From a brilliant column by Caroline Glick:
Then there is the message he sent the Afghans. Just as Barak and Olmert discouraged the Lebanese from cooperating with IDF operations against Hizbullah when they declared that the IDF would not remain in Lebanon, so by announcing a timeline for withdrawal at the same time he announced his force build-up, Obama told the Afghan people that they have no reason to collaborate with US and NATO forces on the ground.
For Obama personally, this is a win-win situation. If McChrystal is able to make headway, Obama will take the credit. If not, Obama will blame McChrystal, and the Afghans, and NATO, and the Republicans, and George W. Bush for his failure. Then he will withdraw all US forces from the country, and watch as a disinterested observer as the Taliban retake control of Afghanistan – all to the rousing applause of his anti-war political base.
On the other hand, for the American people and for the free world as a whole, this is a lose-lose situation. The sound and light show strategy Obama announced will enable al-Qaida and the Taliban to grow stronger as they wait out the American withdrawal. Likewise, just as Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon emboldened the Palestinians to initiate their terror war in September 2000, so the US retreat from Afghanistan will embolden terror forces and their state sponsors the world over to attack US and Western targets.
IN ISRAEL, the refusal of successive governments to fight our jihadist enemies to victory served to demoralize the public by making it believe that the IDF is incapable of truly protecting the country. The path that Obama has now embarked upon in Afghanistan will likely have the same impact on many Americans. This posture of weakness and helplessness will be sharply contrasted with the emboldened stance of America’s enemies.
From the time the Netanyahu government took office in late March until its recent moves to cut a shockingly dangerous deal with Hamas and prohibit Jewish building in Judea and Samaria, there was a sense that Israel had turned a corner. The public rejected the Barak-Olmert legacy of defeat and elected Netanyahu to change the course of the country. Depressingly, today it is less apparent that Netanyahu has in fact abandoned their legacy of defeat.
What is absolutely certain, however, is that until both Israel and the US change course and defeat our enemies, we will not be safe. Moreover, we must recognize the infuriating fact that even if both countries decide to defeat their enemies, their embrace of victory will come too late for the soldiers killed in futile and pointless battles and for civilians murdered in terror attacks that could have been prevented.
This is worth reading in full.
I fear that both the USA and Israel will pay a terrible price for the despair-inducing plague of bad leadership that afflicts both countries.
3 thoughts on ““Lebanon’s legacy in Afghanistan””
“The path that Obama has now embarked upon in Afghanistan … . This posture of weakness and helplessness … .”
I yield to no one in my dislike of Mr. Obama as a politician and leader. But this is hysteria.
Obama is ramping up the military effort. He has to keep political support for the war at home, something every war president has to do, and his “withdrawal date” is a gesture to his own base that is in reality not much of a deadline. Further, the Afghans need to understand that we won’t defend them forever and they need to step up, or lose and die. It is not up to us to fight there forever or with unlimited means and at unlimited cost. It would have been wrong for him to make Churchillian verbal gestures for a limited war of limited value. Churchill was Churchill when it was 1940 and utter defeat stared them in the face. He did not make grand speeches about sending punitive expeditions into Afghanistan. It would have been worse than pointless, it would have inflated the thing beyond its worth. Obama’s handling of it has been tolerable given the constraints.
Gen. McChrystal says he can do it with what he has been given. Until I see evidence to the contrary, I’ll believe him.
I used to think that Glick was alarmist. Her written tone is sometimes a bit shrill. However, since I started reading her columns some years ago her analyses of big issues have held up well. I think she is reasonable in this case.
One’s views on our involvement in Afghanistan tend to reflect one’s views on the West’s fight against radical Islam. Those of us who see the struggle as urgent, global and existential tend to see our long-term involvement in Afghanistan, and in other countries as well, as necessary parts of an overall strategy. At the other extreme, Americans who think that the “Afghan war” is about getting Bin Laden or similar limited goals are more likely to be impatient with our continued involvement there.
One of the main problems with Obama’s strategy is that it appears to be based mainly on domestic political concerns. Why else announce a withdrawal timetable. He may be doing it to assuage his leftist base, but our enemies and friends abroad will interpret it as lack of resolve, which it is. This was Glick’s main point, and I don’t think it’s assailable. The imperfections of the Afghans are secondary to our need to remain in their country to defend our interests.
the body count under president obama’s bus does not give me any optimism as to his actions regarding the situation in afghanistan
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