately two times what they were when the president assumed office.

      A greater U.S. military effort will not produce results that will endure or that would justify our investment, which is currenty roughly one of every six dollars of our military budget.

      Lofty goals of democracy and gender equality are impossible to attain in a country like Afghanistan. If you’re familiar with the history of the last two attempts at that type of reform in Afghanistan, you know that this is true. Our goal moving forward should be just enough troops to conduct counterterrorist operations and advise and train local and national Afghan military and police.

      We will be in Afghanistan for decades to come, but we can not expect democracy and gender equality there any more than we can in countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or Yemen. That’s up to the people of those countries to decide, not American troops. We’re flushing blood and treasure down the toilet right now trying to acheive those ridiculous goals.

      What Obama is doing is smart, and public opinion in this country is on his side.

  2. Pat Patterson permalink
    June 23, 2011 2:44 am

    This extactly mirrors the decision of the Democratic Congress in cutting off funding for th war in Vietnam. There argument was that there were more pressing domestic issues and that the public had turned against the war. What they ignored was that the same domestic issues have been with the Republic since its founding and that the public only turned against the war after it realized the government and the elites had lost stomach. Then they wondered why should any more soldiers die if the leaders were merely looking for a face-saving exit.

  3. Todd from CT permalink
    June 26, 2011 3:58 pm

    Amen Daniel!

    molten, you made so OK points…but you lost me at:

    “What Obama is doing is smart, and public opinion in this country is on his side.”

    Come on mol, are you paying attention? Obama is so in over his head, yet the apologists just can’t see it.

    Wrong on 787 billion dollar “stimulus”

    Wrong on “ObamaCare”

    Wrong on cash for clunckers

    Wrong on the czars

    and this week…wrong without his teleprompter!

    • molten permalink
      June 28, 2011 4:26 pm

      Hey Todd,

      If I lost you at “public opinion is on his side,” then maybe it’s you who isn’t paying attention..

      A new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll finds a 44 percent plurality of Americans say Obama is handling the drawdown from the Afghanistan war “about right.” Roughly three in 10 (29 percent) say he is not withdrawing quickly enough and 14 percent say he is moving too quickly. The survey was conducted after Obama’s primetime address last Wednesday detailing his plan to bring home 10,000 troops by the end of the year and 23,000 more by next summer. More than seven in 10 adults in a Post-ABC poll earlier this month supported removing a substantial number of troops this summer, but fewer – 43 percent – said they thought it would actually happen.

      The Afghanistan Study Group, a bipartisan group of public policy analysts recently conducted a survey which found that self-identified conservative and Tea Party voters are very concerned about the costs of continued nation-building in Afghanistan. The survey found that 71% of conservative voters are concerned about the price tag of continued war in Afghanistan and worried that the cost will make it more difficult to reduce the deficit this year and balance the Federal budget by the end of this decade. More interestingly, two thirds of respondents said that either Washington should reduce troop levels in Afghanistan or withdraw from the region altogether “as soon as possible,” with 39% calling for troop reductions and 27% favoring a full withdrawal. Only 24% of self-identified conservatives supported maintaining present troop levels.

      A USA Today / Gallup poll conducted January 14-16, 2011 also reported that, while still coming behind an overwhelming 86% majority of Democrats and 72% majority of independents, there was now also a clear 61% majority of self-identified conservatives calling for an accelerated withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

      Now, we can argue about stimulus, healthcare, cash for clunkers, or politicians who say stupid things if you’d like, but on the topic of czars, you really don’t have a leg to stand on.

      The idea of executive branch czars is hardly a new one. The first czar positions were created in the 1940s. It was under the Reagan administration that the Republican Senate created the position of a national Drug Czar. President George W. Bush appointed some 40 individuals to 36 different czar positions. As a point of comparison President Obama has 31 executive appointed czars.

      Czars are business as usual in Washington, and have been for many years. Time to get over it..

  4. June 26, 2011 7:17 pm

    Molten,

    General Petraeus (a true strategist and tactician) disagrees with you,

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/100093763/general-david-petraeus-tells-senators-he-disagress-with-barack-obama-but-im-no-quitter/

    What is “victory”? The same thing it was in Iraq that liberals pretended was never detailed, a Iraq/Afghanistan that is able to govern and defend itself enabling us to leave. Iraq is mostly there but still, corruption is a major problem. We worked from the top-down instead of the bottom-up when it came to government in Iraq, a detail which I think (though I am no expert) might have made difference. That said, Petraeus was one of the few who understood COIN (COunter INsurgency) and the importance of local sheiks and tribal leaders in daily Iraqi life. It was his surge tactic (which Obama was very vocally opposed to at the time but belatedly used in Afghanistan) which turned the tide in Iraq and if allowed to continue can work in Afghanistan though the lack of even basic infrastructure outside the few cities makes that much more difficult plus the corruption in the Afghan govt let alone the safe havens AQ/Taliban has in Pakistan. It wont be easy and I don’t know when it’ll end or how much it’ll cost but when we send our military in to fight, it should be to WIN DAMNIT!! Not just until it’s no longer politically convenient or popular in the damn polls. Our troops deserve better, the victims of 9/11 deserve better. If nothing else, the troops deserve a leader who can at least get the name of a Medal of Honor recipient right (imagine if Bush or Palin had done this for just a moment if you would),

    http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-sheffield/2011/06/24/obama-makes-another-military-gaffe-mistakes-fallen-soldier-living

  5. molten permalink
    June 28, 2011 5:53 pm

    Daniel,

    You outline very nicely the huge differences between Iraq and Afghanistan, but then you state that the same policies can succeed in both countries. I’ll have to disagree with you on that one. Your statement that “victory” would be an “Iraq/Afghanistan that is able to govern and defend itself enabling us to leave” is just silly considering the history of both of these countries. If that is the goal, then we’ll never be able to leave.

