The past nine months have been illustrative of President Obama’s world view. He believes a weaker, diminutive and withdrawn America is preferable to a strong, vibrant and assertive one. This certainly is in line with the liberal viewpoint of American politics during President Bush’s two terms. While taking on those that planned and executed 9/11 in Afghanistan was tolerated, the elimination of the tyrannical regime of Saddam Hussein was not. Throughout the 6 years of engagement with al-Qaeda troops that poured into Iraq and the establishment of a government that met all the stated goals of the Bush administration – elimination of the Hussein regime, able to defend itself and willing to hold free and open elections – President Bush was hammered for the wrong war, an illegal war, an unjust war. Yet, we were successful in all three areas finally giving 25 million Iraqis the chance to choose their own destiny. This is a good thing. We achieved this success through clear, focused and direct American power. Obviously President Obama agrees with this.
Prior to election and throughout his campaign he clearly stated that he would begin withdrawing troops immediately after election. His position has become more “nuanced”, shall we say, with troops beginning to be withdrawn by March 2009 – or maybe we will have all combat troops out by August 2010 – or by the end of 2010 – or maybe by the end of 2011. Or, maybe we may have 50,000 support troops in Iraq well into the future. Obviously “hope and change” are at work in the Obama administration.
I was also glad to see the “Global War on Terrorism” ended in March 2009. What a burden off our country. Had President Bush known he could simply end it by the simple use of his voice, the global threats to us and other countries throughout the world could have been restored on 9/12 without all the intervening combat. Of course, President Obama has recognized that there is still an “Overseas Contingency Operation” going on – one that claimed 10 of our soldiers in Afghanistan on October 3rd in the deadliest day of fighting in more than a year. Michelle and Barak enjoyed a nice night out at the Blue Duck Tavern that evening. I wonder if they discussed the 40,000 troops that Gen. McChrystal is asking for.
It would seem that the enemies of the Afghan people have decided that President Obama is not going to send the troops, much less make a commitment to defeat them, so it’s safe to take on the US military again. In order to make the US military friendlier, there are new Rules of Engagement that have gone into effect. For example – if the Air Force sees insurgents planting bombs, they must first buzz them to scare them off rather than killing them. If enemy forces are spotted and there is the possibility of hurting a civilian they can not be engaged. (Ever wonder why these animals hide in civilian areas?) Our soldiers are now ordered to “break engagement” (run away) in the event there are civilians in the area. Not only that, they are denied air cover or artillery in the event these may cause civilian casualties. If you are interested, read about the events surrounding Marine Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard. These rules led to his death. More, many more will follow. Weakness will not lead to a victory in Afghanastan.
President Obama’s performance in the Mideast is no less hesitant. This week the IAEA of the United Nations leaked a report that Iran has everything in place to produce a nuclear weapon. President Ahmadinejad, while addressing the UN, invoked the name of the Mahdi, or the 12th Imam. The particular sect that Ahmadinejad belongs to believes that if they can bring about chaos on earth, this will hasten the Mahdi who will bring about the apocalypse and subject all on earth to the rule of Islam and kill those that do not submit. He has stated that his personal goal is the elimination of Israel and that he would gladly sacrifice up to one-half of his population to do this. We have also learned that they have a second processing plant for nuclear weapons material that President Obama has known about since his transition. President Obama has decided that his oratory skills are significant enough that he can talk Iran back from the edge while Iran presses forward towards the end that most pundits now accept as inevitable – the acquisition of a nuclear weapon. I find I take no comfort in President Obama’s teleprompter skills in light of this.
Or, perhaps, he sees no threat from Iran. After all, he has canceled our national agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic to provide a defensive missile shield to protect them from attacks from rogue nations (read Iran). This seems to have been a hat tip to Prime Minister Putin of Russia. It was particularly poignant since the cancellation occurred on the 70th anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Poland. Given that Iran now has short range missiles that can reach Israel, medium range missiles that can reach well into Europe and long range missiles that can reach the US (remember, they launched a satellite into orbit) President Obama must be dead-on certain that Iran poses no near-term nor long-term threat. Enough so that he is removing defensive systems meant to mitigate their threat.
Of course, other weapons systems need to be curtailed as well. The F22 fleet no longer needs to be expanded. A new satellite system to replace aging equipment has been scrapped. A new rescue chopper is also scrapped. All-in-all, the standard “cut military spending” mantra is once again being sounded throughout Washington.
What does all this mean? Simply put, in President Obama’s mind, a weak America is a more secure America. If we ignore terrorism throughout the world and simply call our efforts in Afghanastan an “Overseas Contingency Operation”, we will be less of a threat to our enemies and they will not harm us. If we remove defensive weapons from Europe, Iran will feel less threatened and will not attack Israel or other Mideastern countries. If we reduce our tactical capabilities and weapons systems, our enemies will see no need to build up their arms and pose a threat to us. If we simply kneel before the world, bare our chests and confess our misdeeds – the world will forgive us and once again see us as the shining land upon the earth and simply fall in love with us all over again.
I believe the reality is a bit different. This weak-kneed response is emboldening our enemies. Russia, rather that halting construction of Iran’s nuclear facilities (you knew the Russians were building them – right?) it continues apace with Iran resolutely saying they have no intention of stopping their enrichment plants. France’s Sarkosy has called President Obama’s approach to Iran “utterly immature” and “naïve”, publicly saying he wished President Obama would present a firmer approach with Iran. The people of Poland and Czech Republic now know that security agreements signed between America and their countries are worthless – as do the leaders of Iran and Russia. The Taliban of Afghanistan is now emboldened, actively using our own rules of engagement against our troops. While the First Couple looks over the menu at the Blue Duck Tavern, the Taliban is drooling over a target list of poorly manned and supported US troop installations.
Threats are not confined to foreign soil. This past month four separate terrorist attacks were foiled within the US with more surely in the works. Meanwhile, North Korea has introduced and tested a variety of medium and long-range missiles while their nuclear weapons plant is back on-line as well. We were also witness to a very large military parade celebrating the 60th anniversary of the communist revolution of China. President Obama found it necessary to congratulate China on this milestone. I suspect the 30+ millions that died under Mao might have a different take.
It’s been a busy 9 months for the President. These are simply international issues. There were all the domestic items as well. However, they all lead to the same destination for President Obama – a weakened America is a safe America. The smaller our footprint on the world stage, the less we confront evil, the less we defend our friends, the more we withdraw – the safer we will be.
We will pay a terrible price for this lunacy.