Comfort to the Enemy

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We need “a warrior,” not “a flower child.”

The anguished mother of an American soldier killed in Afghanistan said this about President Barack Obama. She objects to the rules of engagement, which she feels caused her son’s death. The recent Rolling Stone piece on the former Afghanistan commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, showed widespread troop disapproval of these rules, designed to minimize civilian casualties but which increase the danger to coalition soldiers in the field.

But this is the mindset of Obama.

As a candidate for president, Obama criticized President George W. Bush for “wrongly” taking the nation to war in Iraq and thus “neglecting” Afghanistan. Then President Obama spent months deciding whether to agree to the 40,000 additional troops requested by McChrystal, whom Obama appointed after firing his successor. Reportedly, the general wanted 80,000 more troops but scaled it down after fierce resistance. And Obama agreed to a goal of recruiting and training approximately 250,000 Afghan troops and police, well short of the 400,000 requested by McChrystal.

Finally agreeing to an increase of 30,000 troops, Obama simultaneously announced that in July 2011, troops will begin coming home. Afghan political analyst Ahmad Sayedi predicted this announcement would embolden Afghan terrorists: “When the USA sets a timeline of 18 months for troop withdraw, this by itself boosts the morale of the opponents and makes them less likely to take any step towards reconciliation.” Sen. John McCain recently said, “You cannot tell the enemy when you’re leaving in warfare and expect your strategy to be able to prevail.”

The “war of necessity” became the schizophrenic war.

What happens if we leave before the Afghan government can maintain security? Will it again become a base of operation for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups? Will they step up their efforts in neighboring Pakistan, a country that possesses nuclear bombs? Will a defeat in Afghanistan confirm the enemy’s assumption that we cannot and will not make the necessary commitment to defeat them?

Obama now seems to speak of Summer 2011 less as a fixed date for withdrawal and more as one based on conditions. But it’s hard to say what the President believes. In any event, the mixed signals give comfort to the enemy.

Without American public support, the war in Afghanistan cannot be won. Without a commander in chief committed to winning, the war in Afghanistan cannot be won.

A commitment requires the President to repeatedly and persuasively explain why we are at war and, if we leave too soon, the consequences to national security.

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  • USMCSniper

    New Rules of Engagement: Saddle up, lock and load, everything in front of you is in a kill zone, take no prisoners, bad shit happens in war and so does collateral damage, Better themn than me! Just remember that it is better to be tried by 12 even if convicted then carried to the grave by six. Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.

  • jemc50

    Thank you, Larry Elder. A voice of reason. There is no halfway in war. If you don't totally commit to it, it just stretches it out and increases the cost in lives. Our military will win the battles, just point them in the right direction and give them the support they need. Unfortunately our current crop of politicians will vacillate, cost untold lives of our troops, and end without achieving the goal.

    If Mr. Obama were to commit to win, he needs to get a thicker skin and become more astute in the international arena. If he were to commit to win, he would be subjected to tremendous criticism from Islamic nations and even our allies. But, it also would be seen as strength and not weakness.

  • JasonPappas

    He’s right about the rules of engagement—they put our troops in the line of fire while tying their hands. It is criminal.

    However, it started with Bush and is the logical outcome of his nations-building policy. We are policing … not warring.

    The enemy is ecstatic. We are fighting on their terms. They have convinced us not to use the power of our technology and engage in hand-to-hand combat … with one hand tied behind our backs. This is what they wanted—to die in a blaze of glory while killing American soldiers.

    We haven’t studied the enemy. By “we” I mean the country as a whole. Here in FPM we’ve learned about Islam and we continue to learn about the foreign cultures involved. However, the leadership of both political parties is in denial.

    Elder just doesn't go far enough in his criticism.

  • sundar

    We overthrew the Taliban from government, but they still wage war. What are we supposed to do now? We could go in with overwhelming force, but the question is, would the Afghan citizenry come around if we did? And when we left, as we must (Americans are in huge debt and cannot afford very expensive wars, and also Americans don't want a steady stream of casualties going off to the horizon), wouldn't the Taliban come back? The only amusing thing about this is watching Karzai try and make himself acceptable to the Taliban. That will not work. When we go, he is toast.

  • micrbu

    This whole war just shows Obama's appeasement policies which in the end will cost us our way of life!!

  • USMCSniper

    AN EXCERPT: What we owe these men who fight so bravely for their and our freedom is to send them to war only when that freedom is truly threatened, and to make every effort to protect their lives during war–by providing them with the most advantageous weapons, training, strategy, and tactics possible. Shamefully, America has repeatedly failed to meet this obligation. It has repeatedly placed soldiers in harm's way when no threat to America existed–e.g., to quell tribal conflicts in Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. America entered World War I, in which 115,000 soldiers died, with no clear self-defense purpose but rather on the vague, self-sacrificial grounds that "The world must be made safe for democracy."

    • JasonPappas

      And note that was written in 2006 long before Obama.

  • Turbeaux

    "Will it again become a base of operation for al-Qaida and other terrorist groups?"

    Actually, this notion is stupid. The entire Dar al Islam is a breeding ground and hot bed for jihad, which is why in 2001 if Bush wasn’t such a loon, he would have limited the mission in Afghanistan to the eradication of OBL and AQ ONLY to send a loud and very clear message of deterrence to other would be terrorists groups also contemplating attacking the Great Satan, instead of becoming sidetracked by jumping into the middle of a jihad between the Taliban and the Northern Alliance he had no business jumping into for the purpose of occupying an Islamic country to try to remake it in our image. Indeed, Bush’s blunder is one of the biggest strategic mistakes in American history.

