What Does Obama Aim to Accomplish in Afghanistan? + More – Daily Digest

Posted on Fri 10/16/2015 by

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THE FOUNDATION

“[T]he powers of the general government will be, and indeed must be, principally employed upon external objects, such as war, peace, negotiations with foreign powers, and foreign commerce.” —Joseph Story, 1833

FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

What Does Obama Aim to Accomplish in Afghanistan?

By Nate Jackson

On Thursday, Barack Obama announced a major revision to his plan to withdraw virtually all American troops from Afghanistan by the end of his presidency. Instead, he will keep 5,500 troops there into 2017 and maintain the current force of 9,800 through “most of 2016.” But for a man who clearly doesn’t believe in American leadership in the world or defending our interests abroad, what does he intend to accomplish by leaving our men and women in harm’s way?

If the U.S. has interests in securing victory in Afghanistan — and it does — Obama’s move is at least a step back in the right direction. It appears he at least (partially) listened to his generals, which might be a first. Obama is not known for being persuaded by evidence. And perhaps he learned a little something from his disastrous choices in Iraq.

On the other hand, if his move is as half-hearted as we think it is, he’s putting American lives on the line in a political concession meant to leave the problem for the next president. Remember that Obama’s primary concern is always himself, and the only reason for any of his decisions is his own political benefit.

“As you are all well aware,” he declared, “I do not support the idea of endless war.” Again, he offers the false choice between his way or “endless war.” There are other options.

After nearly seven years of his determination to “end the war responsibly,” even he admits Afghanistan has slid into Iraq-like chaos. “Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be,” he said Thursday. “Meanwhile, the Taliban has made gains, particularly in rural areas, and can still launch deadly attacks in cities, including Kabul.”

It’s not only the Taliban. The Washington Post reports, “al-Qaeda appears to have staked out new ground in Afghanistan, far from the group’s mountain enclaves to the northeast.” And here we thought Obama had al-Qaida “on the run.”

In fact, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Frederick Kagan writes, “There was no meaningful al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan when Barack Obama took office. There will likely be al Qaeda strategic bases there when he leaves. That is failure by any standard.”

Given all of that, let’s review some of Obama’s previous statements on Afghanistan.

In 2008, he said, “Our troops and our NATO allies are performing heroically in Afghanistan, but I have argued for years that we lack the resources to finish the job because of our commitment to Iraq. … And that’s why, as president, I will make the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”

Yet even in his 2009 announcement of a surge in Afghanistan, Obama promised a departure date — hardly a sign of it being a “top priority” or the right message for a “war that we have to win.”

He abandoned Iraq to the Islamic State, but his focus on Afghanistan clearly didn’t work. And the words “win” or “victory” did not appear in his remarks yesterday.

In 2011, he was still bent on withdrawal, all while declaring success. “We are starting this drawdown from a position of strength,” he said. “[W]e take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. … These long wars will come to a responsible end.”

And in December 2014, he echoed that boast: “Our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over this month, and our war in Afghanistan will come to a responsible end.”

He did, in Thursday’s announcement, begin by repeating his “responsible end” rhetoric. He also promised our men and women in uniform, “I do not send you into harm’s way lightly.” We wish we could believe that.

Now that he has announced what is little more than a policy of treading water, a “responsible end” will come from the next administration — which we hope is one willing to take up the mantle of American leadership, knowing full well it holds the well being of soldiers and the nation in its hands.

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Second Republican Throws Clinton a Lifeline

Can it be this hard to provide a consistent rationale for the formation of the House Select Committee on Benghazi and the subsequent uncovering of Hillary Clinton’s malfeasance? Evidently it is for some Republicans. Just two weeks after Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy torched his own bid for the speakership with boneheaded remarks about the effect the committee was having on Clinton’s poll numbers, another Republican gave an in-kind donation to the next Clinton campaign ad. “This may not be politically correct, but I think that there was a big part of this investigation that was designed to go after people and an individual, Hillary Clinton,” said Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY). “After what Kevin McCarthy said, it’s difficult to accept at least a part of it was not. I think that’s the way Washington works. But you’d like to expect more from a committee that’s spent millions of dollars and tons of time.”

Is there a political angle to the committee’s work? Of course. But it’s definitely not the primary angle, and Republicans have a far better rationale to present to the public. Hillary Clinton denied security requests for Americans serving in Benghazi, blamed the whole episode on a YouTube video to bolster Barack Obama’s “al-Qaida is on the run” political narrative before the 2012 election — practically spitting on the graves of four dead Americans — and covered it all up in part with her private email server. In other words, it’s political because she made it so. Has it hurt her poll numbers? Yes, but that’s because she’s a liar, and because voters can tell the difference between real malfeasance on her part and a political witch hunt.

And yet the net effect of McCarthy’s and now Hanna’s comments is to give credence to Clinton’s cries of victimhood. As she declared in the debate Tuesday, “[The Benghazi] committee is basically an arm of the Republican National Committee. It is a partisan vehicle … to drive down my poll numbers.” Look for Hanna’s comments to show up alongside McCarthy’s in another campaign ad for the Democrat frontrunner.

World-Renowned Physicist Breaks With Obama on Climate

Freeman Dyson, one of the world’s foremost astrophysicists, doesn’t always see eye to eye with his fellow liberals when it comes to global warming. He’s been studying the climate for a quarter of a century, so his prodigious experience has helped shape his views on the environment. In a forward to a new paper by former IPCC member Indur Goklany, titled “Carbon Dioxide: The good news,” Dyson reiterated his evidence-based belief that “carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does far more good than harm.” He added, “I consider myself an unprejudiced person and to me these facts are obvious. But the same facts are not obvious to the majority of scientists and politicians who consider carbon dioxide to be evil and dangerous. The people who are supposed to be experts and who claim to understand the science are precisely the people who are blind to the evidence.”

