Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was absolutely right. Afghanistan is Obama’s war and, judging by other recent Democratic ventures in military affairs, isn’t likely to turn out well.
It has been idiotically claimed that Steele’s statement about Afghanistan being Obama’s war is “inaccurate” – as if Steele is unaware Bush invaded Afghanistan soon after Sept. 11. (No one can forget that – even liberals pretended to support that war for three whole weeks.)
Yes, Bush invaded Afghanistan soon after Sept. 11. Within the first few months we had toppled the Taliban, killed or captured hundreds of al-Qaida fighters and arranged for democratic elections, resulting in an American-friendly government.
Then Bush declared success and turned his attention to Iraq, leaving minimal troops behind in Afghanistan to prevent Osama bin Laden from regrouping, swat down al-Qaida fighters and gather intelligence.
Having some vague concept of America’s national interest – unlike liberals – the Bush administration could see that a country of illiterate peasants living in caves ruled by “warlords” was not a primo target for “nation-building.”
By contrast, Iraq had a young, educated, pro-Western populace that was ideal for regime change.
If Saddam Hussein had been a peach, it would still be a major victory in the war on terrorism to have a Muslim Israel in that part of the globe, and it sure wasn’t going to be Afghanistan (literacy rate, 19 percent; life expectancy, 44 years; working toilets, 7).
But Iraq also was a state sponsor of terrorism; was attempting to build nuclear weapons (according to endless bipartisan investigations in this country and in Britain – thanks, liberals!); nurtured and gave refuge to Islamic terrorists – including the 1993 World Trade Center bombers; was led by a mass murderer who had used weapons of mass destruction; paid bonuses to the families of suicide bombers; had vast oil reserves; and is situated at the heart of a critical region.
Having absolutely no interest in America’s national security, the entire Democratic Party (save Joe Lieberman) wailed about the war in Iraq for five years, pretending they really wanted to go great-guns in Afghanistan. What the heck: They had already voted for the war in Afghanistan in the wake of Sept. 11 when they would have been hanged as traitors had they objected.
The obsession with Afghanistan was pure rhetoric. Democrats have no interest in fighting any war that would serve America’s interests. (They’re too jammed with their wars against evangelicals, Wal-Mart, the Pledge of Allegiance, SUVs and the middle class.) Absent Iraq, they’d have been bad-mouthing Afghanistan, too.
So for the entire course of the magnificently successful war in Iraq, all we heard from these useless Democrats was that Iraq was a “war of choice,” while Afghanistan – the good war! – was a “war of necessity.” “Bush took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan!” “He got distracted by war in Iraq!” “WHERE’S OSAMA?” and – my favorite – “Iraq didn’t attack us on Sept. 11!”
The above complaints about Iraq come – nearly verbatim – from speeches and press conferences by Obama, Joe Biden and Obama’s national security advisers Susan Rice and Richard Clarke. Also, the entire gutless Democratic Party. Some liberals began including them in their wedding vows.
Obama hasn’t ramped up the war in Afghanistan based on a careful calculation of America’s strategic objectives. He did it because he was trapped by his own rhetorical game of bashing the Iraq war while pretending to be a hawk on Afghanistan.
At this point, Afghanistan is every bit as much Obama’s war as Vietnam was Lyndon Johnson’s war. True, President Kennedy was the first to send troops to Vietnam. We had 16,000 troops in Vietnam when JFK was assassinated. Within four years, LBJ had sent 400,000 troops there.
In the entire seven-year course of the Afghanistan war under Bush, from October 2001 to January 2009, 625 American soldiers were killed. In 18 short months, Obama has nearly doubled that number to 1,124 Americans killed.
Republicans used to think seriously about deploying the military. President Eisenhower sent aid to South Vietnam, but said he could not “conceive of a greater tragedy” for America than getting heavily involved there.
As Michael Steele correctly noted, every great power that’s tried to stage an all-out war in Afghanistan has gotten its a– handed to it. Everyone knows it’s not worth the trouble and resources to take a nation of rocks and brigands.
Based on Obama’s rules of engagement for our troops in Afghanistan, we’re apparently not even fighting a war. The greatest fighting force in the world is building vocational schools and distributing cheese crackers to children.
There’s even talk of giving soldiers medals for NOT shooting people, which I gather will be awarded posthumously. Naomi Campbell is rougher with her assistants than our troops are allowed to be with Taliban fighters.
Nonetheless, Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney have demanded that Steele resign as head of the RNC for saying Afghanistan is now Obama’s war – and a badly thought-out one at that. (Didn’t liberals warn us that neoconservatives want permanent war?)
Of course, if Kristol is writing the rules for being a Republican, we’re all going to have to get on board for amnesty and a “National Greatness Project,” too – other Kristol ideas for the Republican Party. Also, John McCain. Kristol was an early backer of McCain for president – and look how great that turned out!