"Obama's Wars:" Commander-In-Defeat?

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN October 14, 2010
American soldiers fight and die in Afghanistan because they believe they’re defending our country and our way of life. It’s disturbing to read in Bob Woodward’s recently-published book “Obama’s Wars ” that their commander-in-chief doesn’t see it the way they do. Woodward’s account leaves the impression that President Obama only wants to appear that he shares our soldiers’ beliefs, but that he really sees the war as a political problem to rid himself of before reelection time.

As a US senator and presidential candidate,
Obama said over and over that President Bush’s Iraq War was a distraction and that the important was was in Afghanistan . Enough Americans believed him to put him in charge as president. His generals believed him too, so when the newly-elected Obama asked them at strategy meetings what his options were, they laid out various plans to win. Obama got exasperated because he didn’t really want to win. He wanted to get out.

As Woodward puts it :
President Obama was on edge. For two exhausting months, [Obama] had been asking military advisers to give him a range of options for the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he felt that they were steering him toward one outcome and thwarting his search for an exit plan. He would later tell his White House aides that military leaders were "really cooking this thing in the direction they wanted."

If Obama’s generals were wrong about anything, it was believing what their commander-in-chief said. It’s clear after almost two years in office that although he was great at campaigning, he has little idea about how to govern. It would be one thing if he believed a ground war in Afghanistan wasn’t the way to defeat our enemies and was looking for a different strategy. There’s enough historical precedent given England’s and the former Soviet Union’s experience in Afghanistan to support a re-thinking. If he asked for ideas about a covert, unconventional, low-intensity conflict together with a world-wide anti-jihad propaganda campaign that might be more effective at defeating our enemies, people might understand. But he’s not doing that. He just wants out.

Obama refuses even to define our enemy as Radical Islam. What does he think might be a common factor with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Hezbollah? Why is he
eliminating references to “Islamic Radicalism” and “jihad” from key national security documents ? What’s going on? Does President Obama think he can bring his teleprompter over there and charm them out of their intentions to bring down western civilization?

Key military advisors Woodward mentions in “Obama’s Wars” are resigning, including Obama’s National Security Advisor
James Jones , a retired Marine General who is quoted in an interview with Der Spiegel on Obama’s approach to the war: “Hope is not a strategy.”

That we have men and women willing to die in combat assures the survival of our way of life. They’re not suicidal as our enemies are, but they’re willing to risk their lives to defend our country against those enemies. Their ideals are among the greatest any of us possess and they deserve our highest respect. Because, after all, it’s all about ideals. It’s about their belief that America is exceptional. It’s the best country in the world and the last best hope on earth, as Abraham Lincoln described the United States of America. It’s about believing that our country is greater than we are, that what it represents is worth dying for. The men who volunteer for combat are proud of their country, and that’s why they do what they do. It’s becoming painfully apparent, however, that their commander-in-chief who orders them into battle doesn’t share their ideals. That’s bad. That’s very bad for all of us.

I wonder how our combat soldiers felt when, only after her husband won presidential primaries, they heard Michelle Obama declare : “And let me tell you something -- for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country.” The first time? Was that a clue that the man who went on to become their commander-in-chief might have similar feelings? It would seem so given that he sat in the pew of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church listening to his anti-American rants for twenty years and launched his political career in the living room of left-wing terrorist Bill Ayer s who attempted to violently overthrow the US government.

It’s consoling for families who lose loved ones in combat to believe they died defending their country. How will those fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, and children feel when they read evidence in Woodward’s book that their president is only using our soldiers for his personal political purposes?
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam. E-mail him at tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net.

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