Obama’s War – by Matt Gurney

Matt Gurney is a columnist and editor at Canada’s National Post. Follow him on Twitter: @mattgurney


troops

Since taking office last January, President Obama has been able to blame the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan on the last administration, insulating himself from criticism. No longer. After his speech to Army cadets at the West Point academy on Tuesday night, Afghanistan is now clearly Obama’s war.

On balance, as said ably by Jacob Laksin, the President’s speech hit the right notes. He has taken a firm stand against the anti-war Democratic establishment and has repudiated the most defeatist branches of America’s left-wing.  This represents a clear break from the President’s past positions, and he should be praised for taking this difficult but necessary step, which leans against not only the prevailing wishes of his own party, but of the war-weary American electorate at large. Bravo, Mr. President.

Obama himself is clearly aware of the enormity of the challenge that he has now made his own. His address was well written, but the President’s normally outstanding oratorical skills were AWOL during the speech, which was delivered capably, but without the powerful charisma Obama is rightly known for. In short, he said all the right things, but it was clear that his heart was not it in. After months of delay, when the Administration no doubt desperately sought other options, Obama has made the right decision, but with obvious reluctance.

Now that the decision has been made and a further 30,000 American troops committed to the battle, attention must be turned to Obama’s plan itself, which is not without problems. An issue of particular concern is the reliability of the central Afghan government in Kabul. Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai, was recently returned to power after what can only be loosely termed an election. The vote has been widely derided by international observers as having been illegitimate, hobbled by credible allegations of substantial electoral fraud. Karzai’s fraudulent victory, combined with his reputation for corrupt, ineffectual leadership, has eroded the patience of his Western backers.

Obama addressed the failings of the Karzai government in his speech last night, giving public voice to America’s frustration. The President said that American funding would henceforth go directly to the ministers and provincial governors most capable of delivering tangible positive results. This was clearly a barely veiled warning to Karzai — shape up, or the funding stops. While it is true that the endemic corruption of the Afghan government is a major concern, anything America and its allies do that undermines Karzai’s authority is ultimately self-defeating.

For better or for worse, the ability of the Allies to withdraw from Afghanistan depends upon being able to standup the Afghan security forces. But in order for these forces to function as effective, professional combat troops rather than mere brigands, there must be a central authority capable of controlling them. The Anbar Awakening, where Iraqi tribal militias joined with American forces in defeating the Iraqi insurgency, has been cited as a model to follow in Afghanistan, but it must be recalled that despite obvious problems, Iraq has developed a functional central government that is now working to absorb the militias into the country’s broader military and political institutions.

Unless Afghanistan develops a similar unifying federal force, any provincial governor or tribal leader favored with Western dollars and weaponry, instead of being a stabilizing force, will become yet another faction in Afghanistan’s already dangerously disunited societal fabric. President Obama is right to call attention to Karzai’s lamentable record of fraud and corruption, but put bluntly, America is stuck with Karzai, and Obama must not cut off his own nose to spite Karzai’s face.

Also worrisome were the President’s remarks on funding the war. While he was right to say that an open-ended commitment to the war there was “not sustainable” and honestly warned that his proposals would cost the American taxpayer an additional $30-billion dollars a year, the stated desire to rein in costs while working to reduce America’s federal deficit rang somewhat hollow when spoken by the man overseeing unprecedented federal spending. If President Obama had said that America could not afford the $30-billion, that would have been shortsighted, but arguably true. In the case of this Administration, however, there is every reason to believe that every penny not spent on winning in Afghanistan would instead be wasted pursuing one of the left’s social engineering schemes, whether that be socialized medicine or a ruinous cap-and-trade climate change policy.

Some members of the President’s party have in recent weeks spoken publicly about introducing a war tax to fund the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and continuing operations in Iraq. It is true that the massive debts being run up by Congress are alarming, but the prospect of introducing a new tax in the midst of an economic crisis, while still pursuing open-ended spending projects domestically, is absurd to the point of insanity. The President would have done American taxpayers a great service by using the West Point speech as an opportunity not just to wax philosophic about his desire to build America, but to explain exactly what steps he would take to keep America safe while balancing the books and returning the country to a sound fiscal footing. Recall that the extra $30-billion a year represents a mere 3% of the forecasted trillion-dollar deficit. Clearly, Afghanistan is not the primary threat to America’s economic wellbeing. Congress is.

President Obama has taken the first steps necessary to enable a victory in Afghanistan, despite significant political risk and no doubt ferocious resistance from his own party. He should be commended for his courage, but must also be reminded that the toughest choices are still ahead.

