Obama must face reality in Afghanistan

Published 11:09 pm Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It would seem self-evident but apparently not to President Barack Obama. It’s a bad idea to tell your enemies when you plan to pack up and go.
You would think that Obama might have learned this already. It’s pretty simple, announcing a departure date gives your enemies an opportunity to make their battle plans accordingly. But in announcing that U.S. Troop strength in Afghanistan would remain at 9,800 for now, he also announced plans to reduce the force to 5,500 late in 2016 or early in 2017.
Obama can’t resist the urge to set deadlines because he made campaign promises to get the United State out of wars that former President George W. Bush got us into. The problem is that Bush committed troops to Afghanistan — and to Iraq as well — for a reason, not just for funzies. The United States was attacked by terrorists, and Afghanistan’s Taliban harbored their leadership and training facilities.
Back in the heady days of 2008, Democrats liked to talk about the good war on terror and the bad war on terror. Iraq was the bad war cooked up by the Bush neo-cons as part of a grand strategy of regime change and nation building.
The good war, the war that we ought to have made our priority all along, was Afghanistan. Had the Bush administration merely concentrated on it as it should have, the narrative went, the war on terror would have been won, and we’d have our troops home by now.
It was a great narrative for Democrats, allowing them to oppose the war in Iraq but still sound a bit hawkish. The good war got the attention they said it deserved when Obama pulled out of Iraq right on schedule.
Online – www.tuscaloosanews.com

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