As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama and the Al Qaeda Surge

We are in a war against terrorism. It may last a very long time. It is a very unfortunate thing. It will cost us lives and treasure. But we have to face reality or face the consequences.

President Obama wants his presidency to be about domestic policy – his plan to fundamentally transform the country, as he has put it. If he is conducting serious operations overseas, Obama will lack both the bandwidth and the money to drive his domestic agenda. And so he draws back. And al Qaeda is filling the space he abandons.

Obama East Room 5These terrorists have to leave me alone so I can reduce income inequality
Photo by Keith Koffler

Obama’s failure to aggressively push for an adequate continued troop presence in Iraq – a decision that allowed him during the campaign to say he had completely “ended” the Iraq war – is now having dire consequences. The reason is simple: Iraq’s security apparatus is incompetent compared to ours.

And so Al Qaeda in Iraq has, like a once-flickering match that is now burning your finger, grown from being nearly extinguished by President Bush into a major new threat, slaughtering hundreds of Iraqis. Recently, the group freed more than 500 of its members during a massive operation that killed more than 100 Iraqi guards. Eventually it will turn its sites on us.

In Syria, Obama failed to swiftly back a rebel group that might have overthrown Bashar Assad without dressing up the entire country in burkas. As he dithered, our enemies strengthened the Islamist rebels and made Syria the new locus of al Qaeda recruiting from around the world. It is no longer clear that Assad’s overthrow would be a good thing.

Meanwhile, we’ve been picking off al Qaeda leaders on the Arabian Peninsula. That’s fine, except a strategy that relies too heavily on drone killings reduces the number of prisoners we might take in order to obtain information about future attacks.

That is, if we can get any info out of them. I assume the Army Field Manual, which Obama instituted as the guideline for interrogating these characters, is taught during the first semester at Al Qaeda University.

Soon we’ll be out of Afghanistan, perhaps entirely so, reducing our ability to attack al Qaeda’s “base” in Pakistan and providing a nostalgic return for al Qaeda veterans to the hills of Afghanistan – and perhaps eventually Kabul.

Obama offers olive branch after olive branch. He clearly doesn’t want to fight. He stiffs the Israelis. He equivocates on Egypt.

The jackals of the world recognize weakness. It gives them strength. Strength, lamentably, to start launching attacks our way once again.

I know Obama wants to prevent attacks on our land. But doing so will require a major revision of his thinking. Even Jimmy Carter toughened his approach to foreign policy, albeit too late for him.

But I see little evidence that Obama will “grow” in office. Rather, he seems to be returning more and more to his radical roots. And that’s a shame – a dangerous shame – for all of us.

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31 Responses to Obama and the Al Qaeda Surge

  1. Excellent assessment, Mr.Koffler. Your perspicacity rivals your integrity. Our vaunted president and all of America’s intelligence agencies, as well as DoS, could learn from you. Maybe the aforementioned could take advantage of your insight if you told this to someone in a telephonic conversation or by cyberexchange.

    • rawheadrex – may I just tell you that I am very excited to have been called “perspicacious.” It was one of my dad’s favorite words, and he taught it to us as part of his effort to prop up our mediocre vocabularies. Another word on his “word list” was meretricious. May I never merit that description!

      Meretricious is a good one BTW – you can use it on people and they’ll think you’re complimenting them.

  2. “I know Obama wants to prevent attacks on our land.”

    I don’t know that. Another attack would let him crack down even harder on our freedoms.

  3. I am not so sure Obama wants to prevent attacks on the US. My feeling is that he is so apologetic and sympathetic as to provide weapons through the back door to our enemies that it is intention to weaken our defenses and allow more terrorist activities to take place in the US. I have a very bad feeling about his methods and motives.

  4. After learning we had CIA on the ground in Benghazi I’m not sure what he wants to protect, America or His unearned Nobel Prize…

    • wondering who nominated him for that .. If I remember right . he was just as confused .. but who knows .. media screws my head up .. 3 or 4 things said about the same thing .. hmm wondering what media has to do ,but piss us off .

  5. Keith, your Obama pieces are getting scarier and scarier. Unfortunately, they are mostly true.

    Will this great country get through 3 1/2 more years of Obama? He’s failing both at home and abroad.

  6. Excellent article, Keith. I don’t know that Obama wants to prevent attacks on America. In fact, I believe Obama hates America, and gets great satisfaction out of watching US twist in the wind. Such a pity “2016: Obama’s America” wasn’t seen by every voter before the 2012 election.

  7. A most excellent analysis that should scare the bejesus out of everyone.

    If I had $251million, I would buy the WashPost and put this piece on the front page, above the fold.

  8. Do they actually let you in the White House Mr. Koffler? I’d think after the slew of articles you’ve banged out this past week that you’d be persona non grata.

