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February 18, 2009

Obama's War?

President Obama has now taken ownership of the war in Afghanistan and stepped fully into his role as Commander in Chief.

In his first such action as president, Obama ordered an additional 17,000 combat troops to Afghanistan.

The first thing I want to do is call BS on my headline. It was wrong when the anti folks on the left talked about W's war, Iraq and Afghanistan are both America's wars and have been from the start. It was disgraceful for them to act that way and I will fight any attempt to do that to President Obama. Unlike many of the Born Again Ass Clowns Americans who have just discovered they can love and respect their country for the first time in their adult lives, or at least for the last 8 years, I owned a flag and flew it when Clinton was President. I applaud the plethora of new flags I see around, but I think it represents a sad aspect of the patriotism of folks who only feel proud when their team is in power.

But let's get back to Afghanistan. First I will repeat my admonition to Obama to make sure he is not simply trying to cover his political ass and campaign promises by sending more troops to that hell hole without the commitment to work toward victory. What victory means is something we can discuss, but it is more than simply adding a couple of combat brigades to be pulled back when pressure from his left wing spins up. Afghanistan is the longest of long wars and if the effort is not going to reflect this, then don't make it. Use the troops you are sending to squash the bad guys where they have weaseled into, and then let's bomb their bases flat and trust that time-honored dictum "Rubble doesn't make trouble".

I have been in a journalism fellowship for the past days for military reporters and we have met with a number of experts on A-stan and questioned them intensively. The overall consensus I see is that there is no history of, and little likelihood of building, a modern nation state there. Additionally without some answer to the free reign and safe havens in the tribal areas of Pakistan, it will be extremely difficult to create security. This requires a strategy that is not too ambitious but more importantly that is not simply political cover attempting to prove that Obama is not the "cut & runner" all his calls on Iraq would suggest. Any legitimate effort would certainly require an effort comprising all of his four years in office, and likely beyond. That will take a will to face up to calls of "quagmire" and "bring the troops home". I hope President Obama can learn from the fact that he was dead wrong on Iraq, and will listen to Gen. Petraeus and the folks who gave us the winning strategy there as he and his team look for answers in Afghanistan.

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posted by Uncle Jimbo at 10:49 AM

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