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Obama, Afghanistan and the Art of Distraction

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

President Obama has attended 25 Democratic party fundraisers in his first nine months in office. Comparatively, George W. Bush attended six political fundraisers and Bill Clinton went to five during their first year in office. Mark Knoller reported that Obama has also played 24 rounds of golf since taking office. It took ‘W’ two years and ten months to play the same number of rounds.

Gen Stanley McChrystal submitted his report on Afghanistan, requested by the president on Aug 31st. Obama took that report with him to Camp David on Labor Day weekend. Three weeks later, President Obama made no decision on the report and it’s contents were leaked to the press. McChrystal requested 45,000 additional troops saying, “the stakes in Afghanistan are high” and without sufficient troops, the mission could fail. The President continued to sit on the report and in frustration McChrystal unloaded on the administration in a blunt speech in London.

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President Obama meets with Gen McChrystal for 25 minutes on Air Force One

At the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, General McChrystal said that the proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda, which is favored by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to “Chaos-istan”. When asked whether he would support it, he said: “The short answer is: No.” “Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely, and nor will public support.”

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago’s unsuccessful Olympic bid. Since then Obama has held six strategy sessions (a seventh is scheduled for this Friday) on deciding what his decision on McChrystal’s request will be.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney rebuked Obama last week in a speech, saying the President was “dithering” and was “putting politics over security.” The White House went into attack mode, criticizing Cheney, Bush, declaring a war on Fox News and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The art of distraction is Obama’s only play in his book. He does not have the strength of conviction to make a tough decision and is now stalling in an effort to avoid tainting next Tuesday’s two Democratic Governor re-election bids in Virginia and New Jersey.

Press Secretary Gibbs insists the decision is really coming after the November 7th runoff elections in Afghanistan. Today, they added another distraction, saying that Obama is now considering a scaled down troop escalation, billed as “McChrystal Light”.

While Obama dithers more than 55 Americans have been killed in action in Afghanistan this month — the highest number of KIA’s in a month since the war began. This year more than 270 have died, compared to 153 for all of 2008.

Obama’s caution, which in reality is cowardice, is an attempt to appease his hard left base, but it reeks of failure to the independents who voted for him.

Forty five years ago today (1967), Ronald Reagan made his historic “A Time for Choosing” speech in which he said,

“There can be no real peace while one American is dying some place in the world for the rest of us. We’re at war with the most dangerous enemy that has ever faced mankind in his long climb from the swamp to the stars, and it’s been said if we lose that war, and in so doing lose this way of freedom of ours, history will record with the greatest astonishment that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent its happening. Well I think it’s time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the Founding Fathers.”

Watch the speech Reagan gave below and then think how similar Barack Obama is to Jimmy Carter.

Posted: 2335PT


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