  9. Skynews is reporting a phone call from Al Zawahiri was intercepted… I’m going to have to call major league BS on that. These guys practice great COMSEC and I seriously doubt he was on the horn to a subordinate talk about an op. If he was, somebody’s bitch ass needs to be on a stealth helicopter heading to his location for a friendly visit from the feds. Wag the dog.

  10. It’s the same old claptrap with Obama. When he first assumed office what did he push for? “Healthcare.” The economy was flat on it’s back and the last thing this country needed was Obamacare.

    The problem is that Obama’s policies and solutions are not based in reality but rather ideology and politics. Even the least educated person could just use common sense to realize that pulling completely out of Iraq and Afghanistan would be a huge mistake, but our Ivy League “president” is completely incapable of using common sense to make the correct decisions. Instead of allowing reality to dictate policy, Obama uses whatever is floating around in his head which is mostly a toxic mixture of Saul Alinsky, Karl Marx, and political expediency.

    • Poison Ivy League to be more precise.

      “You see, if you amount to anything in Washington these days, it is because you have been plucked or handpicked from an Ivy League school — Harvard, Yale, Kennedy School of Government — you’ve shown an aptitude to be a good Ivy League type, and so you’re plucked so-to-speak, and you are assigned success. You are assigned a certain role in government somewhere, and then your success is monitored and tracked, and you go where the pluckers and the handpickers can put you.”

      Rush Limbaugh, February 7, 1995

  11. Excellent Keith. Thanks. It is dangerous.

    But something about the whole thing is just off. Normally Obama takes to the podium, tv camera, sit down intimate interview with a media serf. Not this time.

    Closing 20 embassies for a specified amount of time. Maybe he just likes to telegraph the agenda to our enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan — withdrawal dates, closing dates, etc.

    Nope just partying, playing golf, and flying around visiting businesses and schools and occasionally tweaking a law or two to suit his agenda.

    Meanwhile, McCain and Miss Lindsey spending part of their August vacation in Egypt.

  12. I lament so much the situation brought about by his myriad inadequacies. And to think so many millions were fooled by this man. It reminds me of Fidel Castro’s achieving his goal of defeating a tyranny, then adored by millions and turning around to turn the country into a mess. I hate to think how messy this is going to turn with a man who has no cojones.

  13. I have to disagree with this analysis. The Obama administration is not merely blundering in their support of the Brotherhood. From the beginning, when Obama went to Cairo to apologize for Bush attacking Islam blah blah blah, his entire foreign policy has been based around proxy wars and mendacious diplomacy to empower the Brotherhood. How else do you describe what happened in Benghazi as a “phony scandal?”

    There’s just no way around saying plainly: the Obama administration has consistently supported the Brotherhood, and their spinoff al Qaeda (al Zawahiri, bin Laden’s mentor, is arguably the highest ranking Muslim Brother in the world). This is the point we’re at, and for some reason Republicans can’t seem to spell it out to the public and start the hearings.

    Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and now Syria. All former secular governments replaced or in the process of being replaced by the Muslim Brotherhood. Finally, in Syria, the Russians (and North Koreans) have decided to put an end to this madness. Yes, the Russians apparently now have a more sensible Middle Eastern policy for America than the Obama administration.

    Say any of this in public and you’ll be roundly criticized by sharia police, or what we call “political correctness.” The NSA monitors the internet for all sorts of who knows what, and to their credit they have prevented many attacks over the years. But is there any doubt that this administration would use such power against its political enemies? When they seemingly have no problem running guns to al Qaeda, and for that matter Mexican drug cartels?

    This is a fairly mainstream site – I understand that. But I think it’s time some people in the mainstream begin asking the tough questions before it’s too late. Make the Administration explain its position on the Muslim Brotherhood, gun-running, and sharia. And then ask them what finances terror, and demand a detailed answer. Don’t stop asking until they explain that most of the money comes from the narcotics trade. Iran-Contra, Middle East Edition.

    As for the drone strikes, sure, we kill some baddies in Yemen. But there’s no sense in it if at the same time we’re arming their buddies in Syria and handing over to them the reigns of entire governments.

    May God help us.

  14. If we had NOT invaded these g.d. shitholes in the first place, on FALSE pretenses, then we’d NOT be having this ‘discussion’ about how “how weak” we look to the towels….

    • and hmmmm who was that? bush? congress? u.n.? hmmmm yep .. yep ..
      and why Iraq when al-Qaida was in Afghanistan till the invasion left holes on Iraq border .. hmmmmmm … oh that’s right weapons of mass destruction .. and really you don’t think we have receipts for some of those .. ? ok I promise ill shut up now .. i’m sure I will be pounded .. Obama well you got to look ar congress too .. i’m still pissed about NASA!

  15. Ok I thought the people wanted to troops out of Iraq . ???? Am I right?
    so really who did you expect would move in there .. people that gave a crap ? I think not .