Are Afghanistan, Iraq And Pakistan Hopeless, And Is The Spread Of Radical Islam Inevitable, And Is Barack Obama Finished As America’s President?

9 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Arnaud de Borchgrave—editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International—has written another brilliant and very sobering article entitled, “Playing with fire,” which is worth reading and reflecting on.[2] In it, he states:

Unless [Gainesville, Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who decided to mark the ninth anniversary of 9/11 by proclaiming “International Burn a Koran Day,”] canceled his Koran book burning . . . , Christians throughout the world’s 1.2 billion-strong Muslim nations and Muslim communities would suddenly feel threatened. Those who converted from Islam to Christianity would be prime targets.

I will always remember the senseless killing of film director Theo van Gogh, who was the great-grandson of Theo van Gogh, the brother of the famous painter Vincent van Gogh.[3] I vehemently disagree with a burning of the Koran or the Bible.  However, is the Western world and culture going to be intimidated by and held hostage to the radical followers of Islam?  Is this “The Clash of Civilizations” that political scientist Samuel P. Huntington and former President Richard M. Nixon were concerned about?[4] Will Westerners be forced to subjugate their beliefs on the subject of Islam and Islamic terrorists, to the will of Islamic fanatics?  I think not.

Arnaud de Borchgrave adds:

Even if a superannuated preacher canceled the public burning of the Koran, the damage had already been done.

Yes, it would appear so.  Humpty Dumpty has fallen off the wall already.

Next, de Borchgrave notes:

NATO members pledged 2,796 trainers [to Afghanistan] but only 500 showed up. The NATO bureaucracy in Brussels couldn’t make it happen, according to one U.S. officer involved in the program. Most NATO countries are steadily reducing their defense budgets.

This is ominous.  Among other things, Germany’s “vaulted” military has been a paper tiger for years, in actuality.  Also, it seems that all of Europe will be weak, which might foretell America’s military future too—certainly if Obama were to get a second term in office, which is unlikely.

Lastly, de Borchgrave compares the collapse of the South Vietnamese army with that of the Afghan army, and describes the hopelessness of America’s Afghan adventure.  While there are certainly parallels between Vietnam and Afghanistan, the stakes are even higher now with a nuclearized Pakistan next door.

If Obama cuts and runs from Afghanistan, the war’s failure will be hung around his neck politically like Vietnam was hung around Lyndon Johnson’s neck.  It prevented Johnson from running for reelection in 1968; and the same thing might be true of Obama as the presidential election of 2012 approaches.  The foremost concern, however, is America’s position in the world and that of our military, which has been so brilliant in recent years.

Enormous amounts of money are being spent on the Afghan war—while the country’s GDP is a mere fraction of that amount—which seems absurd.  Also, there is no al Qaeda presence worth mentioning in Afghanistan today.  And even if the Taliban were to return to power, it is not likely to invite al Qaeda back to its former safe havens. After all, the Taliban lost Afghanistan because of al Qaeda and 9/11.  Thus, why should anyone care whether the Afghans’ future is led by men who feel more comfortable living in prior centuries?  The answers are complex but clear.

Afghan women and their supporters around the world care deeply.  Afghan women will suffer greatly if the Taliban return to power.  Americans and our NATO allies would become parties to the process of turning back the clock once again, and subjugating Afghan women and destroying their lives and any hopes for the future.  The plight of women in Afghanistan is something that America has been addressing, with the help of former First Lady Laura Bush and others.

Also, a Taliban takeover of Afghanistan would be another step in the process of spreading Islam beyond the region, and destabilizing Pakistan, thereby potentially unleashing its nuclear arsenal on the world (e.g., for terrorists to buy and sell weapons-grade materials, at the very least).

