Friday, September 21, 2012
This letter is written with a heavy heart for the troops unnecessarily harmed by our ineffective foreign policy. When President Barack Obama took office, he began his world tour by indicating he considered the United States as the first among equal nations, in contrast to the “cowboy” Bush, who considered us as the sole remaining superpower that had the responsibility to provide leadership in the world. In Cairo, Obama told the Muslims that we were their friends and they no longer should hate us for who we are. Recent riots show how effective that message was.
Since then, he has joined a long line of presidents who failed to solve the Israeli/Palestine problem. He completed the Iraq war following the Bush timetable and plan. He had the U.S. “lead from behind” in Libya and let Russia and China stalemate progress to solve the Syrian problem. He missed a chance to back the people of Iran as they revolted against their government. He disagreed with Israel on how to stop Iran’s nuclear development while the centrifuges continue to spin.
This brings us to Afghanistan. During his campaign, Obama attacked Sen. John McCain and the Republicans for the Bush policy of ignoring the war in Afghanistan to focus on Iraq. Shortly after he took office, he spent several months considering the Afghan war and finally decided to surge 33,000 troops and leave by a certain date (2014). Why he thought the Afghan war would be finished by then never was clear, at least to me. He did indicate that the casualties would increase in the short run. This promise has been kept. The total casualty level at the time was less than 2,000 killed. Now the level is more than 3,000 and rising rapidly. What the Bush policy had achieved was removing Afghanistan as a safe haven for al-Qaeda, removing the Taliban from power in the central government and maintaining it as a somewhat stable country.
I always have regarded Afghanistan as a country similar in many ways to Vietnam. Both countries have been invaded many times. The people have decided to remain loyal to their local village or tribe and not worry or care about who is running the country or central government. Meanwhile, the corrupt central government tells the U.S. whatever we want to hear to get as much money and support as they can to use for their own purposes.
Our attempt to fix Afghanistan is failing miserably. Our attempts to train the security forces are being rewarded by the people being trained in killing our troops. Most people understand that this is the result of a failed policy to fix an unfixable country before we leave in 2014. Our troops are paying the price with their lives.
The killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens and others again shows the ineptitude of the Obama administration. This attack by Muslim terrorists was in response to the killing of Osama bin Laden and other terrorists throughout the world. It was as carefully planned over a period of time as the Navy Seal raid. The riots in Egypt and Libya were planned and coordinated to cover for the attack. For the administration to not understand that the first anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, after the killing of Bin Laden required increased security throughout the Arab world is a massive failure even without any direct intelligence of an attack. To try to sell the attack as spontaneous is an insult to the common sense and intelligence of the American people. To paraphrase the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s foreign policy failures are coming home to roost.