Archive for May 8th, 2009

Much like King Arthur of medieval lore, Barack Obama is on his own quest for the holy grail. A quest that has led him along a precarious path that traverses some of the most rugged and isolated terrain on earth. In comments from the White House this week President Obama committed the United States militarily and economically to a long term commitment to rid Afghanistan of Al Queda. The President was flanked by the Presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan who stood patiently to either side of Barack Obama while he read pontifical comments from his ever present teleprompter.

Barack Obama has become obsessed with locating and capturing or killing Osama Bin Laden in order to establish his credentials as Commander in Chief. He is so obsessed, that he is willing to commit American troops for an indeterminate period to a nation with a literacy rate of 28%, an unemployment rate of 40%, a life expectancy of less than 45 years and an insurgency led by members of the largest ethnic group in the nation.

As despicable as we may believe the Taliban to be, they have reemerged as a force in a nation that has a significant percent of their population clinging to a fundamentalism that has receded the calendar by centuries. The Taliban has provided cover for Al Queda in the  rugged cavernous mountain terrain that serves as the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the incursion of the Taliban further into Pakistan and the concern about the potential for radical fundamentalist’s to attain control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, it is understandable that the President would want to strengthen our alliance with both Pakistan and Afghanistan to rid the region of this fundamentalist threat and promote the policies of the Bush Doctrine, by supporting democratic processes in both nations.

However, by aligning America’s interest with the interests of Afghanistan and Pakistan Barack Obama is playing Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to George W. Bush’s, Jack Kennedy. An obsession with being the President who rids the world of Al Queda is leading America further into a war in a sovereign nation which finds itself after 90 years of independence to be the primary supplier of opium to the world. It is a nation which in 90 years continues to harbor vast regions of its territory under the control of  loose alliances of War Lords whose principal income is derived by the sale and distribution of opium.

We cannot allow the Taliban to gain control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. At the same time it is doubtful that the American electorate will long tolerate nor condone the expense of an expanded military presence in Afghanistan. The Afghans broke the back of the Soviet Union. America is deploying 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. How soon will it be before additional troops are deployed. As Iraq winds down and our troops are redeployed to Afghanistan how quickly will our experience in Vietnam be called to the fore front of the American dialogue.

We have traversed a long and difficult path in Iraq. A nation with 3 times the literacy rate of Afghanistan, an average life expectancy more than 50% greater than Afghanistan and for all intents and purposes a modern Arab nation. America has struggled for years with the acceptance of this war, while Afghanistan remained the “other’ war. Afghanistan, a nation with one foot in a medieval world and another foot trying to find its way in a contemporary world is fast on its way to becoming the war.

The Obama administration needs to define and execute a strategy in Afghanistan that establishes clear objectives and assures a timely exit. The nation can ill afford a long war in brutal terrain against an insurgency that has no desire for democracy and whose sole purpose and sense of being is derived from jihad while our own security is threatened by an administration more concerned about political correctness and its legacy than our security.

Our concern is that this President, who has proved to be of a singular arrogance, will allow his obsession with proving that he is decisive and strong  to lead this nation further into the dark caverns of Afghanistan and will soon wither from the battle as it becomes politically expedient to do so. As midterm elections approach in the coming year the price of Afghanistan’s survival may prove too costly to a Democrat controlled Congress and a President who governs by polls.

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