Some Americans argue that Iraq is hardly a U.S. geopolitical success story, because it cost America enormous monetary and human treasures to get rid of Saddam Hussein, who—it is argued—was our best defense against Iran; and that Baghdad today has less electricity, among other services.  I was against our Iraqi “adventure,” primarily because I believed Saddam had WMDs, which he would not hesitate to use against our military, just as he had used them against the Iranians and the Kurds.  Also, I believed we were “fronting” for Israel, and doing its dirty work, which some people (such as former UN Ambassador John Bolton) are arguing we should be doing right now vis-à-vis Iran, which is madness.

However, the “surge” worked, which George W. Bush, General David Petraeus and Senator John McCain championed; and at least Iraqis have a real chance to build a viable and stable democracy.  I agree with the Wall Street Journal’s assessment that was contained in an editorial prior to Barack Obama’s recent speech to the American people concerning Iraq:

The U.S. kept hundreds of thousands of troops in Germany for decades after World War II, and it still has tens of thousands in South Korea and Japan. It would be a tragedy if after seven years of sacrifice, the U.S. now failed to assist Iraqis as they try to build a federal, democratic state in an often hostile neighborhood.[5]

I agree too with the assessment that Iraq and Afghanistan together will probably be Obama’s undoing unless the American economy does it first.  They are all running neck and neck, but my betting is on the economy.  It will be sinking even farther during the balance of this decade, despite occasional “green shoots” appearing—which is similar to what happened during the last Great Depression.

The economy and the wars will be Barack Obama’s undoing, if something more tragic does not define his presidency (e.g., assassination, an EMP Attack), which I hope and pray never happens.[6]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  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., http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/2010/09/08/Commentary-Playing-with-fire/UPI-32611283952855/

[3] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theo_van_Gogh_(film_director)#Assassination

[4] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Clash_of_Civilizations

[5] See http://www.naegele.com/documents/ThePresidentonIraq-WSJ.com.pdf and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/01/the-speech—is-barack-obama-smoking-pot-again/

[6] See also https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/20/the-end-of-barack-obama/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/emp-attack-only-30-million-americans-survive/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/barack-obama-america’s-second-emperor/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/26/obama-in-afghanistan-doomed-from-the-start/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/16/the-great-depression-ii/ and https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/





Earthquakes: The Big One Is Coming To At Least Los Angeles

8 09 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

While the damage from the recent Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand has been enormous, and the costs of rebuilding will be staggering, and the emotional trauma is unfathomable, Kiwis have much to be thankful for after the quake.

Having grown up in Los Angeles, I know that earthquakes are scary, because I lived through probably more than a hundred of them when I was a kid.  They would happen so often that I got used to them and even began to enjoy them.  As long as one has reason to believe in his or her own survival, one can find them interesting.   Our family home was near the UCLA campus in the Westwood suburb of the city; and it was constructed out of wood, so no serious damage ever occurred.

Years later, after working full time in Washington, D.C. for 21 years, I moved back to Southern California and experienced them again.  The first one hit when I was living in a house on the beach at Malibu, which had been built on wood pilings above the sand.  The rocking sensation was accentuated because of the pilings, and it scared me for the very first time.  Later, other quakes have unsettled me—as well as their aftershocks—perhaps because I had lost my fearlessness as a child.

California has experienced major earthquakes all of my life, including the 1989 Loma Prieta quake in the San Francisco Bay Area, which collapsed major roadways and buildings alike.[2] Earlier this year, the devastating earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 230,000 people.[3] Also, I will never forget the “Spitak Earthquake” that was a tremor with a magnitude of 6.9—less than that of the 7.1 Christchurch quake—which took place on December 7, 1988, in the Spitak region of Armenia, then part of the former Soviet Union.  The earthquake killed at least 25,000 people.[4]

Geologists and earthquake engineering experts laid the blame on poorly-built apartments and other buildings.  However, most of all I remember the quote: “Earthquakes don’t kill people.  Buildings do.”[5] Viewing photos of the damage in and around the Christchurch area on the south island of New Zealand, it seems that so many of the buildings were made out of bricks and other building materials, which could easily fall on people and injure or kill them.[6] Indeed, it is a blessing that there were so few injuries.[7] Buildings can be rebuilt, and roads and other infrastructure elements can be repaired or replaced—which will produce much-needed jobs for Kiwis—but lives cannot be replaced as the Armenians and Haitians learned so tragically.