  • Robert Bernier

    Wow! Read this one. It is really good. And this gentleman says it just like it is.

    This venerable and much honored WW II vet is well known in Hawaii
    for his seventy-plus years of service to patriotic organizations and causes all over the country. A humble man without a political bone in his body, he has never spoken out before about a government official, until now. He dictated this letter to a friend, signed it and mailed it to the president. Consult : http://xrl.us/bgeewc

  • WTF_Idiots

    You mean, Obama's clean-up job, right?

    The situation in Afghanistan started to deteriorate WAAAAY before Obama was sworn in, and every single one of you knuckle-dragging apes knows it. I just don't understand why you all are so incredibly dishonest about what's really happening… it's called “reality” folks. Join the rest of us.

  • buzzzzzz

    IMPEACH OBAMA NOW!

    Obama is a criminal too and as many groups, including many in Congress, sought to impeach Bush, we will also rise up to seek to impeach the next criminal, Obama! Hope and change? One wonders who in fact controls his presidency and calls the shots. He’s only a puppet of the war machine.

    Now that these wars are Obama’s and the “buck stops here,” any innocent child that gets killed by the “baby killers,” the blood will now be on Obama’s hands! IMPEACH OBAMA!

    When an laser-guided bomb goes astray and kills innocents, the blood will now be on Obama’s hands! IMPEACH OBAMA!

    When the baby killers terrorize women and children in the dead of night, the blood will now be on Obama’s hands. IMPEACH OBAMA!

    When the drones INVADE another country and kill innocents, Obama should be brought up on war crimes for violating International law! IMPEACH OBAMA!

    Blackwater will be his too! IMPEACH OBAMA!

    Waterboarding or any torture, including giving a terrorist a bloody lip, Obama is to blame! IMPEACH OBAMA!

    Who cares if the Taliban an Al Qaeda takeover Afghanistan, at least they will control the people from Western domination, evil capitalism, occupation, slavery, as now they will finally be free to rule the country as they see fit. It’s theirs not ours!

    It’s unclear why he thinks he has to continue the murderous job. OBAMA IS A MURDERER AND CRIMINAL TOO and those who support him, voted for him, aid in murder and are criminals too! PATRIOTS? HELL NO!

    IMPEACH OBAMA! THOSE WHO SOUGHT TO IMPEACH BUSH, NOW MUST SEEK TO IMPEACH OBAMA FOR THE SAME OFFENSES! NO DIFFERENCE!

    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!
    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!
    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!
    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!
    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!
    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!
    IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA! IMPEACH OBAMA!

    “JUSTICE NOT REVENGE!” ===“WE DESERVED IT!”=== “9-11 AN INSIDE JOB!” ===“TWIN TOWERS AND BUILDING SEVEN RIGGED WITH BOMBS!” ====“ROCKET FROM AIR FORCE JET HITS PENTAGON!” ===“OSAMA LET GO!” “OSAMA PAID BY CIA!”==== “NO BLOOD FOR OIL!” ====“NO WMD!”

    NOW OBAMA, A MURDERER AND CRIMINAL, IS CONTINUING THIS LIE! IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! I DEMAND CITY RESOLUTIONS, STATE LEGISLATURE RESOLUTIONS, CONGRESSIONAL RESOLUTIONS! PROTESTS!

    EQUAL JUSTICE RIGHT?

    “YOU DIDN’T VOTE FOR OBAMA DID YOU?”

  • USMCSniper

    You mean it is America's war don't you? America's soldiers and Marines are fighting. Once the shooting starts it is America's war period. Even South Vietnam was not a Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, or Ford's war although it was Ford's war to win or lose and he opt out much to his and Democratic Congress's shame they did cause South Vietnam to lose and the aftermath bloodbath that took place in the millions was on them. If Obama and the Democrats abandon Afghanistan to the Taliban and Al Qaeda then the aftermath bloodbath that takes place and the future terrorism will all be on them.

  • hoolad

    Islam is pure evil to the core. islam is not a religion but a political movement to achieve global dominance. Show me a churhc or a hindu temple or a jewish temple in saudia arabia. Go to Egypt and see how they deal with the Coptic Christains, the egyptians treat them like animals, burn down their chruches at every riot and they dont allow new chruches to be build, infact you have to ask permission from the president of egypt to build a church. Remind you, Egypt was a Coptic Christain Country before Islam took over with the sword and now coptic christains are a minority in their own country. I Guess the Swiss have realized the danger soon…..

