At the same time that President Obama announced the deployment of an additional 30,000 American troops to Afghanistan, he said the U.S. would begin pulling out by July of 2011—just before his reelection campaign begins in earnest, and only one year after our forces will have been deployed fully. It is a political decision, and tantamount to conceding the country to our enemies sometime that year. The president’s decisions are not surprising because he is an anti-war politician who never served in the U.S. military, and he knows nothing about running a war. His plans are designed to appease his political soul mates and constituency, America’s anti-war far-Left.
His “dithering” for months now has undermined the support of our allies, and sent a clear signal to our enemies that he is weak and indecisive, and America is too. The halfway measures of his new Afghan policies will not satisfy the American political Left or Right, our allies or the Afghan people—whose suffering will continue. However, the president will have pleased our enemies, especially when he is focused on an “exit strategy” instead of winning. It is disturbing to watch him pathetically try to micro-manage the war in Afghanistan from the White House. Indeed, it smacks of Lyndon Johnson’s tragic handling of the Vietnam War that resulted in the senseless deaths of more than 58,000 Americans, and more than 150,000 who were wounded; and the end of his presidency.
We began in Afghanistan militarily shortly after 9/11, and were successful in taking over the country and ousting the Taliban. The poppy crops should have been eradicated then, so the worldwide supply of heroin would have been reduced dramatically. The Associated Press reported on November 23, 2009: “The poppy crop in Afghanistan, which produces 90 percent of the world’s supply of opium, is linked to corruption, addiction and a drug trade that bankrolls the Taliban insurgency.” Opium poppies are the raw ingredient in making heroin.
We should not have turned our attention to Iraq until Afghanistan was stabilized fully. Because we directed our resources to Iraq, Afghanistan was allowed to “languish” and the Taliban were permitted to regain traction. We have made great strides in helping the long-suffering women of Afghanistan, and that must not cease or be neglected. Afghanistan is important to us strategically as well, because the Taliban “straddle” both Afghanistan and Pakistan; and if Afghanistan falls, Pakistan might descend into unfathomable chaos, with its nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of our enemies.
President Obama is a far-Left neophyte who is in the process of presiding over a failed presidency, which is likely to get worse with the passage of time. General David Petraeus and other leaders in our military chain of command have endorsed General Stanley McChrystal’s requests for more troops, which according to reports involve far more than 40,000. The president should let the military handle Afghanistan, and allow General McChrystal to do his job.
Obama has not been successful at running anything, ever; and it is unlikely that Afghanistan will be an exception. At best he is a failed “community organizer” from Chicago, who was raised in Hawaii and Indonesia. Just read his book, “Dreams from My Father”—which is a real eye opener—if you have any doubts. His beliefs are premised on naïveté and defeat, as well as the notion that the U.S. cannot send additional troops without a plan for getting them out. For example, the Washington Post quotes White House officials as stating: “[Obama’s] desired end state in Afghanistan envisions more informal local security arrangements than in Iraq, a less-capable national government and a greater tolerance of insurgent violence.”
This is a prescription for defeat, and it sends precisely the wrong message to our enemies, who will simply wait for Obama to get weaker and for America to leave Afghanistan. It will result in the shedding of American blood and that of our allies for nothing, like Vietnam. Former Vice President Dick Cheney is correct when he says that the average Afghan citizen “sees talk about exit strategies and how soon we can get out, instead of talk about how we win. Those folks . . . begin to look for ways to accommodate their enemies. They’re worried the United States isn’t going to be there much longer and the bad guys are.”
President Obama is correct that the people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades, which makes his exit strategy of one year after deployment so unrealistic. A year passes in the flash of an eye; and it is not long enough to make a difference in Afghanistan. Just imagine Franklin Delano Roosevelt saying that he would not commit U.S. troops to the war against Hitler in Europe, or the war against Japan in the Pacific, unless he had an exit strategy in place and operating one year after they were deployed. Thank God that Obama was not in charge of the D-Day invasion of Europe, or other decision-making in World War II. Hitler would have won, and Europe (including the UK) would be speaking German.
More and more Americans are realizing that Obama is a mistake, even though he is personable, intelligent and certainly a fine speaker. The highly-respected Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll—for December 24, 2009—shows that 43 percent of U.S. voters Strongly Disapprove of the way Obama is performing his role as president, while 27 percent Strongly Approve, giving him a negative Presidential Approval Index rating of -16. That speaks volumes about where Obama and America are heading.
The president’s Afghan policies are doomed from the start because he is not sending enough troops to succeed; he has set an unrealistic exit date; Al Qaeda and the Taliban will be active and aggressive in Afghanistan long after Obama exits politics; he will not be able to hold even his own party together with respect to this issue; and like Vietnam for Lyndon Johnson, Afghanistan may prove to be Obama’s political undoing—apart from the economy, ObamaCare, national security and other vital issues. Since when does an anti-war far-Left community organizer know how to run a war, much less successfully?
© 2009, Timothy D. Naegele
 Mr. Naegele was counsel to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass), the first black senator since Reconstruction after the U.S. Civil War. He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates (www.naegele.com). He has an undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA, as well as two law degrees from the School of Law (Boalt Hall), University of California, Berkeley, and from Georgetown University. He is a member of the District of Columbia and California bars. He served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency at the Pentagon, where he received the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Mr. Naegele is an Independent politically; and he is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in American Law, and Who’s Who in Finance and Business. He has written extensively over the years. See, e.g., www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles
 See Obama, “Dreams from My Father” (paperback “Revised Edition,” published by Three Rivers Press, 2004); see also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/
 See infra n.2.