So last week President Obama addressed the nation concerning his plans to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July. Here is a little recap on his plans…
Starting in July he will begin to withdraw troops, with 10,000 of them being gone by the end of this year (2011). By next summer we will fully recover the surge and see a total of 33,000 withdrawn. From that point on he will continue to bring our soldiers home at a steady pace.
By 2014 we will be completely out of Afghanistan and they will then be responsible for their own security.
President Obama also said that Al Qaeda is under more pressure, since we have taken out more than half of their leadership (including Osama Bin Laden). He also said that there has been some success in Afghanistan with transitions being made. But much is still to be done.
He also slightly touched on the initiation of talks with the Taliban and how it is being led by the Afghans…we are just “participating.”
He also slightly touched on Pakistan and addressing the issue of them harboring terrorists. He will work with the government to root out extremists (hmm…is it possible they actually make up the government?) And he sounded off with these “tough” words, that as long as he is President, the United States will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us.
He also said that some would have us retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security and ignore the threats. Others would have us overextended, confronting all evil. He says we must chart a more centered course.
He said that we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate, strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force. But when that force can be targeted, then we don’t have to deploy large armies overseas. When innocents are being slaughtered and global security is in charge, we don’t have to choose to either idly stand by or act on our own. Instead we must rally international action, such as being done in Libya.
“All human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity,” he resounded.
He definitely sounds like he is against the idea of war as a whole, yet interestingly he has tripled our number of troops in Afghanistan and entered into the Libyan situation.
Now since his speech on withdrawing from Afghanistan, here is what has happened…on Saturday the 25th, an SUV packed with explosives was blown up outside of a clinic in eastern Afghanistan. This killed at least 60 people and leveled the medical center.
Then yesterday, June 28, there was a report that Afghanistan’s Intercontinental Hotel was under attack by “several” suicide bombers and gunmen. But then a report came in that helicopters from a NATO-led coalition had killed 3 of the gunmen. It seemed as soon as Obama announced his plans, fallout in Afghanistan began.
Now we have learned during a Capitol Hill hearing, that President Obama may have actually ignored military advice given by his top general. There was an exchange between Senator Lindsey Graham and General John Allen, nominated to take over for General Petraeus.
Senator Graham questioned John Allen on whether or not Obama’s decision was one of the options provided by General Petraeus. It was not. In his words, “It is a more aggressive option than what was presented.”
The plan is apparently also not being embraced by Afghanistan commanders. In other words, it appears that Obama is acting alone on this.
So what is the real reason for this plan that he has come up with? I think he is trying to reach a balance, he is trying to play it center. He is appeasing one side by bringing some of our troops home but still keeping some there to complete the job.
However the reality is that the job cannot be completed now. What he is essentially requiring is that the troops who are left there continue to do the same work but with less military help…withdrawing 30,000 troops actually puts our soldiers at a greater risk.
There is a definite pattern here. Back in 2009, Petraeus had requested an additional 40,000 troops but Obama would only give him 30,000. It seems that advice from a military expert is not taken to heart…I’m not sure where Obama is getting his military “know-how” from but clearly he is not in sync with those who are true military experts.
How does this look to other leaders and terrorists? It looks like we don’t plan on finishing the job. While it sounds like pie in the sky, just bring our soldiers home…it isn’t quite as easy as that.
Look back to Iraq…what if we had retreated early from there? General Petraeus did a wonderful job turning things around in Iraq. Why is our Commander in Chief not following the advice of the guys who actually know what they are doing?
In general, Obama’s plan appeals to the masses. Most Americans just want to see our soldiers come home. But there is a proper way to do this…and following the advice of military generals seems to make more sense than what we heard come out of his mouth last week. Looks like he is playing politics…