Another lesson from the quakes is the need for stronger building codes.  Los Angeles has adopted them; however, the steel joints in many high-rise office buildings were apparently weakened by the 1994 Northridge earthquake[8], and nothing has been done to repair them.  To remove tenants from the buildings, while the potentially-critical work is underway, was deemed to be politically and economically unpalatable.  Thus, the problems were swept under the rug and never addressed by building owners and the city’s politicians.  Los Angeles may rue the day that this happened.

Residents of Southern California are waiting for the “Big One” to occur sometime in the future, which geologists have been saying is long overdue.  Predictions are that it will measure more than 8.0 on the Richter Scale, and that approximately 2 million people in Southern California might lose their lives.[9] Thus, Kiwis must be thankful that the Christchurch quake relieved the pressures on the fault; and that while the damage is being measured in the billions of U.S. dollars, so few injuries occurred.

This is truly a blessing, unlike what happened in Armenia and Haiti, or what is being predicted for Southern California and along America’s New Madrid Fault Line—which could result in “the highest economic losses due to a natural disaster in the United States”[10]—and in Pakistan where lives hang in the balance as these words are written, because of massive flooding in that country.[11]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. Naegele was counsel to the United States Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, and chief of staff to Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal recipient and former U.S. Senator Edward W. Brooke (R-Mass).  He practices law in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles with his firm, Timothy D. Naegele & Associates, which specializes in Banking and Financial Institutions Law, Internet Law, Litigation and other matters (see www.naegele.com and http://www.naegele.com/naegele_resume.html).  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.http://www.naegele.com/whats_new.html#articles), and can be contacted directly at tdnaegele.associates@gmail.com

[2] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1989_Loma_Prieta_earthquake

[3] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Haiti_earthquake

[4] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1988_Spitak_earthquake

[5] Similarly, on the last two boats that I owned, I had a plaque placed next to the wheel by which the boats were steered that read: “The sea is not inherently dangerous but it is mercilously unforgiving of human carelessness.”  No accidents occurred, thank God.

[6] See, e.g., http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/image.cfm?c_id=1&gal_cid=1&gallery_id=113693#7075994

[7] See, e.g., http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10671356

[8] See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1994_Northridge_earthquake

[9] See, e.g., http://www.naegele.com/documents/LAEarthquake-80nRichter.pdf and http://www.naegele.com/documents/Sciencemagazinearticle.pdf

[10] See, e.g.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_Seismic_Zone

[11] See, e.g., http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/2010/09/03/Commentary-Cry-for-me-Pakistan/UPI-97951283512773/ (“Pakistan is reeling under the most devastating national catastrophe since independence 63 years ago”)





Barack Obama: America’s Second Emperor?

1 01 2010

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

Just days after announcing the surge of 30,000 more U.S. troops in his Afghan war, Barack Obama was in Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize that was announced shortly after he became president—before he had done anything.  Next, he was in Copenhagen accepting a deal without any teeth to address “global warming,” in the midst of a blizzard that dumped snow on the Danish capital, suggesting to most people that the issue is a “hoax.”

Straddling his back-to-back trips to Europe, he was in Washington, D.C.—where he was met by a blizzard on his return from Denmark—pushing for the enactment of ObamaCare that Americans oppose[2].  The legislation is so reckless that it had to be rammed through the U.S. Senate on a partisan vote.  Also, the Democrats’ leadership hid the exact nature of the health care bill from senators, who surely had a right to know what they were voting for.

