This has been sitting in my ‘to post’ queue for too long. With Barack Obama in full throated strategy pronouncement mode, “We need more troops in Afghanistan!” – something everybody with a brain has been saying to NATO for quite some time – I thought I should get it done.
Obama, by way of background, is chairman of a foreign relations subcommittee covering European matters. He has never held a hearing on how to bolster NATO in Afghanistan. The battle of Afghanistan is a NATO operation, though some allies are more equal than others (thank you Albania, Latvia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Australia, Norway, Poland – with apologies to any combat units I’ve missed). Obama should have been practicing his magical diplomacy on Germany and France at the least.
He’s been AWOL from many Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Afghanistan.
…since joining Foreign Relations, Obama has missed three meetings on a “new strategy” in Afghanistan, a country he has never visited.
Obama was absent from a January 31 meeting this year, and also was not present for a hearing on Sept. 21, 2006. He did attend a March 8, 2007 hearing on a new Afghanistan strategy.
On Feb. 15, 2007, Obama also missed a committee hearing on U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He has also been unflinchingly forthright in his opinion of our military personnel in Afghanistan:
…Asked whether he would move U.S. troops out of Iraq to better fight terrorism elsewhere, he brought up Afghanistan and said, “We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there.”
And his attitude about allies bordering Afghanistan who possess nuclear weapons is not all that nuanced, either:
Earlier this month, Obama drew criticism when he said he would send troops into Pakistan to hunt down terrorists even without local permission, if warranted.
The meat of the matter is this, if we had followed BHO’s advice about “the surge,” Christopher Hitchens would, of necessity, have written this quite differently.
If it is true, as yesterday’s three-decker front-page headline in the New York Times had it, that “U.S. Considering Stepping Up Pace of Iraq Pullout/ Fall in Violence Cited/ More Troops Could Be Freed for Operations in Afghanistan,” then this can only be because al-Qaida in Iraq has been subjected to a battlefield defeat at our hands—a military defeat accompanied by a political humiliation in which its fanatics have been angrily repudiated by the very people they falsely claimed to be fighting for. If we had left Iraq according to the timetable of the anti-war movement, the situation would be the precise reverse: The Iraqi people would now be excruciatingly tyrannized by the gloating sadists of al-Qaida, who could further boast of having inflicted a battlefield defeat on the United States. I dare say the word of that would have spread to Afghanistan fast enough and, indeed, to other places where the enemy operates. Bear this in mind next time you hear any easy talk about “the hunt for the real enemy” or any loose babble that suggests that we can only confront our foes in one place at a time.
RTWT Highly recommended.