To Win or Not To Win: The Afghan Dillema
It was September 11th, 2001 and I was learning about Sir Isaac Newton in 8th grade earth science. My teacher was called out of the room, then she came back in with devastating news….New York was under attack and a plane had flown into one of the twin towers. I froze in shock and wondered what this meant for our nation. I got home from school and stayed glued to the television, watching more planes do more of the same. Death was everywhere and I wondered, what did this mean?
I had a sense of pride later that night when my President, George W. Bush, spoke to the American people and let us know we would find those that did it and they would pay. For next few months, a sense of patriotism not seen in years came across the country. People loved the troops, people were proud of our fight against terror, and you saw flags on cars every day. One day….it all stopped.
Today, I look at the news and I see a President that is obviously clueless when managing a war and a fight that could eventually come back home again. At The Citadel, cadets learn to listen to everyone when making a decision. Everyone in the chain of command is vital to an operation. However, sometimes a leader doesn’t listen and that is when things get sticky and the small problem becomes big. President Obama has consistently been told what to do in Afghanistan. Gen. McChrystal, the head General in Afghanistan, asked for 40,000 troops to complete a counterinsurgency to make sure the Taliban do not get back in power and to ensure Al Qaeda stays weak. The President has turned his back on his General and doesn’t seem to be listening.
Last time a General requested a surge, it wasn’t popular but it allowed our troops to stabilize and leave Iraq. General Petraeus was brilliant for recommending and drafting this plan. Why doesn’t President Obama learn from history and see that this is vital for victory in Afghanistan as well? Instead, he mentions possibly working with the Taliban and keeping some of them in power. Are you kidding me?
This is the SAME Taliban that harbored the SAME terrorists who brought so much bloodshed to our country on September 11th. He wants to keep some of them in power and not fight against them? My greatest fear is for the Taliban to reclaim any control over Afghanistan. While Mr. Obama has been waiting to make a decision, the Taliban has been doing what they do best. They just claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing at the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan this week. On Saturday, 8 troops were killed when the Taliban overran their base because there weren’t enough troops there to defend it. This group sounds very amicable to me. The Taliban will bring Shira law, hate for America, and a love for Al Qaeda to the table. If they harbored them once, they will harbor them twice. Furthermore, if Al Qaeda gets a place to train once and conduct a mass attack like September 11th, they will do it again if the Taliban rule.
If he goes with the strategy to ignore top commanders and work with the enemy, our President will be writing a risky future for our country on the wall. If we do not win in Afghanistan, September 11th will not seem so much in the past. It will likely be part of our future again at some point. This President clearly needs to understand how vital it is to listen to those under him; especially since he has never had combat experience or any form of military training to understand the stakes on the ground. Being Commander in Chief means using all of the command under you to make accurate decisions as the Chief decision maker. I think he needs someone to give him the heads up on what his job actually entails. Maybe Truman left a manual in the White House somewhere.
The President claims he has the best people advising him. Advice that comes from people that aren’t Generals. People like Vice-President Joe Biden. This is the same Joe Biden that wanted to split Iraq up into four sectarian regions and eliminate it as a country. He was dead wrong there. Then there is Hillary Clinton. What does she know about War? All she knows about is being a lawyer and covering up her crimes ex. Whitewater, how to bomb a hill or two (from her husband), being an ineffective Senator, and how NOT to pass a Healthcare bill (As she tried in the 90’s). At least she has a few things in common with the President. My stomach hurts when I think about the non-military advice Obama is getting. It is truly scary.
The clock is ticking and I hope we get some sort of decision from the President soon. However, I am afraid this decision may be one that we feel for years to come. Pray for our country, Pray for our troops, and Pray that our President receives wisdom in making these decisions. This isn’t the only crucial decision that needs to be made right now, but our safety is first priority. Therefore, this has to be dealt with and dealt with timely and effectively. To ensure our own safety, we MUST have an Afghanistan that doesn’t harbor terrorist groups.