National Security

Obama's Obsession With 'Ending' Afghanistan

Add another item to Obama's long list of foreign policy failures.

May 28, 2014

Ahead of Barack Obama’s West Point commencement speech Wednesday he announced his Afghanistan force drawdown timetable. It serves no national security purpose tactically or strategically to make such an announcement, nor did it at the time of the surge four years ago. Notably, more than two-thirds of the nearly 2,200 deaths in Afghanistan have occurred since Obama was elected – because he has emboldened our enemy.

The president will leave a residual force of 9,800 troops there going into 2015, cutting it in half by the end of next year and to virtually zero by the end of 2016. His only purpose is to be able to spike the football one more time before he leaves office as the last U.S. troops leave Afghanistan. It’s a sickening display of his trademark narcissism.

Obama declared, “We’ve now been in Afghanistan longer than most Americans expected.” As if what most Americans expect, maybe a poll, should govern our national security policy? “Afghanistan will not be a perfect place,” he added. “It is not America’s responsibility to make it one.” While Obama frames it this way, we are not in Afghanistan to make it a perfect place. We are there to ensure it’s not a launch pad for terrorism against the United States and the West – an objective clearly in our national security interest.

On that note, he boasted, “We’re going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again, ever, be used again to launch an attack against our country.” How does he intend to accomplish this by retreating? “Now we’re finishing the job we started,” he said. Finishing a job and ceasing to do it are two different things.

Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte (NH), John McCain (AZ) and Lindsey Graham (SC) blasted Obama’s foolish timetable, saying it is “a monumental mistake and a triumph of politics over strategy.” Politics is Obama’s strategy – whatever it takes to placate his various constituency groups.

Meanwhile, Marine Gen. James Mattis, former Commander of Central Command, strongly condemned the retreat, saying, “We want to crush the enemies hope to win through violence. Yet we have now given the enemy hope that if they hang on until our announced withdrawal date they can perhaps come back.” Those sentiments are shared by most active duty military leaders who would be subject to a courts martial for such criticism.

Obama defaulted to another of his most obnoxious ticks when he said, “I think Americans have learned that it’s harder to end wars than it is to begin them.” First, this is a not-so-subtle knock against his predecessor, George W. Bush, whom the Left derided as a “cowboy.” Second, why doesn’t Obama ever speak of winning wars? A cursory search reveals that he spoke once of winning a war – in a bad joke at the 2012 White House Correspondents Dinner. “In my first term, we ended the war in Iraq; in my second term, I will win the war on Christmas.” Victory is merely a punch line for this commander in chief.

Obama’s retreat from both Iraq and Afghanistan will ultimately cost the U.S. a far higher price than maintaining a reasonable security presence in those countries. Add Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom to the trash heap of Obama’s long list of failed foreign policy around the world.

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