Posted by Erick Erickson
Barack Obama spoke at West Point tonight on the issue of Afghanistan. In 4608 words, he did not once mention the word “victory” and the closest he came to using the word “win” was those three letters appearing in the word “withdrawing.”
True to form, Obama spent most of his speech decrying the Bush administration going into Iraq. He said — a lie — that “Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive.” The historic record shows that George Bush never denied commanders in Afghanistan the support they requested.
The historic record shows that Barack Obama is not even granting McChrystal the General’s preferred troop level. McChrystal wanted 40,000 troops to 80,000 troops. So Bush gave the Generals in Afghanistan everything they wanted, despite Obama saying he did not, and Obama is not giving his General what was requested, despite claiming he is.
The historic record also shows that Barack Obama, despite his denials tonight, very clearly dithered on General McChrystal’s request, waiting more than ninety days to make a decision and prolonging action for at least another thirty days — mischaracterizing McChrystal’s request in an effort to save face and, yet again, defend himself from Dick Cheney.
That Obama even had to say “there has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war” is proof of just how powerful and resonate Dick Cheney is. How many times now has Dick Cheney gotten the best of Barack Obama? I’ve lost count.
The man who publicly opposed the surge in Iraq is now committing to a surge in Afghanistan, while still attacking the policy in Iraq. The key part of the Iraq strategy that Obama is attacking was the open ended surge in Iraq (nevermind that Obama refuses to use the word “surge”).
Proving yet again that he is a rank amateur, Obama intends to have a surge of 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, but concurrently announce the timeline for their withdrawal. This is akin to announcing to burglars exactly the time at which you intend to depart your house and also announcing you intend to turn off the burglar alarm. Al Qaeda will just wait us out. They’ll only need to wait a year. The men who spent years planning 9/11 are more patient than this President who wants instant gratification in a never ending campaign.
And that is, at the end of the day, what this was — not the speech of a Commander-in-Chief to his troops, but a campaign speech at time of falling poll numbers because of his dithering, trying to blame the other guy.
Only, there is no other guy now. There is only Barack Obama. A man who sees no special role for America in the world and a moral equivalence between good and evil.
Note this curious line from Obama’s speech:
And we must make it clear to every man, woman and child around the world who lives under the dark cloud of tyranny that America will speak out on behalf of their human rights, and tend to the light of freedom, and justice, and opportunity, and respect for the dignity of all peoples. That is who we are. That is the moral source of America’s authority.
Notice he is actually saying we will do nothing. We will talk and we will keep the light on — the policy equivalent of operating a Motel 6. Our President views the nation as he is himself — a smooth talker with no actual action. Barack Obama wants an America that talks a good game, but won’t actually get its hands dirty.
Lastly, Barack Obama said, “We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes.” What mistakes exactly? And why tell our soldiers that, in essence, they have made mistakes?
In the years after 9/11, George Bush made sure no terrorist attacks have occurred on American soil. The naive fool who replaced him seems to think the preferable policy is to preemptively announce we have no ambition for victory while broadcasting the code for the burglar alarm.
Since taking office, Barack Obama’s casualty count is nearly DOUBLE that of George Bush’s worst year as Commander in Chief. God help our troops. It’s amateur hour still at the White House.