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Elections, Politics

Obama has no Afghanistan strategy, and our soldiers are dying

Posted: September 24, 2012 at 12:00 pm   /   by

During the Bush years, our foreign military engagements were a source of obsession in the media and on the left. We were treated to body count reports, scathing indictments of the policies, and constant agitation from the anti-war movement.

Now that Obama is Commander-and-Chief, what we mostly hear is silence.

Whatever the relative merits, or lack thereof, of aspects of the Bush foreign policy, it was at least subject to critique and open to self-correction. Obama’s foreign policy is aimless and without strategic vision. The media doesn’t care. The so-called “anti-war” movement is silent.*  Political reality have forced Obama to keep troops in the field, but he has no clue how to lead them, what they should or should not be doing, or how to protect them.

And our soldiers are being maimed and killed as a result. Here’s Marinka Peschmann:

As the Middle East rages in violent anti-American protests, the dirty little secret that few in Washington want to discuss is how military families have worried for years about whether or not their loved ones serving in Afghanistan and previously in Iraq would be killed by insurgents or by the bureaucracy and policies of their own government.

Intrepid journalist and author Diana West reports from an alarming letter written in June by Army Staff Sgt. Matthew S. Sitton that was sent to U.S. Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young asking for help after his commanders in Afghanistan told him to “quit whining” about orders to lead patrols twice daily without objective, “or purpose” through basically “a mine field.” As SSG Sitton wrote, “As a Brigade, we are averaging at a minimum an amputee a day from our soldiers because we are walking around aimlessly through grape rows and compounds that are littered with explosives. Not to mention that the operation tempo that every solider is on leaves little to no time for rest and refit. The moral and alertness levels on our patrol are low and it is causing casualties left and right.”

“I’m concerned about the well being of my soldiers and have tried to voice my opinion through the proper channels of my own chain of command only to be turned away and told that I need to stop complaining,” SSG Sitton continued. “It is my responsibility to take care of my soldiers …”

Two months later, on August 2, the U.S. policy COIN/nation building, a so-called counterinsurgency plan to win the hearts and minds of Afghans that SSG Sittons wrote about killed him and another U.S. soldier while on foot patrol in an IED-riddled field in Afghanistan—a death trap. SGG Sitton was 26-years old and leaves behind a wife and son.

The troops are not being sent to war to win. Take off your ideological glasses and look at the facts.

Under President George W. Bush the “catch and release” policy in Iraq, where troops were ordered to catch terrorists only to release them to appease the Iranians to supposedly discourage their nuclear enrichment program failed miserably and emboldened Iran. As the Washington Post reported in 2007, “There were no costs for the Iranians,” said one senior administration official. “They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back.” The Bush administration changed course to the “catch or kill” program.

Under the Obama-Clinton regime, despite its obvious failure, the “catch and release” policy was embraced. As the Washington Examiner reported, “It’s as if the Taliban have more rights than us or the people of Afghanistan,” said a U.S. Army medic with 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, in Zabul province. “We have to let these guys go all the time no matter what they do, and then we find them trying to hit us again. But if they think I’ve screwed up once, then [the military will] have no problem throwing me to the wolves.”



Agree our disagree with our presence in Afghanistan, this situation is not acceptable. Obama appears to be incapable of managing our foreign affairs. If he cannot get his act together after four years, what makes anyone think he would do so in a second term?

* The comparative silence of the anti-war movement is proof that it is not anti-war at all, but only anti war when there is a Republican in office. Just like the silence of feminists when Bill Clinton was shown to be abusive to women and was credibly accused of rape, we see the true colors here: left-wing agenda trumps supposed identity politics. In fact, many high-profile feminists were even worse than the antiwar crowd, because they actually defended Bill Clinton.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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Obama has no Afghanistan strategy, and our soldiers are dying