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The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted.br> He admits that the surge has worked to encourage the Sunnis to reject Al Qaeda — again, the defeat of which appears to be the object of his foreign policy goals — but says that a stretched budget and a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan have made the surge completely not worth it. But without the surge, wouldn’t the Sunnis have more difficulty fending off Al Qaeda? And isn’t the surge what has made it possible for Iraqi leaders to start setting a timetable for withdrawal?
There’s more. What makes the current situation in Afghanistan worth separating it so much from Iraq? He could make the case that an attack on U.S. soil from a Taliban-sponsored terrorist group called for a military intervention. But if that’s the case, why should the U.S. continue to occupy Afghanistan post-Taliban?
Because the point is fighting terrorists. The War on Terror, as it seems to barely exist in our consciousness, did not end with the overthrow of the Taliban. Obama apparently recognizes that in his call for more involvement in Afghanistan. But that admission means that the terrorists in Iraq are worth fighting as well.
That, however, is a bold assumption — that Obama recognizes the threat of terrorism in these countries. My guess, however, is that Obama really doesn’t care about Al Qaeda.
The reckless and contradictory statements in this piece indicate a view that Al Qaeda is a small, dangerous, and entirely too-difficult-to-face menace, but politically useful to bludgeon Republicans. (In this light, his belief that we should give Osama bin Laden due process rights makes more sense.) This is why Al Qaeda so frequently comes up as the opportunity cost of Iraq, but never as an independent threat. If the Democrats, Obama in particular, were so serious about how we ought to combat Al Qaeda, shouldn’t they do more than simply complain that Iraq is so distracting?
INDEED, THE only proactive measure taken by the anti-war crowd, including Obama, is in demanding a timetable for withdrawal (before the Iraqis ever considered the idea). Such a stance hinged on the idea that the Iraqis were lazy and were refusing to step up to the plate.
That the Iraqis are setting their own timetable isn’t a validation of the Obama/anti-war coalition. It’s an outright rejection of it. It favors the philosophy behind the surge. The surge rejected all timetables, and instead suggested the unthinkable strategy of “wait and see.” It was based on the belief that the Iraqis had no confidence in their own security and were having difficulty achieving anything politically. So far, it seems that belief was correct, and the strategy provided the necessary stability for Iraqis to move forward.
Those who like what Obama has to offer in terms of “change” ought to look closely at this op-ed and see the man for the opportunist he is. But perhaps he’s not an opportunist after all. Perhaps he’s just confused. In that case, however, one “hopes” he won’t remain so as president.
J. Peter Freire is managing editor of The American Spectator and a 2008 Phillips Fellow.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?