    Anyway, we have no vital interests in Afghanistan. Not to mention that our fantasy-based strategies are not only hopeless they are exceedingly counterproductive as well. I’m not advocating that we stop defending ourselves from the Global Jihad; I’m advocating that we stop shooting ourselves in the foot and change our overall strategy. For one thing we are not at war with terrorists, we are at war with Islam.

    Moreover, the 9/11 attacks could not have happened if we didn’t allow Muslims inside the USA to begin with. Hence, common sense dictates that we ban and reverse Muslim immigration, instead of passing the Patriot Act and doubling the size of the federal government to continue accommodating Muslim immigration and all its excess baggage. By the way, there isn’t a place in the world where mass Muslim immigration to the West hasn’t turned into an unmitigated disaster for the host countries involved.

    Islam is a totalitarian system that seeks world domination just like Communism before. During the Cold War we didn’t enable millions of Communists to infiltrate our countries, as that would have been considered suicide back then. Yet, that is exactly what we are doing today.

    • coyote3

      Well, the fact is, we did enable millions of communists to infiltrate our country and worse, and they did. As far as Afghanistan goes, it is Obama's war now, rightly or wrongly. He could end it anytime he wanted to do so. Just leave, eveything is alright, nothing will happen, right? Why doesn't he just do it?

  • Turbeaux

    "Without American public support, the war in Afghanistan cannot be won. Without a commander in chief committed to winning, the war in Afghanistan cannot be won."

    What are we doing in Afghanistan? We are attempting to prop up a Sharia state that we helped to create. Moreover, this Sharia state will inevitably rejoin the global jihad against us. Just like Iraq, which is another Sharia state we help create. For all intents and purposes, we have already lost this war. Thanks to the incredible incompetence of our leaders. And if you can’t understand this, then you have a lot to learn about the nature of the global jihad we all face.

    "A commitment requires the President to repeatedly and persuasively explain why we are at war and, if we leave too soon, the consequences to national security."

    If the president wasn’t a loon, he would explain to the American people why propping up another Sharia state in Afghanistan isn’t in our national interest and also explain to the American people that we are not going to stop defending ourselves from the global jihad, but that we are going to finally start countering the global jihad in a much smarter ways.

    As part of this new strategy, Iran must not be allowed to acquire nukes under any circumstances and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and nuclear programs also needs to be destroyed.

    Anyway Larry you are a good conservative and I like listening to your radio show. However, when it comes to Islam and the global jihad, you are as lost and blind by political correctness as B. Hussein Obama.

    • George

      I like how FPM of all places makes some of you experts on global jihad…lol.

      You seem to think that Obama is president of the world and an just tell these countries to do what he wants. Just how do you suggest we destroy Pakistan's nukes?

      How would you handle Iran? I would love to hear from someone who wasn't lost and blind…so please enlighten us.

  • Richard2010

    Turbeaux, I agree with everything you said. The problem that I see, is that most Americans and their leaders do not see Islam/Sharia the way we see it. They think that we can actually build a democratic nation based on Sharia that will be friendly to the western civilizations. Even if the US is successful in building such a nation, that nation would only be friendly for a few years. Take a look at Turkey. Eventually, any nation with Sharia as its basis and not freedoms such as Speech, Association etc. will eventually go towards its religious/sharia basis.

    Reagan showed us the way in Lybia. He didnt try to change Lybia by making it into a democratic state at cost of trillions of US dollars. Rather, he bombed Kadafi and Kadafi eventually took the hint. How much would we have saved ($s and lives) if Bush would have bombed Hussein versus country making. By the way, I will bet that within 1 generation after the US leaves Irag, that the US will not be friendly to that nation.

    One final thought! Reagan wasnt from an Ivy league school. Wow…. of course the media at that time always reminded us that Reagan was a B actor who was second fidle to a dog in the movies.

    • JasonPappas

      Excellent points.

      By the way, Kadafi got the message again after we took out Saddam. Kadafi nixed his nuclear program. We didn't need occupation and nations-building to achieve that … only a show of force.

      A good writer on this subject is Angelo Cordivilla. I recommend his book "No Victory, No Peace." Update: check out his recent article:

      • Turbeaux

        Just wanted to let you know that I read Codevilla's article. He is one of the few analyst that I've read that really gets it.

        • JasonPappas

          I'm glad you found it enlightening. I just read it last week myself. But I've read his book years ago and attended a private lecture by Codevilla. (I misspelled his name in the original post; thanks for correcting it.)

          By the way, your comments above–about our defending a Sharia state–were right on!

  • USMCSniper

    Iran has moved radar to Syria that could provide early-warning against a possible surprise Israeli air attack against Tehran's nuclear sites, a US defense official said on Friday. The radar transfer was first reported in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday and prompted the State Department to voice concerns about cooperation between Syria and Iran. A year ago! You have got to be wondering who the hell is in charge of intelligence! Get some adult supervision in the OBama administration.

  • BS77

    How come the liberals never use the word "Victory" as the pre eminent goal in this war. Young women and men are dying…being killed…and the politicians tell the enemy we will be pulling out in 2011…..irregardless of these ultimate sacrifices. How can they do this?