Barack Obama promised “change” in his presidency. Unfortunately for the citizens of the United States, about the only thing that has changed is the face of the guy who is now occupying the Oval Office for the next four years.
During his campaign, he was somewhat reserved in his pronouncements about what was going to be done in our two concurrent Middle East wars.
Over the recent weekend, Obama announced that most combat troops would be removed from Iraq by 2011. But, I recall that Bush built (or is still building) the largest Embassy complex on the planet, as well as large military and Air Force bases throughout Iraq. What will happen to these bases and to the embassy? Are they to be abandoned?
The Democrats and this president had a marvelous opportunity to make a huge change in Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of the national disdain for these wars, Obama could have hung these wars around the neck of the departing George Bush. Then, the wars would have been “Bush’s Wars.”
Instead, Obama has taken these undeclared wars to his own bosom. The only change that appears in the future is the numbers of troops in each battle theatre.
Now, Afghanistan is “Obama’s War.”
President Obama and his Chiefs of Staff are now planning to further destabilize the region by expanding the war in Afghanistan, and eastward into Pakistan. Remember, Afghanistan did nothing in relation to the stated reason for this war, which was retaliation against the perpetrators of the September 11th attack. Pakistan is now a powderkeg of competing tribal conflicts and the American presence in the area will be the match thrown into the fray.
We are told that this is a complicated issue, and that withdrawal cannot be done quickly. But withdrawal has never been about the morality and rightness of this war. It has been entirely about saving face for Washington.
If there was a commitment by Obama to end these wars, he could issue a four-word command that would begin the end: “Get on the plane.”
But, to his everlasting shame, Obama now plans an escalation of fighting. I hope he changes his mind. However, that does not appear likely.
George Santayana said it best: “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” Seems that no one in Washington can remember the Soviet Union’s humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, nor that no one since Marco Polo has ever successfully subjugated the Afghans.