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August 17, 2009

The Return of Cut & Run- Afghan Exit Strategy

We are about to enter an information battle almost identical to the one we fought about Iraq in 2006 & 2007. The cries then were that Iraq was lost and we should leave as soon as possible. They came from Harry Reid and Barack Obama in the Senate and Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha in the House among others. They were echoed and amplified by the media and led to a very pitched argument about whether to reinforce our new counterinsurgency strategy or to cut & run. Thankfully the arguments of Gen. Petraeus and the fortitude of President Bush prevailed and instead of defeat at the hands of al Qaeda and Iranian proxies, we won.

Now we face an eerily similar choice in Afghanistan, and the cut & run chorus has begun the siren song that we cannot achieve victory. The problem is that President Obama campaigned on the idea that the Afghan war was the good war and that he would kill the ghost of bin Laden in Pakistan if he caught wind of him.That made fine campaign rhetoric, but now the reality has sunk in. This is Obama's war as much as it is America's. He relieved the country commander, put in his own choice and he authorized 21,000+ reinforcements and a new strategy. The question is will the promises he made to get the job, be matched with the resolve to take the political heat he will get for trying to win. He has already eschewed the idea of a classic victory and I have long worried he will not be able to face the heat from his allies on the left. Here they come, with John Nichols, Capitol Times Editor and Washington correspondent for The Nation, who I had many quality arguments with in Madison and who is a well-respected voice of the left.

Members of Congress are using the August
recess to survey constituent sentiments on a host of matters. And
one of them deserves dramatically increased attention: the
misguided occupation of Afghanistan.



July was the deadliest month for U.S. forces stationed in Afghanistan since the invasion of that country almost eight years ago. Forty-three Americans were killed.


The death toll has continued to rise in August, and it will accelerate if U.S. commanders get their wish
and more troops are "surged" into the quagmire.


At the same time, according to the United Nations, civilian deaths in Afghanistan are increasing
dramatically. More than 1,000 civilians were killed in the country during the first six months of this year, an increase of 24 percent over the same period in 2008.


Dozens of dead Americans each month. Hundreds of dead Afghan civilians. And no end in sight.


That's not responsible, humane or sustainable.


And the Obama administration is not focused in a serious way on an endgame -- let alone an exit strategy.

Congress needs to uphold its constitutionally defined responsibility and put parameters on a war that was never declared or defined.


At the very least, members of the House should be signing on as co-sponsors of H.R.
2404
, which would "require the secretary of defense to submit a report to Congress outlining the United States exit strategy for United States military forces in Afghanistan participating in Operation Enduring Freedom."


While exit strategy sounds better than cut & run, there is essentially no difference and the same voices made the same calls for a date for our exit from Iraq. Well, by not giving a date for our exit we gave our enemies in Iraq no way to know and no hope for holding out. We gave the Iraqis hope that we would stay until the job was done and we have. We need to start that same battle of ideas about Afghanistan.We need to pressure Congress and the President to follow through on his promises about the good war.

We need to remind the American people who was wrong about Iraq and who was right. The left and the democrats and the current Commander in Chief were egregiously wrong and would have led us to defeat if they had their way. Gen. Petraeus, our military and all of us were right and we must wage the same fight or we will watch our troops leave a battlefield consecrated by the blood of heroes in defeat.

That is intolerable, I believe we can win and I support victory. I made this video Feb. 9th and it is even more apt right now.

digg this
posted by Uncle Jimbo at 12:10 AM

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