In 2008, candidate Obama told us he would make Afghanistan his top priority. In 2009, he told us he would listen to the Generals, that he would "fully support our Troops." In 2010, he told us the situation on the ground would shape his decisions on how many Troops to authorize the Generals to have to fight the enemy. In 2011, he told us he would "keep faith" with the Troops who have fought our Wars.
"We will back you up to the hilt, because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, the defined goals and the equipment and support you need to get the job done." President Obama 10/26/2009, Florida
The situation in Afghanistan did NOT dictate the reduction of forces there. Not only did he not send the Troops General McChrystal, and General McKiernan before him, requested, but he announced the "drawdown" when he announced the half-stepping measures. As a result, General McChrystal & General Petraeus had only enough Troops to surge into Helmand and Kandahar, keeping only enough Troops in Paktika, Paktia, Jalalabad, and Khowst, to hope it wouldn't get worse.
General Allen has promised to use whatever resources the politicians allow him to fight for Victory. That means he is now pushing into the Eastern Provinces, while attempting to hold on to the Victories in the South. The War in Afghanistan has become its own version of the 1+1 policy of the Clinton Administration. That policy decision was also budget driven to decrease the size of the military to a point that the Nation would "be able to win one war, while holding another to a stalemate," until forces were available from the first war. General McChrystal, General Petraeus, & General Allen have been forced by politicians to fight the War in Afghanistan the same way, trying to win in one region of the country, while holding others to a stalemate.
And if this Nation, combined with our NATO allies, cannot win the War in Afghanistan alone, then we must abandon the myth that we could hold a second war to a stalemate long enough to win the first War in Afghanistan. And that is occuring before his cuts. The new policy can't be considered a 1+1 policy, but a +1 Defense posture. The Administration hopes that the military can fight to a stalemate long enough for someone to "end the war."
"The 2nd goal of my new plan will be taking the fight to enemy in Afghanistan & Pakistan." "The Taliban controls parts of Afghanistan." "I will make the fight against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be." "This is a war we have to win." "Lasting peace will come only if we heed General Marshall's words and grow the Afghan economy from the bottom." "We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary." "While ensuring the military aid (to Pakistan) is used to take the fight to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda." Senator Obama, 15 July 2008
Fatalities in Afghanistan were three times higher in 2011 than they were in 2008. The War is not "over." Our Troops have performed well, but partisan political decisions in Washington, continue to dictate that the war will "be ended" instead of won. The Administration announced on Thursday that the strategies and tactics (COIN/Counter-Insurgency) that stabilized Helmand, and defeated the enemy there, would be abandoned, in favor of the policies (Counter-Terrorism) used in Pakistan to alienate the population and politicians there.
And just as General Allen attempts to apply pressure to the enemy in the Eastern Provinces, politicians are cutting his resources. The decision was made in 2009, by President Obama, as he promised it would be made based on the situation on the ground. Not only did he decide to give General McChrystal fewer resources than he needed in 2009, but to remove those resources (Troops) before they could finish the job, meaning that as General Allen needs those Troops now, in Eastern Afghanistan, they're being pulled out by Obama's dictates, for political reasons, despite the "consultations with Commanders." Not only are Troops being pulled out of Afghanistan, but being cut from the Army; 22,000 this year and another 27,000 in the next few years. And on the 6th of January, Obama announced even more would be cut; thrown into the unemployment lines.
The Administration tells us the budget cuts are the result of the strategy changes, but the opposite is true. The "new strategy" or rather political policies were shaped by his decision to cut the Defense budget. His budget policies have prevented the military from winning one war while fighting a second to a stalemate and forced the Generals in charge of wars to instead to win one region of one war, while holding another to a stalemate. The President won't even use the word Victory in relation to Afghanistan, because even he knows his policies undermine the Generals' ability to achieve it.
If Afghanistan were his first priority as he promised in 2008, if he had listened to the Generals as he promised he would in 2009, if the situation on the ground were the basis of those decisions, if National Security were the reason for his DoD budget requests, if he were bearing "true faith" with Our Troops, he would be sending more Warriors to Afghanistan to Win across that Nation, not cutting Troops from the Military, and pulling Troops out of Afghanistan.
Instead, he is cutting benefits to the Troops, charging them for Health Care, reducing Retirement benefits, and reducing the number available to replace them on the battlefield. Instead he had to be shamed into even sending half of the Troops General McChrystal requested and is pulling them out before General Allen can finish the job. Instead of supporting the winning strategy and tactics of COIN, he is replacing it with the Biden policy of Counter Terrorism which alienated Pakistan. While his "diplomatic" demands of former allies have given rise to Islamism in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, he has ignored the slaughter of protestors for democracy in Syria and Iran.
While we face a Middle East now at risk of being unified by Islamist tyrants that hope to ban Women's education, increase the legalized "right" of husbands to beat their wives, Obama is pressuring Afghanistan to open talks with Taliban leaders that presided over the Afghan Government's oppression of Women. Those terrorists were captured in Afghanistan under the prior Administration, and are to be given offices in Qatar to negotiate their return to power, under this one. These are the same terrorists that invited Al-Qaeda to train for the 9/11 attacks in the Islamist dictatorship of Afghanistan. Why is he pressuring the democratically elected leader of an ally to negotiate with terrorists that hate America? Because Obama wants to "end the War," not to win it.
While this President has demonstrated that he is not afraid to cut the Military or undermine Generals even as they fight Wars against our enemies, there would be less resistance to those cuts if we weren't "at war." That's why he decided to change the label of war to "overseas contingency operation" in 2009. But don't think this is an endorsement of the opposing party in Congress. They've put up little resistance to the cuts this Administration has requested. It is not just the fault of the Harry Reid Senate and the Pelosi House that Congress has allowed the Military to be slashed. It is also the responsibility of the Boehner House to say "No More Cuts."
Here, Senator Joe Biden predicts failure in Iraq, complains that too much is being asked of Our Troops, and says General Petraeus is the only one who believes it can be won. Here he says Iraq can never be a peaceful democracy: