President Barack Obama has criticized President George W. Bush because of Bush’s war in Iraq. But Obama seems to claim Afghanistan as his war. In a July 12, 2004, speech to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, Obama said, “Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terrorism have reduced the pace of military transformation and have revealed our lack of preparation for defensive and stability operations. This administration has overextended our military.”
Yet, in 2009, the president decided to increase troop strength in Afghanistan and said, “I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.”
It seems he wants it both ways. The war was bad for Bush but good for Obama.
The military transformation Obama wants is to cut 27,000 soldiers, a military budget cut of $40 billion (under the debt-reduction plan) and a reduction in our nuclear-weapons program. He is proposing this while maintaining a combat force in Afghanistan and facing a possible confrontation with Iran.
Why are we still in Afghanistan? That country is not worth the loss of a single U.S. soldier. In his speech at West Point in 2009, Obama said, “Al-Qaida has not re-emerged in Afghanistan in the same number as before 9/11, but they retain their safe havens along the border.”
What he didn’t say, according to ABC News, is that there only were about 100 al-Qaida there.
Throughout his presidency, Obama has been fighting the Taliban, which was the legitimate government in Afghanistan before we helped overthrow it 10 years ago. Now, we have a corrupt Hamid Karzai government, which is unable to stand on its own, and Obama is using our military to keep Karzai and his family in power. Karzai’s brother, who was assassinated in July 2011, had been accused of being a key figure in the illegal opium trade, according to www.guardian.co.uk.
Karzai’s government and the United States are in negotiations with the Taliban, which likely will come back into power once we remove our troops. The Taliban already has the support of the Pakistani government. According to Human Rights Watch, Pakistan is soliciting funds for the Taliban, bankrolling Taliban operations, providing diplomatic support, arranging training for Taliban fighters, recruiting manpower to serve in Taliban armies, providing and facilitating shipments of ammunition and fuel, and, on several occasions, apparently directly providing combat support.
So why is Obama sacrificing our men and women in this wasteland of a country? We are spending approximately $113 billion a year in Afghanistan, all of which could be used to lower our national debt.
The entire Middle East has been fighting for thousands of years and will continue to fight until they pull the entire world into a third world war. Look at Iraq. While giving Iraqi people their freedom, more than 6,000 American youth were lost and 100,000 were wounded. Do they care? No. They are still killing each other every day.
In an interview with Bob Woodward, Obama said, “Do you lose a war on my watch? Or win a war on a president’s watch? I think of it more in terms of, ‘Do you successfully prosecute a strategy that results in the country being stronger?’”
The Afghanistan war did not make this country stronger, and Obama has an election coming up. President Lyndon B. Johnson lost the presidency because of Vietnam. Obama doesn’t want to admit failure on his watch just before an election.
Calderone is a conservative who lives in Midway. He is a professional salesperson and has written articles for trade publications in various fields for 30 years.