The veteran physicist expounded on these views in a subsequent interview with The Register. On the issue of climate models, Dyson observes, “What has happened in the past 10 years is that the discrepancies between what’s observed and what’s predicted have become much stronger.” He then chided the opposition’s inclination to silence dissenters, even bluntly opining, “I’m 100 percent Democrat myself, and I like Obama. But he took the wrong side on this issue, and the Republicans took the right side.” Dyson says “coal is very unpleasant stuff” — something most everyone can agree on — but that doesn’t mean it’s a climate hazard. “Pollution is quite separate to the climate problem: one can be solved, and the other cannot, and the public doesn’t understand that.” We don’t agree with everything Dyson advocates, but on this issue, he’s spot on. Those who question the mainstream view shouldn’t be placed on leave or, even worse, imprisoned. Such concrete, homogeneous mantras wouldn’t have allowed Dyson to become the acclaimed physicist he is today. What we’re seeing today is a Big Brotherly crackdown on “thought crime” — and a scientific scandal.

In Syria, a Cold War Redux

Remember when Barack Obama poked fun at Mitt Romney for saying Russia is our number one geopolitical foe? “You said Russia. Not al-Qaida. You said Russia,” Obama taunted during the 2012 presidential debates. “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” Today, Obama looks more childish than ever, having invited the return of the Cold War through his refusal to acknowledge the Russian threat. Days into their air campaign in Syria, Vladimir Putin’s forces have killed about 150 CIA-trained rebels. Russians killing soldiers linked to the CIA? Gee, when have we heard this before? The news comes as Head of the Cuban Armed Forces Gen. Leopoldo Cintras Frias traveled to Syria with a group of Cuban soldiers — not to help defeat the Islamic State as Obama might hope, but to help drive tanks Russia gave to Syrian dictator Basher al-Assad. Just whose interests are being furthered in Syria? The 1980s are indeed calling, but repeating that era now is a bad proposition. The Russians long ago took the measure of Obama, and our nation’s leadership just isn’t what it used to be.

MORE ORIGINAL PERSPECTIVE

BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Mona Charen: “‘Socialist’ was once an epithet in American politics, but the Obama years may have effected a change. Fully 25 percent of Americans, Pew reported in 2014, disagreed with the statement: ‘Most people are better off in a free market economy, even though some people are rich and some are poor.’ Fans of irony will note that in Vietnam only 3 percent disagreed with that same statement, with 95 percent endorsing capitalism. Bernie Sanders thunders that the U.S can become a good Scandinavian-style socialist paradise — but without the huge taxes on the middle class that support those systems. (Denmark has the highest taxes in the world.) Sanders may be disillusioned to discover that Scandinavian countries have thriving private sectors and are in many respects more business-friendly these days than the United States is. Norway funds its welfare state through the sale of — wait for it — fossil fuel pumped from the North Sea. But Bernie doesn’t pause over pesky details like how to afford things. He and his party are officially in the reality-free zone where, if you close your eyes and wish with all your heart, dreams really do come true. He’s Santa Claus with a Brooklyn accent. This is not politics for grown-ups. … Forget Sanders; we’ve been smothered in quasi-socialism for the past six years. The U.S. economy desperately needs a shot of capitalism and growth. The middle class has been stagnant, and poverty has been increasing. The rich, as in Venezuela, Cuba and Sweden, are making out fine in Obama’s America. It’s the middle class and the poor who need capitalism to lift them.”

SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Happy is he who owes nothing.” —Roman Proverb

Upright: “Time and time again, the Democrats claimed the United States is a great nation, but then insisted we adopt the policies of lesser nations. Bernie Sanders in particular insists we become more like the Scandinavian countries that are even now withering in old age and being overrun by an immigrant Muslim population. It is hard to believe these old liberals think the United States is all that great when they also think we need to saddle the nation with the social welfare regimes of stagnant, dying countries in Europe.” —Erick Erickson on Tuesday’s debate

Braying Jenny: “This bulls— about [Hillary Clinton] not seeming ‘warm’ enough is pure misogyny. It’s ridiculous. I think she’s one of the loveliest, most personable politicians I’ve ever met — much warmer than other politicians, in fact. That’s pure sexism.” —actress Olivia Wilde

Dezinformatsia: “F— you Jeb Bush for telling poor people they need stronger families to not be poor. Poverty weakens families.” —New York Times’ Philip B. Richardson

Village Idiots: “[T]his rhetoric emanating from Republicans about wanting to defund Planned Parenthood is fundamentally dishonest. It certainly is something that is not in the best interest of the country because it is irresponsible to threaten the basic functioning of the federal government over something that, at its root, is so fundamentally dishonest.” —Josh Earnest

Demo-gogues: “I’m sad that John Boehner stepped aside, because he actually was very faithful to [fed up conservatives] — he pled their case. … This is not the Republican Party of George H.W. Bush, of George W. Bush, of Bob Dole, or even of John McCain. This isn’t who these people are. … People think [Republicans] are self-destructing. All of this is terrible for the institution. But politically, it has an upside for us that we have to exploit.” —Nancy Pelosi

Late-night humor: “During the [Democrat] debate, the candidates mentioned the middle class 11 times. Once for each remaining member of the middle class.” —Seth Meyers

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis!
Managing Editor Nate Jackson

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of Liberty, and for their families.

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