Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
A day after the Taliban had overrun the city of Kunduz, Obama told the UN that, "Ideologies are not defeated with guns, they're defeated by better ideas."
The better idea that the Taliban had was fighting a war with guns, while Obama was still searching through his hashtags for a better idea than a bullet. Instead of convening a summit on “countering violent extremism”, the Taliban retook the last of their cities to fall to the United States.
In a single day in September, the Taliban had captured a city of a few hundred thousand people.
Tajikistan saw the fall of Kunduz coming months ago, but Obama’s vaunted intel operation was too busy cooking the books to make it seem as if he was winning in Iraq to waste time lying about another war.
In March, Obama was crediting himself with having shifted the momentum against the Taliban. Now the Taliban have shown him which way the momentum had really shifted.
Last year, he declared the war was over. But Obama and reality have never been on speaking terms. The war had not reached a “responsible conclusion”. The fighting wasn’t over until the Taliban said so.
Obama claimed that the combat mission of American soldiers was over and that they were only there as advisers. This comes as a surprise to the Americans who are fighting the Taliban in Kunduz, trying to relieve trapped Afghan forces. The official story is that they’re “advising” the Afghans. The real story is that Obama lied to American soldiers and to the American people.
The Afghanistan scam isn’t even a new scam. Obama pulled this same exact trick in Iraq, renaming the mission and redefining the American soldiers there as “advisers”. But ISIS let him withdraw before humiliating him by capturing a city. The Taliban haven’t been that obliging.
After futile efforts to negotiate with Biden’s “moderate Taliban”, Obama gave up and decided to go ahead with a fake withdrawal. The Taliban responded to the fake withdrawal with a real invasion.
Like the rise of ISIS, the Taliban victory was only a surprise to the foreign policy cocktail crowd circuit. The Taliban had been moving in on the city for months. While Obama golfed, partied and selfied, the Jihadists tightened their grip on the city and its underequipped forces. The Taliban still don’t golf, but now they’re the ones partying and taking selfies in the streets of the provincial capital.
In a replay of the Iraq disaster, the Afghan forces surrendered or deserted to join the enemy. Obama’s plans for a transition have been shot to hell. His declaration that the war is over has become a joke.
And the Taliban have demonstrated that he can’t leave without their permission.
The question is what will Obama have to give the Taliban in exchange for letting him leave. The 5 Taliban commanders weren’t enough. Freeing every terrorist in Gitmo won’t do it either. Obama’s deal with Iran has sharpened the appetites of terrorists around the world.
Just like in Iraq, Obama chose to ignore the threat for as long as possible until it was on the news. Obama cooked the intel on the fight against ISIS to make it seem like he was winning, but he had been cooking the intel on Afghanistan from the very beginning.
Americans have never been told the dirty truth about his Afghan surge.
Obama needed cover to withdraw from Iraq so he lied and claimed that the surge was needed to fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. His own intelligence briefings however showed that there were only around 100 Al Qaeda in the country. The surge was based on a lie and the lies didn’t stop there.
Thousands of American soldiers were killed or crippled by rules of engagement that kept them from fighting the Taliban. Obama didn’t want to beat the Taliban. He wanted to bring them to the negotiating table. That was his “better idea” than “guns”. It was a better idea built on dead American soldiers.
And the “better idea” has failed miserably.
The negotiations with the Taliban didn’t work. The political solution failed in Afghanistan, just as it did in Iraq. And now the Taliban are rebounding, the way that ISIS did in Iraq. All Obama has left are his lies.
The official story is that our mission is no longer a combat mission. Never mind the bombs and bullets.
Meanwhile the United States can’t provide useful support to the Afghans because the Taliban have taken a city and Obama won’t authorize air strikes on populated areas. It’s the same strategy of human shields that allowed Hamas and ISIS to hold out, and now the Taliban are using it to their advantage.
The US can’t provide air support for battles within the city. That leaves Obama with a choice between sending American soldiers into battle or carrying out air strikes on urban targets. He’s already made his decision by sending in American personnel and then lying about it. And then lying about the Taliban.
The Taliban, according to an anonymous official source, attacked Kunduz for “publicity purposes”.
But it’s Obama who bombs countries for “publicity purposes” as he’s doing in Iraq and Syria. The Taliban aren’t trying to recapture Afghanistan for “publicity purposes”. They are doing it to establish Islamic law.
Islamic law is the Taliban’s version of a better idea. And Islamic law is established by the gun and the sword. Obama’s better idea is the lie.
Obama lies about the motives and agendas of Islamic Jihadists. He lied about his success in Afghanistan. He lied about the end of the war, the reasons for the large American death toll and his transition plans.
In a sharp reversal, we are now the ones whose screens are full of Iraqi information ministers bellicosely yelling about all their victories. And then we’re confused when ISIS or the Taliban show up at the airport.
At the summit on “countering violent extremism”, Obama doubled down on beating the terrorists with Twitter hashtags, jobs and support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Then he proceeded to blame Ben Carson and Donald Trump for ISIS and the Taliban, claiming that the failure to build “diverse, tolerant, inclusive societies that reject anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant bigotry” leads to Muslim “extremism”.
Afghanistan is diverse, if you count only Muslims, but not remotely tolerant or inclusive.
Obama claimed that “We will ultimately prevail because we are guided by a stronger, better vision”. But this progressively bionic, “stronger, better vision” didn’t even allow Obama to see the fall of Kunduz or Mosul coming. The conviction that his ideology is on the right side of history is useful when terrorizing a bewildered GOP establishment, but the Taliban are far more convinced of their rightness than he is. In a battle between fanatics, Islamic Jihadists have more conviction than leftist community organizers.
The first American team into Afghanistan after 9/11 flew in a plane carrying the tail number 9/11/01 with orders to link up with the Northern Alliance, break the Taliban and destroy Al Qaeda.
Kunduz fell to the Northern Alliance two months after September 11. What the Bush administration managed to get done in a few months at the cost of eight lives, Obama spent six years in office undoing at the cost of thousands of American lives.
Obama still doesn’t have a plan for winning in Afghanistan. Certainly nothing as crude as the team that flew in on a plane marked 9/11/01. But he does have a “vision”. Unlike plans, visions are worth very little. Every deluded lunatic has them. Obama’s vision is that he is bound to win because the left is right.
That’s not a plan. It’s a mental illness.
The Taliban are just as deluded as Obama, but they make plans to carry out their vision. They don’t just give another version of the same empty speech, spew a few lies at a camera and then go golfing.
Instead they coordinate a lightning attack that takes local forces by surprise and allows them to seize a city. Like Obama, the Taliban are evil. Unlike him, they aren’t also lazy and incompetent.
That’s why the Taliban have Kunduz, while Obama is left with his vision, his hashtags and his lies.