Dec 9, 2009

Chaos in Afghanistan Policy

Joseph FarahBy Joseph Farah

Let me renew my call of several weeks ago to bring the troops home now from Afghanistan.

It's not that it wasn't a worthy cause.

It's not that we didn't have justification for the invasion.

It's not that I want to see the Taliban and al-Qaida win.

It's just that the Obama administration is unfit to command.

Let me give you an example.

On Saturday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told ABC's "This Week" he has no good intelligence on the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden.

"We don't know for a fact where Osama bin Laden is," he said. "If we did, we'd go and get him."

Asked how long it has been since the U.S. had any good intel on his location, Gates replied, "I think it's been years."

On Sunday, meanwhile, National Security Adviser James Jones said on CNN's "State of the Union" show that bin Laden still spends time in Afghanistan. He added most recent estimates have placed him inside Pakistan. He also said his best estimate is that the al-Qaida leader "is somewhere in Wazirstan – sometimes on the Pakistan side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border."

Which one of them, if either, is right?

Do we have recent intelligence or not?

Do these guys compare notes?

Do they even listen to what the other says on national television?

This is the national security adviser and the defense secretary – both telling different stories.

It's scary.

But that's not even the worst of it.

Much more troubling are the new rules of engagement for our troops in Afghanistan. They've been ordered not to fight a war, but to conduct a police action much like they would if they were dealing with suspected criminals in the United States.

U.S. troops are under orders not to fire unless fired upon.

U.S. troops are under strict orders not to return fire if civilians are present.

U.S. troops are under orders not to fire on terrorists who they believe have just planted improvised explosive devices meant to kill them if they are walking away. Only if they catch them in the act are they permitted to engage.

This is a recipe for disaster.

It's a recipe for another Vietnam, where the politicians back home were calling the shots rather than the brave fighting men and women on the scene.

Our soldiers know they will be second-guessed if they make a bad call. They might even be second-guessed if they make the right call.

We simply can't win like this.

It's further proof Obama doesn't want to win. He doesn't even talk about victory. His speech last week was about face-saving. It was about political objectives here at home. It was not about national security.

No one wants to see al-Qaida and the Taliban defeated more than I do. No one wants to see bin Laden killed more than I. No one wants to see Afghanistan freed from the clutches of these monsters more than I.

But it's not going to happen on Obama's watch.

It can't.

He won't allow it.

He has no concept of victory. He admits he doesn't believe in victory. He refuses to use the weapons in our arsenal that could achieve it. All his policies can achieve is the prolonging of the agony for our men and women in semi-combat – ordered to fight with one arm tied behind their back.

It was a noble and righteous cause, but the cause has been lost.

It's been lost because our leadership has no vision, no guts, no commitment, no sense of justice and no honor.

Related Links

Poll: 26% think Obama deserves Nobel - Politico
Government Has Yet to Provide Evidence to Support Its Prosecution of Navy Seals for Alleged Punching of Terrorist - CNS News
Petraeus Says Afghan War Is Tougher Fight Than Iraq - Bloomberg
Kucinich plans to force vote on US withdrawal from Afghanistan - Raw Story
Taking America Back: A Radical Plan to Revive Freedom, Morality, and Justice - Joseph Farah (Book)