Thursday, June 23, 2011

Obama Chooses Biden Over Petraeus on Troop Withdrawal

I don't know what has happened to the speechwriters on Obama's team but someone is not doing his or her job. The speech delivered by President Obama on Wednesday night on the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan was a bunch of gibberish.

Obama made his point that he is drawing down 10,000 troops over the course of the summer and the remainder of the troops used in his surge by next summer.

According to The New York Times, President Obama decided to go with the advice of Joe Biden over that of General Petraeus. Not too surprising but it does put to rest any claims of the President that he listens to the Generals in the field and to the Pentagon. He doesn't. He tries to please everyone, most importantly his political party in this re-election campaign season, and in the end pleases no one.

Joe Biden has historically been on the wrong side of foreign policy decisions. He is always shown to be on the wrong side of history. Democrats like to refer to his foreign policy 'experience'. What exactly is that, anyway? Maybe it is his experience at sitting on a committee. Whatever it is, Biden is no expert.

Mr. Obama’s decision is a victory for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long argued for curtailing the American military engagement in Afghanistan. But it is a setback for his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who helped write the Army’s field book on counterinsurgency policy, and who is returning to Washington to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces for as long as possible, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent combat.

President Obama addressed the nation in prime time on all the television networks and this was a necessity created by false deadlines declared as his policy in Afghanistan in 2009. He declared that July 2011 would bring troop draw downs and that was a sop to his liberal anti-war base as he sent an additional 30,000 troops in 2009 as a surge style of operation.

And, don't fall for any renewed proclamations that the U.S. cannot be in the business of nation building by President Obama. He is again doing the very thing that he criticized former President Bush over as he ran in 2008.

Even as the president eschewed the grand nation-building of the Bush administration, he authorized a “civilian surge” of diplomats and aid workers to help Afghans build local ministries and farmers to switch to healthier crops.

The fact is, the curtain has been pulled back on this President and he is nothing but smoke and mirrors. He is happy to 'lead from behind' and his own Chief of Staff calls his domestic policies "indefensible". He has not grown into the job of President of the United States and consumer confidence is at an all time low.

President Obama is running for re-election and now is concentrating on "nation building at home." That is pure politics jargon. He said, "By 2014 this process of transition will be complete" in Afghanistan. In other words, you're on your own, Afghanistan.

The majority of Americans believe that the Afghanistan war was necessary. Now, however, the majority of Americans want the war to be over. We are a war weary nation with Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya in play. Remember that this President tripled the troops in Afghanistan and took us into the Libyan mess on his own. For him to try to appear anti-war within the context of this speech was ridiculous.

The man who campaigned solely on hope and change and bashing George W. Bush - because he brought absolutely nothing else to the table - in 2008 is now campaigning on some sort of fantasy theme that he is a solid Commander in Chief and solid on domestic issues, too. It is insane.

Two and a half years into his term as President, Obama is incapable of leading this nation in war or in job creation. His die hard supporters will continue with the talking points on how he is turning things around. He isn't.

Thanks to his obsession with re-election, there will be no graceful exit from Afghanistan. If the Taliban are to re-group, they know how long they must wait before the U.S. is gone. President Obama and his team have been loud and clear with exit dates and strategy.

You may have noticed Obama never uttered the word "victory" during his speech. He usually avoids the word. Maybe that is a part of leading from behind.

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