Well, now things have gotten really bad. When both the New York Times and the Washington Post are highlighting the failure of your Afghanistan policy, then your Afghanistan policy is a failure.
President Obama thinks that somehow the Taliban won’t realize that what we’re involved in is a rather brisk retreat from Afghanistan. We’re losing the war, and we’re fleeing, because Obama’s “surge” was tentative – announced along with the date of our departures – and so it isn’t working.
If I told the termites outside my house that I was going to fight them less and less over the next year and then move out, but they should nevertheless pick up and go next door, the termites would say, “What’s a matter with this human dude? He must not understand our termite culture. We’ll just go underground and wait him out.”
The tragedy beginning to unfold was the result of specific decisions made by the president. Why would the Taliban come to the table, for example, when Obama is reducing troops this year even before the summer fighting season? They get it, whether Obama does or not.
From a New York Times news analysis earlier this week:
President Obama and his aides had once hoped that by now they would have cemented the narrative that the Taliban were a spent force being pounded into peace negotiations and recognizing that they could never retake control of the country.
But in conversations on Sunday, both in Washington and Kabul, some American military and civilian officials acknowledged that the (recent Koran burnings and murders of civilians by a U.S.. soldier) would embolden the hard-liners within the Taliban, who oppose negotiations with a force that is leaving the country anyway and who want to use the next two years to appeal to the understandable national allergy to foreign occupation.
But to many Americans — even onetime supporters of the Afghan mission in both parties — these episodes and the inevitable reaction they prompt only underscore the need to hurry to the exits in a war whose outcome, some military officials say, now seems less certain than at any time since Mr. Obama took office.
The Taliban are not a spent force at all. They’re quietly measuring the drapes of the presidential palace in Kabul.
The Washington Post issued an editorial this week that might as well have been written by the Weekly Standard. It’s a scathing criticism of Obama’s handling of the war.
Mr. Obama and his aides have done much to damage the relationship between the two countries and public morale on both sides . . .
The president came to office pledging a revitalized campaign in Afghanistan. But he began by terminating President Bush’s practice of regular personal communications with President Hamid Karzai. Several of his envoys treated Mr. Karzai roughly and disparaged him in public.
The U.S. official most able to work with the Afghan leadership, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, was abruptly pushed out of his post because of a hyped magazine article. Mr. Karzai is an erratic personality — but is it any wonder that he has grown increasingly resistant to the Obama administration?
The president reluctantly accepted the advice of his generals that he adopt a strategy of counterinsurgency against the Taliban and send additional troops to carry it out. But he arbitrarily cut the number of troops sought by commanders; set an equally arbitrary deadline for beginning their withdrawal; and rejected the military’s advice that the pullout be staged after this year’s summer fighting season.
Now his aides are reportedly pushing for further troop withdrawals next year, once again against the Pentagon’s recommendation. Meanwhile, negotiations with the Taliban are being pursued over Mr. Karzai’s head, and sometimes in spite of his objections.
This war was once winnable. The cause of a relatively stable Afghanistan ruled by people who won’t foment terrorism against the United States is now in deep trouble. Many American lives will have been wasted in the war effort, and more will be lost after the Taliban enters Kabul.