    In Turkey, they have taken Hagia Sofia Church and turned it to a Mosque, then into a museum. Still they will not give back Hagia Sofia to be a church again. Muslims are hypocrates. Turkey has a mission to wipe off all churches and convert them into secular museums and thus will elimanate the christains populations.

    Christains are not allowed to be christains in middle-east, period. Now muslims shout. Give me a church, hindu temple, jewish temple, buddist temple or any other temple in the heart of Mecca or Medina and then I will voice my dis-taste for the swiss vote.

    http://www.faithfreedom.org
    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com
    http://www.thethirdjihad.com

  • http://www.mcdowellnews.com/ Britt COmbs

    When a Republican president finds himself losing popularity, he moderates his position by spending billions on AIDS research or inner city schools. When a Democratic president becomes unpopular for being too liberal, he establishes his moderate bona fides by sending soldiers in search of foreign dragons to slay.

    President Obama has graduated from anti-war president who inherited a conflict he doesn't want to imperial president and war enthusiast. He will order at least 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan beyond the 21,000 he deployed months ago.

    Robert E. Lee once said, ” It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we would grow too fond of it.” Barack Obama apparently disagrees.

    The dove Democrat is a myth. Voters fall for that one again and again because, (blush) they're not terribly bright. Their last true peacenik was Jimmy Carter. To find another peaceful Democratic president, you must look to Grover Cleveland, whose second term ended in 1897. Shock! The record proves Democrats love war and killing.

    Why shouldn't Americans love war? Government-funded historians and economists consistently pretend that war mobilization in the 1940s ended the Depression. Wars provide government cover to impose all kinds of restrictions, taxes and search and investigative powers. Wars always occur far away in remote lands populated by olive skinned heathens, rich with unclaimed natural resources and desperately in need of some good ol' Yankee know how and a “public-private partnership” to exploit them properly.

    Before his Tuesday speech, Obama's handlers said he'd sell the surge as vitally linked to the exit strategy, but that's hogwash. Military eventualities can and will inevitably arise making “withdrawal” unwise. It's a promise no one can hold him to, and no honest man would make such a promise.

    Recently in this space we criticized the president for mimicking his predecessor's war strategy despite having run as a peace candidate. We learned that the lies and the squandering of human life — both soldier and civilian — delegitimized the government of the United States. A handful of readers called me to task for that (although the silent majority agreed with me), saying that the Washington elites were legitimate, unlike Saddam or the Taliban. “We elect our leaders,” wrote one angry fan of this column. Yet the fact remains that leaders do not have an open-ended mandate; their actions are restricted by law. Republicans and Democrats, however, disregard the law in the name of “security.” Their status as outlaws and oath-breakers makes them illegitimate, no matter how they were elected.

    In 1968, Richard Nixon was elected to end the war in Vietnam. Given the opportunity to “declare victory and go home,” he chose instead to escalate the conflict in pursuit of the “honorable conclusion.” He failed. His failure led to his personal destruction, the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and millions of civilians.

    Escalating the war in Afghanistan might make Obama more popular with the blood and guts imperialists of the right wing, and he might have the leftists so brainwashed they will go along with it, just as they always did with Clinton and his many military rampages overseas, but it will not make it any easier to get out later, it will not increase American popularity and it will not make it harder for al Qaeda to recruit new suicide bombers.

    Afghans, like Americans, have an inalienable right to alter or abolish their government and replace it with one that seems to them more likely to secure their safety and happiness. Many there wish for a libertarian society and a limited government, but that is something they will have to work out for themselves. Nation building in Afghanistan strips the people there of their dignity, and makes any Afghan who cooperates with the Americans little more than a teacher's pet. Teacher's pets get no respect at all among their peers. No one wants a fait accompli democracy handed to them at the point of foreign bayonets.

    The president says he needs more time, money and blood to train the Afghan army and police to protect themselves. He is being deliberately deceptive, spouting blatant nonsense. Afghans have been fighting wars and policing crime for millennia. They have all the training they need or want.

    When it's all said and done, more American money, lives, property and liberties will have been lost, more Muslims will have been radicalized, and Afghanistan will have stood down yet another invader. And more American soldiers will have been betrayed by their government. Well done, Mr. President. You're the Republican of the Year.

    on the Web at… http://www2.mcdowellnews.com/content/2009/dec/0

  • WTF_Idiots

    I'm fine with referring to this mess as “America's War”… I was simply addressing the moron author's claim that it's “Obama's War”.

