President Barack Obama on Thursday called on his fractious Afghanistan team to unite following his decision to replace General Stanley McChrystal as commander of the war effort.
Having just narrowly averted a military coup by firing McChrystal, he will need to get ready for more “we are losing the war in Afghanistan” stories. Remember Bora Bora? As John Kerry mindlessly noted—again—as late as December 2009, we never would have had to increase our troop strength in Afghanistan but for Bush having “failed to capture Bin Laden in Bora Bora” in December 2001. That was proof that Bush was losing the war in Afghanistan, caused by his sideshow war in Iraq. During Kerry and Obama’s presidential campaigns, they were in love with the notion of Afghanistan as the “smart” and good war, but there are no signs of the imminent capture of Bin Laden on the horizon. Talks of a “good war” have also long disappeared from the Democrats’ vocabulary. Afghanistan has morphed into a strategic muddle. The hopes we had about Karzai forming a strong central government were dashed a long time ago.
I would like to see Obama articulate why we are in Afghanistan. Is it to capture Bin Laden? Destroy Al-Qaeda? Nation build? Prevent Pakistan from being taken over by the Taliban? What is its purpose? Are we losing? This is a war about which he has said the word “victory” does not apply; does that mean the word “losing” also does not apply? I am open to a strongly reasoned argument. But as with his immeasurable and ridiculous “jobs saved or created” construct, a war which one cannot apply the word “victory” is insanity. But this is how our “genius” president thinks. The reality is he just wishes it would all go away. But it won’t. He has no understanding or vision about what the United States’ role in the world should be. And now the spotlight is going to get brighter in Afghanistan.
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