Then the president jetted off to spend the holidays in Hawaii[3], having irresponsibly saddled the people with ObamaCare—after the legislation clears a joint Senate-House conference committee and he signs some version of it into law—which is reprehensible, certainly with respect to its impact on Medicare patients[4].  His recent travels alone create a carbon footprint globally that boggles the mind, especially when so many Americans are suffering from an economic meltdown that shows few real signs of abating.  Indeed, 49 States have lost jobs since his so-called “Stimulus Package” was enacted.[5]

His popularity poll numbers have been plummeting[6], but he is seemingly oblivious to the will of the people and determined to remake the United States and the world in his own image.  Never mind that his life was shaped by years growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, he is bent on changing this country.  He did not set foot on the American mainland until he attended Occidental College in Los Angeles and Columbia University in New York City; and when he did so, he was a druggie—according to his own admissions[7].

He ignores a super-majority of Americans who believe warming and cooling are natural phenomena that have occurred in cycles on this planet for millions of years.  Science and common sense tell us that some of the coldest temperatures recorded to date have occurred in recent years.[8] Yet, in remarks prepared for delivery in Denmark, he called on heads of state and other attendees to forge a deal, warning that “[u]nchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet.  This much we know.”[9]

What we know for certain is that scientific studies support the opposite conclusion, namely that “global warming” is a hoax; and they have been suppressed and their authors have been intimidated.  Also, the leaders who arrived in Copenhagen did so on private jets, and they commandeered a fleet of limousines in the midst of global economic problems—as if to thumb their noses at “commoners” worldwide who pay for their trips and lavish life styles, and say: “Let them eat cake.”

Obama is determined to close our detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer its “detainees” (or jihadists) to prisons in the continental U.S., which the American people oppose.  Also, he pushes for the trial of terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City—rather than in a military tribunal—which will make a public spectacle of the event, and expose the city to more chaos and the risk of additional attacks at a time when it is still traumatized by 9/11.

His decisions on both issues are wrong and irresponsible, which was underscored by the attempted Christmas Day terrorist bombing attempt on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.[10] Earlier in the year, the president had the audacity to give himself a “B+” for his performance in office.  However, it is doubtful that a majority of Americans would give him a grade even remotely approaching that.  In fact, he has been given an “F” for protecting Americans, and criticized harshly.[11]

Obama is pursuing his war in Afghanistan, but failing to heed the advice of his generals and trying to micromanage the war on the cheap, thereby endangering the mission as well as brave members of our military—which is stretched too thin already.  They do not deserve to be hamstrung into failure by an anti-war community organizer-president, who is half-heartedly supporting the war and unable (or unwilling) to state that the goal of winning is why we are there.[12]

He is pursuing deals with Russia’s “dictator-for-life” Putin, who is a smoother version of Stalin.  Both men are known for the brutal oppression and systematic elimination of their critics.[13] Russia is no longer a super power, and it is little more than a Third World country with severe economic problems.  It should not be helped by the United States, much less coddled; and Putin should be treated as our enemy[14]. Obama has befriended Venezuela’s Chavez too, and other tinhorn dictators and enemies of America.

In 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton—better known as “Emperor Norton I,” a celebrated citizen of San Francisco—proclaimed himself “Emperor of these United States.”  He issued numerous proclamations including his “order” that the U.S. Congress be dissolved by force.[15] If there was ever an American who had regal notions of grandeur and an imperial presidency, it is Barack Obama.  His naïveté[16] has been matched by his arrogance and overarching narcissism.  Ultimately, he may be viewed as a tragic Shakespearean figure who is forgotten and consigned to the dustheap of history.

In a famous Danish fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, an emperor marches in a procession under a beautiful canopy wearing a new suit of clothes that does not exist, provided by two swindlers. A little child says at last: “But he has nothing on at all.”[17] Obama’s core beliefs and modus operandi are becoming clear for Americans and the world to see[18], as the first decade of the 21st Century ends ominously.  He is a mistake of potentially cataclysmic proportions.[19]

© 2010, Timothy D. Naegele


[1] Timothy D. 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

[2] See http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/december_2009/voter_attitudes_towards_health_care_plan_harden_58_opposed (December 30, 2009: “(“Thirty-nine percent (39%) of voters nationwide support the plan, and 58% are opposed.  That’s consistent with our weekly tracking of the issue which has found support between 38% and 41% every week from just before Thanksgiving to the end of 2009.  The new figures include 19% who Strongly Favor the plan and 46% who Strongly Oppose it.”)