    It is nice of us to have made Iraq safe enough for the Chinese to open up oil fields there, even as American casualties in Iraq are currently at a two year high. (Eleven of our troops have been killed there this month alone)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/29/world/asia/29chinairaq.html

    I understand that you’d like to see 100,000 of our troops “nation building” in Afghanistan for an indefinite period of time, but that isn’t the job description of our military. They definitely deserve better than that, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that a whole lot of our troops feel the same way.

    As of Tuesday, June 28, 2011, at least 4,466 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

    At least 3,517 Defense Department civilian personnel have died as a result of hostile action, according to the military’s numbers.

    Since the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq, 32,130 U.S. service members have been seriously wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department’s weekly tally.

    As of Tuesday, June 28, 2011, at least 1,534 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count.

    Since the start of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, 12,306 U.S. service members have been seriously wounded in hostile action, according to the Defense Department.

    According to Defense Department statistics, the military saw 434 suicides in 2010, compared with 462 combat deaths. More than 1,500 troops committed suicide between 2005 and 2010.

    That’s about 54,000 of our men and women killed or injured in these two wars. Add to that the epidemic of suicides in the military since these two wars began, the 3,000 plus killed in 9/11, and the roughly 1.2 Trillion taxpayer dollars that we’ve spent trying to drag those fuckers kicking and screaming into the 21st century, and I’d say it’s about time we fought smart and let our superior technology kill the bad guys for awhile..

    Drone on, Obama!

  6. molten permalink
    June 28, 2011 6:09 pm

    Oh, and I don’t have to “imagine” Bush or Palin making gaffes equal to that of Obama, there’s plenty of documentation of their individual vocal blunders online.

    Politicians make mistakes, just like the rest of us. I tend to let most of that stuff slide regardless of political affiliation, but I do find it amusing.

    • ant permalink
      August 7, 2011 2:21 am

      Molly, how’s that ‘temporary’ unemployment checks and food stamps thingy been working out for the US lately? tick…tick…tick…time IS of the essence.

      • molten permalink
        August 13, 2011 9:28 am

        Why don’t you tell me, Pissant? You’re the one who is unemployed and on food stamps here. How’s it been working out for you?

        • ant permalink
          August 15, 2011 12:16 am

          Oh, is that a fact? Yeah, you’re right, I’m also a recipient of Pigford funds, UN dues, and some of that tax money the administration siphons off to Hamas, “..but you old folks ain’t gonna be gettin no mo of that SS monies we been so gracious enough to give back, not that we spent it, no, because Teapartiers are meanies..”. Tell me,do you still beat your wife/husband?

        • ant permalink
          August 15, 2011 12:19 am

          I asked you a question, by the way, on the genius Pelosi stimulus. Care to answer it? How’s that unemployment and food stamp spending workin’ out? 39% approval.

          • molten permalink
            August 17, 2011 7:09 pm

            Bush got down to 25% approval. His daddy fell to 29%. Clinton had a low of 37%, Reagan hit 35%…In other words, I’m not too concerned about our current president. Let me know when he gets to Truman levels, then we’ll talk.

            • ant permalink
              August 17, 2011 11:04 pm

              Didn’t ask you about approval numbers. “Bush..blah,blah,blah.”Friggin’ typical.

  7. June 28, 2011 10:19 pm

    “all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.”

    Hmm so the Taliban are claiming responsibility for the horrendous attacks in Afghanistan today. Seems neither freedom loving or dignified to me.

  8. JohnmonTX permalink
    September 18, 2011 9:35 pm

    Really sorry this blog has gone dormant. (I”m writing this 4 months after last posting) I hope there isn’t a health reason. Good luck and God bless you.

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  10. July 9, 2012 6:39 pm

    I would merely guffah at this revelation (or perhaps maybe even slightly chortle) if it were coming from a 3rd string Stop’n’Rob shift manger who admitted after more than a year on the job that he really has no ide-eer how that magically mysterious ICEee machine works. (Ice gnomes?) But alack, this is from the President Of The United States. *Face Palm Deluxe*

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  12. Just Saying permalink
    April 28, 2014 10:44 am

    Obama is an incompetent buffoon. He’s never been anything but that – the fact that the majority of Americans elected him to hold the office of President, says more about the people of this Once Great Nation, than it does about him. He is an idiot. And people put him in power – that is why I am taking advantage of this country’s decline – and it is declining. We are well on our way to being a 3rd world hell-hole. At least Putin has balls…

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