By Rich Trzupek
The President’s plan for Afghanistan didn’t do much to satisfy anyone, it would seem. Much of the left found it wanting, in that it involved committing more troops to a war that it long-ago declared hopeless. Much of the right felt it amounted to surrender, since the surge came with an expiration date.
Some commentators on the left stuck to the same, tired playbook, declaring the Obama was surrendering to corporate greed by prolonging the war. Because, you know, Afghanistan is famous for all its riches and resources that Exxon-Mobil is eager to exploit.
The argument on the right is that, by saying that the surge would end in eighteen months, the President was giving the Taliban a clear signal that all they have to do is to lie low for a year and a half and then they can have their way with the country.
Now, if I believed that we were really going to cut and run in eighteen months, I would probably join my brothers and sisters on the right in condemning the plan. Based on the history of this President – shoot, of most all Presidents – I don’t think that is what will actually happen.
After all the Prez did promise to shut down Gitmo, and – although there has been a lot of noise about doing so – that has yet to happen. The Prez criticized domestic wire-tapping and surveillance as practiced by the Bush administration, but – in every substantive way – he has left those mechanisms in place. Oh sure, there is a lot of rhetoric about new “safeguards”, but when you look at the net effect, it’s pretty much the same deal.
There is much to criticize in the new hopey-changey diplomacy. Kissing up to a corrupt, America-hating U.N., abandoning Poland and the Czech Republic in favor our new bff Vladamir Putin, and failing to do much of anything but talk, talk, talk when dealing with the madmen running Iran top my particular list.
But, when it comes to dealing with Al Queda, not even Barack Obama is naïve enough to believe that diplomacy is the answer – or even the question. Were a terrorist incident to occur on American soil, it would be a disaster for his administration and all he hopes to accomplish. He may or may not have the momentum, despite rapidly dropping approval ratings, to ram health care through. Cap and trade? That seems a stretch, but there is still a chance that the administration can get some version of this awful idea passed.
All of that goes out the window if there were some major, 9-11ish incident. The simmering discontent with this administration would boil over in an instant and Obama, Axelrod and the rest of the gang are smart enough to understand that. So, though they might be otherwise inclined to toss a sop to the left and “hope” nothing happens after pulling out of Afghanistan tomorrow, there’s really no room for error when it comes to Al Queda.
So Obama has effectively continued to do what Bush did: keeping the war over there, instead of risking it coming over here. He has not allowed himself to be swayed by the leftist argument that if we simply went away, radical Islam would end its assault on western civilization. To the contrary, giving up that fight would simply embolden the jihadists to up the ante even more. And, if you doubt that, just consider what happens to Israel every time they make another concession to the fanatics.
There is a doctrine in radical Islam, one that is outlined in the Quran, which says that it is perfectly acceptable to lie to a non-Muslim, in order to further the cause of Islam. It was a doctrine that Arafat employed, and Hamas continues to employ, in the course of ignoring over 2,000 agreements that radical Palestinians and their supporters have signed with Israel. There is no reason to trust the jihadists and I believe that Obama and his advisors understand that. Or, at least I hope they do.
The President’s hand-picked commander in Afghanistan recommended a surge of 40,000 troops. He got 30,000. Central Command C.O., General David Petraeus, who successfully led the surge in Iraq, says that should be enough and I am inclined to accept the professional judgment of a soldier with a proven record of success in asymmetrical warfare.
There’s an expiration date on those troops? OK. There was an expiration date attached to the surge in Iraq too, and that surge seemed to work out pretty well – as even the President himself is now willing to admit.
I would urge my conservative colleagues not to get too focused on the eighteen month part of this equation. The President’s track record (like that of most Presidents) is that if he needs to find an excuse to get around that, he will.