President Barack Obama’s triumphant visit and speech in Afghanistan may come back to bite him if the country is unable to regain stability.
Obama may fall into a predicament like that of President George W. Bush, who declared an end of major combat operations in Iraq in 2003 in front of a banner reading “mission accomplished,” according to The Hill
“We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan Security Forces. We devastated al-Qaida’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders,” Obama said.
And the president couldn’t resist trumpeting his decision to kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. “One year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden,” Obama said. “The goal that I set — to defeat al-Qaida, and deny it a chance to rebuild — is within reach.”
Obama already was under fire for exploiting the bin Laden killing for political purposes. War veteran Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for example, pointed out that true heroes “don’t brag.”
And now the president has really opened himself up to attack. “Clearly this trip is campaign related,” Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., said in a statement.
He equated Obama’s journey to his tour of college campuses last week to attract student votes. “Similarly, this trip to Afghanistan is an attempt to shore up his national security credentials, because he has spent the past three years gutting our military,” Inhofe said.
In addition, it’s not clear the tide has turned in Afghanistan.
“I’m concerned there’s a little too much potential chatter about this ending the war,” retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, told The Hill. “There’s no ending of the war or conflict in this agreement. This is simply cementing in ongoing U.S. support.”
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