Our Troops are Not Your Personal PhotoOp, Mr. PresidentI wish I could believe in his commitment to win, but no matter how forcefully he stated that Our Troops were on the Offense, his Administration refuses to let go of their July 2011 retreat dates and that is detrimental to gaining the loyalty of Afghans who must choose between death threats of the Taliban or a fledgling democracy led by a besieged Karzai. The enemy, which has always had a strategy of waiting out our resolve to wain, now has not only a date for the withdrawal to begin, but also a date to begin their final assault: 2015, when the retreat is supposed to be complete, as per his positons at the NATO Lisbon meeting. (They actually said 2014, but Britain is looking at 2015.)
So, the POTUS dropped into Afghanistan for a few hours on 3 December 2010. He was his third trip ever and the shortest, though he never found the time while he was the Chairman of the Senate subcomittee on the War there, until he became a candidate for POTUS.
He claimed there was nowhere else he would rather be for the holidays, than with the Troops, which he had assembled late at night for his photo-op. His time inside Air Force One in Afghanistan was longer than his time with the Troops or with General Petraeus who leads them. Weather prevented him from meeting with President Karzai. That and the short time he allocated for his "visit."
He did "take the time" to pin a few Purple Hearts on Wounded Warriors while on the ground.
Instead of believing the new found commitment he expressed to 3,000 Troops forced to listen in the wee hours of the night, I'm reminded of his campaign strategy of telling everyone what they wanted to hear. I'm reminded that he pioneered a micro-campaign strategy that told San Francisco donors how he'd tax and spend while telling Southern Independents that he'd protect Gun Rights, even as he told progressives that West Virginians in small towns clung to their guns and religion. Even his website was set up to tailor the message to the regional IP address.
I'm reminded that he claimed to have finished his "new strategy" for Afghanistan in the spring of 2009, then fired two Generals for speaking honestly about the War. General McKiernan was fired for failing to parrot an Administration apology, instead insisting on protecting the Honor of Our Warriors who killed bad guys at the request of the Villagers caught in the crossfire. General McChrystal was fired for things he didn't even say, for things his Warrior Class staff said, while stuck in Europe because of a Volcano, and while their lips were loosened by alcohol and a belief that the cool journalist would keep off the record remarks, off the record....
War on Terror has much more, point by point, of BHO's 'approach.' It IS a must read.