Smart Afghan Wars

Congratulations, Barack Obama! You are now the proud owner of the War in Afghanistan! That's the one we've come to know as the "Good War" where we "Took Our Eyes Off The Ball" and failed to find Osama bin Laden! Obama Unveils Afghan Plan to Add Troops and Set Goals

In strikingly ominous tones, Mr. Obama warned — just as PresidentGeorge W. Bush did repeatedly over the years — of intelligence estimates that al Qaeda “is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.”

Sheesh! Maybe Bush wasn't kidding when he was talking about dangers to America in "strikingly ominous tones." Mayhap, Obama has seen the light. 

“The situation is increasingly perilous,” he told government officials, top military officers and diplomats in remarks at the White House.

He added, “We have a clear and focused goal to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future.”

But President Obama promised neither to write a “blank check” nor to “blindly stay the course” if his risky new strategy does not achieve its ambitious goals.

Nope! No dopey course staying for Obama! Halliburton stock must have dropped like rock after he said that.

In imposing conditions on the Afghans and Pakistanis, Mr. Obama is replicating an approach used in Iraq two years ago both to justify a deeper American commitment and prod shaky governments in the region to take more responsibility for fighting insurgents and building lasting political institutions.The new strategy, officials said, will send 4,000 more troops to train Afghan security forces on top of the 17,000 extra combat troops that he already ordered to Afghanistan shortly after taking office.

Cue portentious "Graveyard of Empires" music.

And you might have missed it, but Obama seems to have mumbled something about sending 4,000 more troops than he originally stated. I'm sure the guys at The American Empire Project just blew a few gaskets.

Although the administration is still developing the specific benchmarks for Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said they would be the most explicit demands ever presented to the governments in Kabul and Islamabad. In effect, Mr. Obama would be insisting that two fractured countries plagued by ancient tribal rivalries and modern geopolitical hostility find ways to work together and transform their societies.
What is it with liberals and warfare? It's not enough to go in and accomplish some narrowly defined military goals. Instead, they feel compelled to call on Afghans and Pakistanis to "transform their societies." Into what? We can't even transform our own without going bananas over AIG bonuses. Really, this reflects the fundamental distaste that progressives feel about war and the exercise of American power. 

Obama was wise in picking his foreign affairs team. They can almost run on auto-pilot while he works on the things he actually cares about. But, the buck stops with Obama and there is absolutely nothing in his background that could have prepared him for the role of commander in chief. Quite the opposite. And, erstwhile allies like Bill Ayers and Tom Hayden, who know a thing or two about the destabilizing domestic effects of a war gone bad, are already warning that this may be a mistake. 

I hope they're wrong. Except for the "transforming societies" part, I hope Obama's Afghan adventure succeeds on his terms and on ours.


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