[3] See, e.g., http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20091224/NEWS01/912240345/Timing++of+Obama+s+family+vacation+in+Hawaii+is++perfect+

[4] See, e.g., http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHoYSI84VdL0

[5] See, e.g., http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=164206

[6] See, e.g., http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll

[7] See Barack Obama, “Dreams from My Father” (paperback “Revised Edition,” published by Three Rivers Press, 2004), p. 93 (“Junkie.  Pothead.  That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.”); see also pp. 120, 270; https://naegeleblog.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/is-barack-obama-a-racist/.

[8] See, e.g., http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/22/cold-weather-europe-death-toll; http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/nation/6787095.html (“[T]he Dallas-Fort Worth area was experiencing its first White Christmas in more than 80 years”); http://www.weather.com/newscenter/stormwatch (“Historic snowstorm enters the record book”); http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1248956/Snowmageddon-brings-chaos-U-S-East-Coast-Washington-DC-braces-worst-blizzard-90-years.html (“[‘Snowmageddon’ brings] the heaviest snowfall in [Washington, D.C.] for 90 years”)

[9] See, e.g., http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2009/12/18/text-of-obamas-remarks-in-copenhagen (“All of you would not be here unless you, like me, were convinced that this danger is real.  This is not fiction, this is science. Unchecked, climate change will pose unacceptable risks to our security, our economies, and our planet.  This much we know.”)

[10] See, e.g., http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126209221278008901.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLESecondNews AND http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624503147162222.html (“Sending Gitmo’s jihadists back to this [Yemeni] maelstrom makes no security sense”)

[11] See, e.g., http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/100020934/barack-obama-gets-an-f-for-protecting-americans AND http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123101744.html (“The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration’s response to this attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence but incomprehension”)

[12] See, e.g., http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/25/AR2009122501923_pf.html (“Terms such as ‘winning’ and ‘victory’ have been eschewed by the White House.  Obama did not use either in his Dec. 1 address, and he said in an interview earlier this year that he was uncomfortable using the term ‘victory’ when fighting ‘a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like al-Qaeda.’”).

[13] See, e.g., http://www.theotherrussia.org/

[14] See, e.g., http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/12/29/ap/world/main6032803.shtml

[15] See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Norton

[16] See, e.g., http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=DEE3CCB3-18FE-70B2-A8EADFBA65A39259

[17] See, e.g., http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Emperor%27s_New_Clothes

[18] See, e.g., Barack 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

[19] See, e.g., http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704152804574628134281062714.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read (“[The] patina of cosmopolitanism in President Obama’s background concealed the isolationism of the liberal coalition that brought him to power.  . . . The man who demolished the Iraqi tyranny, George. W. Bush, is no longer in power, and a different sentiment drives America’s conduct abroad.  . . . No despot fears Mr. Obama, and no blogger in Cairo or Damascus or Tehran, no demonstrator in those cruel Iranian streets, expects Mr. Obama to ride to the rescue.  . . . He had declared a unilateral end to the ‘war on terror,’ but the jihadists and their mentors are yet to call their war to a halt.  From Yemen to Fort Hood and Detroit, the terror continues.”)





Obama In Afghanistan: Doomed From The Start?

26 12 2009

By Timothy D. Naegele[1]

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.[2] 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[3]; 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.[4] 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.”[5]

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.[6] 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


[1] 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

[2] See, e.g., http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/25/AR2009122501923_pf.html

[3] See, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_casualties_of_war

[4] 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/

[5] See infra n.2.

[6] See http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll