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U.S. Drops the “Mother of All Bombs” on Afghanistan

A president who is intent on winning a war? What unique new concept.

The U.S. has dropped one if its largest non-nuclear bombs on a tunnel complex in Afghanistan, the U.S. military said, according to the Washington Examiner.

The use of the GBU-43/B is a first for the battlefield, and was dropped in Nangarhar province on Thursday. The target was a tunnel complex in Achin district being used by the ISIS-Khorasan group.

Known as the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, the bomb has been nicknamed “Mother of All Bombs.” Developed in 2003, the bomb has been tested but never used against an enemy. The bomb is 30-feet long and weighs 21,600 pounds.

After Eight Years, Obama Fails to Win Two Wars

Today’s news that Afghan forces trying to hold a provincial capital have been surrounded by the Taliban brings to mind an astounding fact: President Obama has been in power eight years, and he has failed in that time to win the two wars he was handed. To the contrary, Iraq, which was basically peaceful, became a war again and expanded into Syria, Libya and elsewhere as the opposition morphed into ISIS under Obama’s watch.

Afghanistan, which was supposed to be the good war in Obama’s opinion, remains besieged, we remain involved, and the war will simply be handed to Trump or Clinton.

The Taliban attack on the provincial capital “has exposed how thinly stretched Afghan security forces have become as they try to contain Islamist insurgents in other areas of the country,” according to Reuters.

I thought after Vietnam we were going to fight wars to win them, or not fight them at all. Obama’s vow was to “degrade” the Taliban. It was a half-measure.

His goal was not exactly to win the war. And in that, he’s succeeded.

Obama Bagram Afghanistan

Meantime, Russian jets are fearlessly buzzing ours, China is claiming the South China Sea without apparent repercussions, North Korea is expanding its nuclear capability, and Iran has been granted its own nuclear arms. And of course, al Qaeda is still very much around.

And Obama has gutted the military, with the latest report that he plans to delete another 25,000 soldiers from the army. Because, well, he’s made the world so safe! We can now focus our resources on recruiting food stamp recipients instead.

Is there any commander in chief with a worse record than Obama? No wonder we’re not respected around the world.

At least in eight years he fixed the economy.

Oh, wait, he didn’t do that either.

American University in Kabul Under Attack

American University in Kabul is under attack, according to various reports. There was at least one explosion, and gunmen reportedly stormed the campus.

CBS News is following the story closely, and you can find updates here.

UPDATE: At least one person is dead and 18 wounded in the attack, which was carried out by one or two gunmen. Hundreds of students and teachers were reported to have been trapped on the campus during the siege.

Obama Reduces Drawdown, will Leave 8,400 Troops in Afghanistan

President Obama Wednesday announced that he will leave some 8,400 troops in Afghanistan through the end his administration, reducing his planned reduction of troops for 2016 from 4,300 to just 1,400.

Obama had wanted to drop troop levels from the 9,800 on hand at the beginning of 2016 to 5,500 troops by the end of the year, but the Taliban has been showing new signs of life, forcing Obama to reevaluate his thinking.

“The security situation in Afghanistan remains precarious,” Obama said during remarks at the White House, noting Afghan security forces are still not as capable as the need to be. “The Taliban remains a threat,” Obama acknowledged.

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham this week called on Obama not to decrease troop levels at all. Obama’s military advisers have also told Obama he should leave  a robust force in the country and cancel the drawdown.

Obama of course removed all U.S. forces from Iraq and then campaigned on “ending” the Iraq war, only to have to put what so far amounts to another 3,000 troops back in the country after his actions resulted in the rise of ISIS.

Of course, Obama would never want to be seen as caving to anybody, so he had to reduce the number by a bit to make sure he saved face. So the 8,400 left will make things a little more difficult for those fighting in Afghanistan, but it will make the president feel better.

Afghan Troop Reversal Hurts Clinton

Republicans are gleeful about President Obama’s decision to leave 5,500 troops in Afghanistan into 2017.

On the obvious level, it shows that after seven years, he has not been able to fix the problem, even though he said it was the war that should be won.

But it also is basically an admission that his decision to withdraw all troops from Iraq was wrong. Doesn’t want to repeat that mistake. And worse for Democrats, it’s bad news for the person who was heading up his foreign policy, former Secretary of State Hillary.

The RNC put out this video of Clinton proclaiming three and a half years ago that everything was going just great.

“The transition is on track,” Clinton said.

Obama Agrees to Maintain Force Levels in Afghanistan

President Obama announced today that he will keep U.S. forces in Afghanistan at the current level of about 10,000 troops until the end of the year, delaying a planned drawdown in response to requests from Afghan leaders and U.S. military officials.

Obama spoke during press conference with Afghan President Ghani.

It’s nice to see the president taking steps to counter the establishment of yet another arena for Islamist mayhem and potential terrorist attacks against the United States. So it’s a good decision.

But Obama remains determined to withdraw all U.S. troops by the end of his presidency, which would probably be a mistake. And let’s hope he doesn’t really believe what he says about the Taliban:

Afghanistan and the United States agree on what the Taliban must do, which is break with al Qaeda, renounce violence, and abide by Afghan laws, including protections for women and minorities.

I mean, the president already thinks he can make a strategic ally out of the Iranians. The Taliban will die before they accustom themselves to civilized behavior. They need to be defeated, not given courses in citizenship.

Obama Gets Smart About Afghanistan

Learning the lesson of Iraq, where President Obama withdrew all U.S. troops, with predictable results, the administration today announced that it has signed a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan that will allow nearly 10,000 troops to remain in the country after the “withdrawal” that is supposed to occur this year.

Ten thousand is also the minimum number military advisors said would be needed to keep order in Iraq

From the Washington Post:

The Bilateral Security Agreement allows for 9,800 U.S. troops to stay in the country past 2014 to help train, equip and advise Afghan military and police forces. It arrives as Islamist Taliban insurgents are increasingly attacking areas around the country in an effort to regain control as most foreign troops prepare to leave by the end of the year.

Unfortunately, Obama is getting smart about Afghanistan after being dumb about it, having refused during the “Afghan surge” early in his presidency to send the number of troops to Afghanistan needed to ensure victory. Bush sent the right number to Iraq and got . . . victory.

So now the American troops remaining in Afghanistan, needed there to ensure the place doesn’t turn right back into a terrorist training camp, will face a much more difficult environment than they needed to.

But at least Obama is being serious for once.

Incomprehensible

By trading very senior and very dangerous Taliban leaders for a single U.S. soldier, President Obama has created grave peril for every American, and he has branded a “K” of the forehead of every U.S. serviceman and woman serving overseas. The “K” stands for “Kidnap me.”

Because kidnapping gets results.

Obama was correct to take vigorous steps to save the life of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was seized in June 2009 by the Taliban, even though the circumstance of how Bergdahl got separated from his unit – and whether he deserted – are unclear. But Obama was not correct to take any step.

Let me introduce you, via the Washington Post, to the people Obama has set free from Guantanamo:

Wali Khairkhwa, 47, was once the Taliban’s interior minister. He helped create the Taliban movement in 1994. He was a “hard-liner in his support of the Taliban philosophy” and “was known to have close ties to Osama bin Laden,” according to his Guantanamo case file, released by WikiLeaks.

Mullah Mohammad Fazl was a senior commander in the Taliban army in the 1990s, rising to become its chief of staff. He is thought by many to have supervised the killing of thousands of Shiite Muslims near Kabul between 1998 and 2001. According to WikiLeaks documents, he was also present at the 2001 prison riot that killed CIA operative Johnny Micheal Spann, the first U.S. citizen killed in the Afghan war.

Mullah Norullah Noori, another of the detainees, was also present during Spann’s killing. He was a provincial governor in several key areas during the Taliban regime. He is also suspected of involvement in the Shiite massacre.

Abdul Haq Wasiq, 43, was deputy chief of intelligence for the Taliban. According to his Guantanamo case file, he “utilized his office to support al Qaeda” and was “central to the Taliban’s effort to form alliances with other Islamic fundamentalist groups.” His case file, like Khairkhwa’s, calls him a “high risk,” saying that he is likely to “pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.”

Mohammad Nabi Omari, 46, was a member of a joint al-Qaeda-Taliban cell in eastern Khost province, according to his case file, and “one of the most significant former Taliban leaders detained” at Guantanamo. He has ties to the Haqqani network, the group that was believed to be holding Bergdahl.

Over and over, each detainee received a “recommendation for continued detention” by a military board at Guantanamo.

Whatever the conditions of their release, whatever guarantees we have received from the Qataris, who took them, these people who are now out from under our purview will eventually be back at work trying to kill Americans, who imprisoned them, perhaps tortured them, and overturned their rule.

Let me introduce you to Sgt. Bergdahl. From an email he sent his parents three days before his capture, as reported by Rolling Stone:

The future is too good to waste on lies. And life is way too short to care for the damnation of others, as well as to spend it helping fools with their ideas that are wrong. I have seen their ideas and I am ashamed to even be american. The horror of the self-righteous arrogance that they thrive in. It is all revolting . . .

In the US army you are cut down for being honest . . . but if you are a conceited brown nosing shit bag you will be allowed to do what ever you want, and you will be handed your higher rank . . . The system is wrong. I am ashamed to be an american. And the title of US soldier is just the lie of fools . . . I am sorry for everything here. These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live. We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.

I want to emphasize that no American serviceman or woman should ever be left behind, and we should do what we can to retrieve them, alive or dead. I relate this email to you only to demonstrate that Sgt. Bergdahl may have had more personal responsibility for his unfortunate circumstance than the average American taken while on assignment overseas.

President Obama said the other day at West Point that he was “haunted” by the deaths of servicemembers he had sent to Afghanistan.

Four of the servicemembers who stood in the audience when I announced the surge of our forces in Afghanistan gave their lives in that effort.  A lot more were wounded.  I believe America’s security demanded those deployments.  But I am haunted by those deaths.  I am haunted by those wounds.

I am haunted by Obamas remarks.

A commander in chief should be saddened by deaths that occur under his watched. He can even grieve. But he cannot be haunted by these deaths and effectively do his job, which involves making terrible decisions that could result in the deaths of many more brave American boys and girls.

I understand something about history. History is a long struggle in which leaders must make horrifying decisions in order to safeguard their nations. War is to be avoided at all costs. But it is also a fact of life.

That’s why leaders must be made of steel. But the alloy, for me, includes both compassion and ruthlessness. That is true strength.

Obama, by trading away his nation’s security, has made a stupendous mistake. He may also, given that he didn’t notify Congress of his intent, have done something illegal. And he has once again signaled to our enemies that he may lack the strength to oppose them.

Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

President Obama today made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to spend time with the troops and to be briefed directly on the situation on the ground. From the pool report: (Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan) President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan for a Memorial Day weekend rally with US troops. Air Force One touched down at… Continue Reading

Rumsfeld: “Trained Ape” Could do Better on Afghanistan

Well, it would take some training, but yes, it’s possible. Bush Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said Monday night that a “trained ape” could have gotten a status of forces agreement with the Afghanis that would allow some U.S. troops to stay in country. What Rumsfeld is challenging here is the usual narrative that President… Continue Reading