Tags: Obama | Afghanistan | troops

Obama in Wonderland Over Afghanistan

By Ronald Kessler   |   Wednesday, 02 Dec 2009 09:27 AM

I could not decide which performance was more incredible: President Obama’s or Tareq and Michaele Salahi’s.

The Salahis appeared on NBC’s "Today" show Tuesday morning to say that, although they could not produce an invitation, they believed they were invited to the White House State Dinner. Based on that claim, they apparently expected viewers — and potentially prosecutors — to give them a pass. It was akin to a burglar being caught in a home and saying he thought he had been invited.

Tuesday night, President Obama appeared at West Point to tell us that, although he is sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan because “our security is at stake,” he will begin to withdraw troops in 18 months.

Clearly, this is the first time in history that an American president — or for that matter any world leader — has waged war by telling the enemy when to expect a troop withdrawal. It makes as much sense as a boxer going into a fight and telling his opponent when he will start pulling his punches. Enemy forces simply will bide their time until withdrawal begins.

Obama’s misrepresentations only magnified his nonsensical approach.

“Now, let me be clear,” Obama said. “There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period.”

In fact, near the end of 2008, President Bush’s administration gave Obama a detailed proposal for a similar troop surge in Afghanistan.

“I’ve spent this year renewing our alliances and forging new partnerships,” Obama said. “And we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world, one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up for peace and prosperity and human dignity.”

In fact, although Obama has made laudable overtures to Muslims in speeches, nothing has changed.

As Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “It was the norm for American liberalism during the Bush years to brandish the Pew Global Attitudes survey that told of America’s decline in the eyes of foreign nations.”

However, “Now those surveys of 2009 bring findings from the world of Islam that confirm that the animus toward America has not been radically changed by the ascendancy of Mr. Obama.”

In the Palestinian territories, Ajami wrote, “Fifteen percent have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82 percent have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn't seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14 percent and those unreconciled, 69 percent. In Egypt, a country that's reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27 percent have a favorable view of the U.S., while 70 percent do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63 percent in 2008 to 68 percent this year.”

To be sure, Obama made the right decision in approving three-quarters of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s troop request. Losing the war in Afghanistan would mean handing the country over to al-Qaida as a staging ground for more devastating attacks on the United States.

But Obama’s Alice-in-Wonderland approach to the war in Afghanistan has as much credibility as the party-crashing Salahis' story — and has as much chance of being successful.

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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