We all know politicians lie and most know the most effective lie is wrapped in a blanket of truth. The "tide" in Afghanistan has turned, but not in our favor. Each of the last 3 years in Afghanistan have been twice as deadly as the worst year before 2009. These years have been so deadly that 71% of all US Fatalities in Operation Enduring Freedom have occurred since the beginning of 2009. The first 4 months of 2012 have been more deadly than the same period through 2009.
When did the violence spike? In June of 2009. This is significant because it was a month after Obama fired General McKiernan for failing to toe the party line of accusing US Troops of killing Afghan civilians, and refusing to release the video demonstrating that the Troops had been combating the enemy that those same Afghans had asked them to rid their villages of.
"Afghanistan is very vulnerable in terms of Taliban and extremists taking over again and I don't think that threat is going to go away," added Mullen. "They still plot against us, see us as somebody they want to kill in terms of as many American lives as possible." Admiral Mullen, August 2009, CNN interview
"The Afghan Taliban, the Quetta Shura Taliban, sees itself as the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan, it is the franchise that will control that part of territory. The Taliban in Pakistan sees itself as the franchise that will control Pakistan. But all of that is under the umbrella of an al-Qaida effort to re-establish the caliphate for the entire Islamic world." Fred Kagan, Resident Scholar at The American Enterprise Institute, October 2009, testimony to Congress
The problem of demonstrating weakness to the enemy by attempting to force "peace talks," was compounded with months of presidential dithering on whether or not to support the General he had handpicked to take over McKiernan's job. General McChrystal later complained that the President who had picked him had barely given him the time of day in hearing why, if he wanted to win, he needed to send more Troops. In the process, we learned that what the politician had campaigned would be his "top priority" barely rated an hour a week of consideration, as even the French stepped up and urged the President to commit to Victory. General McChrystal would be fired as well, mostly because of things his subordinates, not he, said.
On 2 September 2009, Obama received the assessment from General McChrystal on what it would take to win. It would be 3 months before he decided to half-step on the General's request for support. The White House Spokesman, Robert Gibbs would outright lie to the press, and said there was no request for more Troops in the request:
"McChrystal urged an expansion of Afghan security forces and a revamped counter-insurgency strategy."
The General who had voted for the President, had been handpicked by him, and sent to Afghanistan warned that half-stepping on Re-enforcements would endanger success in Afghanistan:
"General Stanley McChrystal has warned that the United States could lose the fight against Taliban insurgents unless more U.S. forces are deployed, a decision that falls on President Barack Obama." October 2009
It would be December before the POTUS finally made a decision to approve less than the minimum number of Troops McChrystal needed to win. But he didn't do it, without announcing a time-line for retreat. He promised that those withdrawals would be based on conditions on the ground, but they've been despite conditions on the ground. He promised he would base the retreat on consultations with Generals in charge, but he has ignored the advice of Generals.
"After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan." Obama, West Point, 1 DEC 2009, while announcing "the Surge."
"we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground." ibid.
In 2009, Obama still publicly recognized the atrocity of the enemy, the Taliban and Pakistan was still an ally:
"Over the last several years,the Taliban has maintained common cause with al Qaeda, as they both seek an overthrow of the Afghan government. Gradually, the Taliban has begun to take control over swaths of Afghanistan, while engaging in increasingly brazen and devastating acts of terrorism against the Pakistani people." Obama, West Point, 1 December 2009.
"I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda...This danger will only grow if the region slides backwards, and al Qaeda can operate with impunity." ibid.
"In Pakistan, that nation's Army has gone on its largest offensive in years." ibid.
"As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service." ibid.
He has never given that clear mission, and it would be several months before a White House insider spilled the beans that he never intended to win in Afghanistan, that from the start, his plan was to retreat, and McChrystal had just thrown a wrinkle in that plan.
If we are to believe what Obama said in 2009, we must reject what he says in 2012. But given that he has alienated the ally he claimed was the key to "success," perhaps we should hold him accountable for his diplomatic failures as well as his military failures. We most certainly must hold him accountable for his bald faced lie, i.e. that the "Taliban's momentum has been broken."
"Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan." ibid.
What has changed since 2009? Afghanistan is now worse than it was at any time prior to June 2009. The Taliban have infiltrated the ANA and ANP and are killing Our Troops while wearing Afghan uniforms. The Administration denies the Taliban is the enemy. Pakistan has terminated allied support for the War On Terror. Obama now attempts to call it only a war against al-Qaeda. The Administration has ordered that attacks from within the ANA/ANP be muted. Obama has asked Congress to tax Military Retirees up to $2000/year for Retirement benefits and up to $34/month for prescriptions, under the "Buffett Plan." Obama has asked Congress to cut 100,000 Troops from the force, while activating 70,000+ Reservists. And despite only the DoD budget being cut, the annual budget deficit has tripled.