There is a peculiar custom that permeates the societies in the Middle East — a lack of commitment to telling the truth. It is cultural — they will tell you what they think you want to hear. It is difficult to understand whether this arises out of an attempt to not embarrass you by disagreeing, or, because you are not a member of their culture — you are an infidel — lying to you is of no consequence.
It is rapidly becoming a staple of America’s political culture with a myriad of politicians denying sordid personal affairs and parsing words to justify departure from previous commitments. Its chief practitioner now appears to be President Barack Obama and, with his most recent departure from the truth, the price will be the lives of literally hundreds of our young men and women in the armed forces.
During the campaign President Obama argued that we were fighting the wrong war — the one in Iraq. He said our focus should be on Afghanistan and defeating al-Qaida and he committed to defeating al-Qaida and the Taliban. He even went so far as to urge that we invade Pakistan to destroy the “safe-havens” of these insurgents in mountainous border regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
After his election President Obama used his intent to refocus our military strategy in Afghanistan as a partial justification for setting an artificial timeline for withdrawing from Iraq and for beginning a draw down of both our forces and our commitment to engage the insurgents.
But his “commitment” to Afghanistan and defeating al-Qaida and the Taliban were just words because that’s what he thought we wanted to hear. He knew that he could not get elected by supporting a complete withdrawal because he like former-President Jimmy Carter and former Democrat presidential candidate Michael Dukakis would appear to be weak on defense.
So he talked tough about Afghanistan — just like he’s talked tough about the pursuit of nuclear weapons by rogue regimes in North Korea and Iran. But in the end, he has done nothing — nothing overtly and even less covertly.
And now General McChrystal — President Obama’s handpicked leader for the Afghanistan conflict — has pointedly said that without more troops and weapons al-Qaida and the Taliban will win the war. This isn’t some policy wonk in a university affiliated think tank talking; this is the guy on the ground giving the commander-in-chief a realistic assessment of battlefield conditions.
And what is President Obama’s response? He went on David Letterman’s late night show to announce that, because of the increasing number of casualties in Afghanistan, he was not going to send additional troops immediately. Instead, he wanted to make sure “we had the policy right.” Given the political leanings of the former comedian, it is doubtful that the question was spontaneous or the answer unrehearsed.
But, it is a frightening reminiscence of President Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War. Johnson would routinely overrule his generals and plan and conduct military strategy from the White House. It was a disaster. Tens of thousands of America’s young men gave their lives in a fight that Johnson had no intention of winning but did not want to accept blame for losing. He agreed to a variety of limitations on the conduct of the war that gave the enemy undisturbed sanctuaries and allowed a hostile Congress to second guess every military request.
Now, today, we have President Obama whose total life experience prior to being elected president was that of a community organizer and a petty politician in America’s most politically corrupt city — Chicago. He has even less experience than President Johnson. He asked his own appointee for expert military advice and as quickly as he has received it, he has discounted it — speculating instead that maybe we should increase the number of drones.
He has agreed to limitations that endanger our troops and inhibit our ability to collect real time battlefield intelligence — chief among them is the agreement to turn over all insurgents to the Afghan government within 36 hours of capture. In most instances, given the remote areas in which the fight is engaged, it takes 36 hours to merely transport, let alone interrogate, such prisoners. And the Afghan government — as corrupt as any — treats these prisoners with a revolving door by releasing them almost immediately after taking them into custody — that is except for the few for whom there are tribal scores to settle and for whom torture and death await.
Let’s face it. President Obama is a product of the far left wing of the Democrat Party. He was born and raised in a political radicalism that views America as an “imperialist power” imposing its political will on others. As a result, he will never confront, with force, an oppressive foreign power or ideology. He will talk tough and do nothing.
Prior to President Obama’s inauguration, Vice-President Joe Biden predicted that the world would test the young and inexperienced president. Unfortunately, Biden believed that such a test would be in the form of an international crisis. But that isn’t how the world works. When confronted with an unknown quantity, the world probes. It doesn’t confront — at least initially.
And the world has been probing President Obama — North Korea’s continued escalation of its nuclear weapons capability, Iran’s continued pursuit of nuclear weapons, Russia’s bold invasion of Georgia, the resurgence of al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan, the abandonment of the European missile shield despite his promises to implement it, and so on and so on. In every instance, the world has found Obama weak and indecisive.
It’s happened before. The Soviet Union routinely tested a new president — John F. Kennedy — and found him weak and indecisive. So much so that they dared to locate nuclear missiles in Cuba and set the stage for an international confrontation that could have been avoided in the first instance.
But President Kennedy was dealing with rational men — ruthless but still rational — and they understood the impact of a nuclear war. Today we are confronted by irrational leaders — Kim Il Jung in North Korea and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran — and when the inevitable international confrontation occurs we can be less certain that the assurance of nuclear destruction will deter their ambitions — especially if they conclude that President Obama lacks the will to pull the trigger.
So where does that leave us in Afghanistan? It leaves us with a President who apparently is willing to fiddle indefinitely while he “gets the policy right” and who, in the meantime, is also willing to sacrifice the lives of more young men and women while imposing limitations on their ability to conduct the war, denying the reinforcement they need and allowing Nancy Pelosi and her cronies the ability to de-fund the combat effort.
For my part, bring the troops home — today. It is not worth sacrificing another American’s life on a war the President Obama has no intention of winning but for which he does not want to accept blame for losing.
With President Obama, you have to ignore what he says and focus on what he does. Just ask Pope Benedict who listened to President Obama say that he would do everything possible to reduce the number of abortions while signing an executive order permitting the use of federal funds to promote abortion internationally and arguing before the United Nations for expanded access to abortions on demand. Just ask Rep. Joe Wilson who listened to President Obama tell Congress that his universal healthcare bill would not apply to illegal aliens and watched Obama and his fellow Democrats reject amends which would do just that, preferring instead to leave in place a provision that prohibits inquiring into citizenship as a condition of receiving healthcare insurance.
It’s not so much that he lies, it’s that he tells you what he thinks you want to hear without any intention of doing what he says.