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/





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