  • WTF_Idiots

    Wow, man. Everything is going to be OK, bro. But if positive thinking doesn't work for you, try meds.

  • USMCSniper

    Once the shooting starts it is America's war period. And if you do not support the troops and their mission then you are aiding and abetting the enemy. Even South Vietnam my leftist friend, it was not a Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, or Ford's war although it was Ford's war to win or lose and he opted out much to his and the Democratic Congress's shame as they did cause South Vietnam to lose – and the aftermath bloodbath that took place in the millions was on all of them and the aiders and abetters that called themselves anti war . If Obama and the Democrats abandon Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Islamic fascists, the Taliban and Al Qaeda then the aftermath bloodbath that takes place and the future terrorism that is unleashed on America will all be on them – and the aiders and abetters like you.

  • bubba4

    The author can use devices like that…but not you…not with USMCSniper on the case…

  • USMCSniper

    Obama and his Democrats are Communists:

    Under current estate tax law, if someone inherits a $5 million estate in 2009, they would pay $675,000 in federal estate taxes, according to an analysis by Deloitte Tax. In 2010, they would pay no estate tax but the estate would be subject to a 15 percent capital gains tax. If they inherit the $5 million estate in 2011, they would pay $2,045,000 in estate taxes, according to the analysis based on the new permanent estate tax just passed.

    This means that you could not inherit your fathers large farm or ranch or business worth over 3.5 million without paying 45% in estate taxes.

  • coyote3

    Obama may, indeed, but a criminal, but not for the reasons you give.
    Almost every domestic policy he advocates, proposes the Congress exercise a power it does not have., i.e., illegal acts.

  • LucyQ

    That's a very thoughtful post, one usually not seen on this blog. I agree with your conclusion. It was a stupid war Bush got us into and still a stupid war that Obama continues.

  • Robert Bernier

    Every American should know the truth

    No one should miss this video:

    http://xrl.us/bf29mb

    Look to the end ( 10 min.)

  • http://www.thejanitorialsupply.com/ Harman Monstone

    I just hope that all civilians in afghanistan will be safe and sound

  • LindaRivera

    U.S. EMPOWERS Global JIHAD. TERRORIST Camps in America

    Terrorist Camps in America
    By Jamie Glazov
    FrontPageMagazine.com | February 03, 2009

    Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ryan Mauro, the founder of WorldThreats.com.

    FP: We’re here today to discuss “Homegrown Jihad: Terrorist Camps Around U.S.,” the new documentary being released by the Christian Action Network.

    “Muslims of America” is a group set up by Gilani to act as a thinly-veiled front for Jamaat ul-Fuqra. There are at least 35 “Muslims of America” compounds in the U.S. alone, along with at least 3,000 members, many of which have criminal backgrounds.

    Gilani: “We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are in America”, “Jews are an example of human Satans,” and “Act like you are a friend, then kill him”

    FP: What sort of terrorism has Jamaat ul-Fuqra been involved in?

    Mauro: Members of the group have carried out at least 17 firebombings and 10 assassinations, including stabbing a moderate Muslim cleric to death, bombing a power station, killing police officers, and attacks on Hindus. In 1991, five members were involved in a plot to bomb a Hindu temple and an Indian-owned cinema near Toronto; in 1993, one member was involved in the World Trade Center bombing; and five were involved in the massive “Day of Terror” plot aimed at bombing various buildings in New York in 1993.

    Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped on the way to meeting with Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan.

    A September 2004 report by the National White Collar Crime Center said that “Members of the Fuqra group have raised money by taking advantage of a variey of social services programs, including worker’s compensation, public health care, welfare, and food stamps programs. Other crimes committed by Fuqra members include the creation and use of false identification cards, birth certificates, and other forged documents…” The report also confirms that Fuqra is recruiting criminals and describes them as “one of the most elusive terrorist groups resident in the U.S.”

    FP: Why doesn’t the government shut down these compounds?

    Mauro: There are a few reasons. The first is that Jamaat ul-Fuqra is not designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the State Department.
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?…

    G-D help Israel, America and the Free World! THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A WAR ON TERROR!

    The Free World has no defender.

    Council on American-Islamic Relations: “Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.” – Omar Ahmad (CAIR co-founder).

    Addressing a youth session at the 1999 Islamic Association for Palestine's annual convention in Chicago, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) founder Omar Ahmad praised suicide bombers who “kill themselves for Islam,”
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?A

  • LindaRivera

    Please stand with the American people. Why should the evil 9/11 terrorist murderer, infidel hater be provided with a worldwide propaganda platform? Why should America be significantly weakened by revealing secrets to the enemy in fighting the war? Daily, hourly, the enemy seeks our total destruction.

    worldnetdaily.com
    PETITION to CONGRESS to STOP
    the 9/11 TERRORIST RETRIAL in NEW YORK
    ….Whereas, Mohammed and his fellow terrorist defendants have made it clear they will attempt to use this highly publicized civilian trial in the U.S. to their own political advantage, to aggrandize themselves as martyrs and spread their jihadist ideology both internationally and domestically;

    Whereas, the president risks humiliation for America if this “show trial” results in acquittal, or even in endless defense motions and appeals that drag out for years;

    Whereas, veteran federal prosecutors claim the terrorists' defense attorneys will use this trial to discover and make public methods and practices of the CIA and the U.S. military that would severely compromise national security by revealing to America's enemies all of our secrets in fighting this war….

    Click on link to sign petiition!

    http://www.wnd.com/terror_trial

    SUPPORT THE 911 FAMILIES AT A RALLY IN LOWER MANHATTAN

    SATURDAY DECEMBER 5 – NOON

    RALLY IN FOLEY SQUARE: STOP THE TERROR TRIAL IN NYC!

  • LindaRivera

    Jihadists are winning because of pro-Islam Western leaders. U.S. Airport Security Deliberately and Shockingly Destroyed for Islam:

    http://www.worldnetdaily.com
    Controversial Muslim group
    gets VIP airport security tour
    Feds show CAIR latest screening steps,
    sensitive counterterrorism procedures
    August 18, 2006

    The Department of Homeland Security
    took a Muslim group with known past ties to terror organizations on a VIP tour of security operations at the nation's busiest airport at the same time British authorities were working to break up a plot to blow up U.S. airlines.

    On June 21, a senior DHS official from Washington personally guided Muslim officials from the Council on American-Islamic Relations on a behind-the-scenes tour of Customs screening operations at O'Hare International Airport in response to CAIR complaints that Muslim travelers were being unfairly delayed as they entered the U.S. from abroad.

    CAIR is a spin-off of the Islamic Association for Palestine, identified by two former FBI counterterrorism chiefs as a “front group” for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

    Several CAIR leaders have been convicted on terror-related charges.

    During the airport tour, CAIR was taken on a walk through the point-of-entry, Customs stations, secondary screening and interview rooms. In addition, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents were asked to describe for CAIR representatives various features of the high-risk passenger lookout system.
    http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?A

    ’“One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.”
    —Former Algerian President Houari Boumedienne’s prophetic warning to Europe in a speech at the U.N. In 1974.

    In Sweden, many Muslim youth wear a t-shirt proclaiming: “2030-then we take over”

    Flash Video- Islamic Mein Kampf http://www.terrorismawareness.org/islamic-mein-

  • turbeaux

    The reality is the Obama surge in Afghanistan for all intents and purposes is destined to turn into an unmitigated disaster, just like practically all of our efforts heretofore in both Iraq and Afghanistan have since September 11, 2001, because our efforts for the most part have been based on idiotic fantasy-based political correct multicultural assumptions and dreams.

    However, the most depressing and disturbing part about the entire situation is practically the entire Republican Party and a significant portion of the conservative movement today buys into this absurd political correct multicultural insanity. Indeed, the Republican Party and a significant portion of the conservative movement today thanks to groupthink and also in large part to that incompetent, GWB, have been rendered blind as badly as the left has been blind forever when it comes to recognizing the real and omnipresent nature of threat we face.

    Not only that, but also those Republicans and so-called conservatives don’t have the first clue why the Obama surge, which they are ignorant and blind enough to support, is destined to fail. Hell, most of those Republicans and so-called conservatives are still under the mistaken impression that the surge in Iraq was a total success and that Iraq is on the way to fast becoming a loyal friend and ally of the USA for years to come. I hate to rain on their political correct multicultural parade, but they are in for a rude awakening because Iraq will never emerge as a loyal friend and ally of the USA and neither will Afghanistan either.

    Nevertheless, it is obvious that like the left already was, the right too has now been rendered blind, impotent, and defenseless by the scourge of groupthink that political correct multiculturalism is and unfortunately it will cost them and everyone else tremendously in the long run.

  • bubba4

    The nation as a whole was supportive of the War against the Taliban. The “lies” really started when it came time to invade Iraq. I know it's surprising, but the wars that Bush started didn't suddenly stop when Obama took office.