Over a month ago, I was optimistic that President Obama would act decisively on Afghanistan. With each passing week, it grows more clear that I was wrong.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel signalled today that no decision will be made any time soon on the military’s request for more troops for Afghanistan, because there are questions that need to be asked and answered:
“The president is asking the questions that have never been asked on the civilian side, the political side, the military side and the strategic side,” White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Among the things the Obama administration wants to know from Afghan leaders: “Do you have a credible Afghan partner for this process that can provide the security and the type of services that the Afghan people need?” …
Echoing comments from Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, Emanuel said it would be “reckless to make a decision on U.S. troop levels if, in fact, you haven’t done a thorough analysis of whether, in fact, there’s an Afghan partner ready to fill that space that the U.S. troops would create.”
Excuse me, Mr. Emanuel. Your boss has been the President for nine months. He campaigned for almost two years on the premise that Afghanistan was the necessary and just war.
And now he’s just getting around to asking questions?
I have some questions too.
The problems with the Karzai regime in Afghanistan are not new. Knowing the problems, why didn’t the Obama administration get started on day one dealing with the problems?
And why didn’t the Obama administration take a proactive stance in advance of the recent elections to prevent voter fraud? Since the election results are the reason why there is doubt if we have a “partner” in Afghanistan, why did the Obama administration ignore the warning signs and only deal with the electoral problem after the fact?
And what about the Obama administration’s new strategy announced last March:
“Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. And this marks the conclusion of a careful policy review, led by Bruce [Reidel], that I ordered as soon as I took office.”
Did Obama and his advisers not ask the civilian, political, military and strategic questions which now are being asked before implementing the March strategy?
Obama complained that George Bush ignored Afghanistan because Bush was distracted by Iraq. Will the Obama administration accept that Obama and his inner-circle have been distracted by the full-court press to restructure the health care system? As relates to Afghanistan, health care reform has been Obama’s Iraq.
Last, but not least: Will the Obama administration ever accept any responsibility for anything that goes wrong on Obama’s watch? Never mind, I know the answer to that question.