Afghan Decision: Surge and Withdraw. Allies Confused!
In what could best be described as a mixed-message President Obama addressed the nation last night, with the characteristic staging to which we’ve become accustomed. Standing before a crowd of West Point Cadets Obama committed to sending 30,000 more combat troops into Afghanistan in one breath and committed to bringing them home in a pre-determined time line in the next breath.
Additional Marines are slated to enter combat as early as Christmas and, the President says, troops will then begin coming home in July 2011. No word as to whether a U.S. victory is a pre-condition of the pull-out. President Obama did not use the word "victory" in the entirety of this "war" speech.
"The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 the fastest pace possible so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers," Obama said.
Congressman Michael McCaul (Texas 10th Congressional District) commented on the President’s long-awaited decision on Afghanistan saying, “I applaud the President for his commitment to increasing troop forces in Afghanistan from where Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda attacked the United States. However, any timeline for withdraw of U.S. and NATO military forces should be based on conditions on the ground and not on the Washington political clock.
“The Afghan population and tribal leaders must have confidence in the staying power of the United States. Abandoning our commitment only serves to embolden the Taliban and al Qaeda and undermine the overall mission.”
CONFUSING THE WORLD -
President Obama’s vacillation, and delay in making any decision has left our overseas allies in confusion as to the genuine commitment of the United States to winning the war against terror. British Defense Secretary, Bob Ainsworth has publicly blamed Obama for declining British public support of the war in Afghanistan.
According to the Telegraph, “Mr. Ainsworth took the unprecedented step of publicly criticizing the U.S. President and his delays in sending more troops to bolster the mission against the Taliban. A 'period of hiatus' in Washington — and a lack of clear direction — had made it harder for ministers to persuade the British public to go on backing the Afghan mission in the face of a rising death toll, he said. Senior British Government sources have become increasingly frustrated with Mr. Obama’s ‘dithering’ on Afghanistan.”
Writer Peter Wehner of Commentary Magazine reports, “The President is ‘Obama the Impotent,’ according to Steven Hill of the Guardian.”
“The Economist calls Obama the ‘Pacific (and pussyfooting) president.’ The Financial Times refers to ‘relations between the U.S. and Europe, which started the year of talks as allies, near breakdown.’ The German magazine Der Spiegel accuses the president of being ‘dishonest with Europe’ on the subject of climate change.
“Another withering piece in Der Spiegel, titled ‘Obama’s Nice Guy Act Gets Him Nowhere on the World Stage,’ lists the instances in which Obama is being rolled.
“The Jerusalem Post puts it this way: ‘Everybody is saying no to the American president these days. And it’s not just that they’re saying no, it’s also the way they’re saying no.’
“’He talks too much,’ a Saudi academic who had once been smitten with Barack Obama tells the Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami. The Saudi ‘has wearied of Mr. Obama and now does not bother with the Obama oratory,’ according to Ajami. But he is hardly alone, this academic. In the endless chatter of this region, and in the commentaries offered by the press, the theme is one of disappointment. In the Arab-Islamic world, Barack Obama has come down to earth.’”
AMERICANS UNHAPPY -
Meanwhile at home, a new Gallup Poll shows released Tuesday shows only 35 percent of Americans now approve of Obama's handling of the war; while 55 percent disapprove.
Mr. Obama’s own party is ready to stand in opposition of his long-awaited decision on Afghanistan. Senator Russ Feingold, D-Wis., has threatened to try to block funding for the troop increase.
Fellow Wisconsin Democrat, Representative David Obey, will only support the troop surge if it accompanies the levying of a “war tax” on U.S. citizens who make more than $30,000 a year.
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said a surtax should be part of the debate about how to pay for the war as well.
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Cypress, Texas, United States