The War in Afghanistan

>I definitely do not envy President Obama in this current situation abroad. General Stanley McChrystal’s request for more troops in Afghanistan was a no-brainer just a few months ago. Now, with the nuclear situations in Iran and North Korea, what should have been an easy decision is anything but.

While I understand President Obama’s desire to take his time and not make a hasty decision, what I cannot understand is given the urgency of this matter and the lives of American troops at stake, why is going to Coppenhagen to try and bring the Olympics to Chicago, more important than meeting with your field general more than once since taking office and either pulling the troops out of Afghanistan completely, or adding the requested amount of troops for the best chance at finally winning this 8 year long war. Should universal health care be the top priority, or the war on terror?

Since September 11th 2001, I have been the biggest supporter of the war to topple the Taliban government and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Saddam Hussein was an evil dictator that was murdering and torturing his own people and needed to be removed. Iraq should never have happened the way it did. All of the United States focus should have been solely on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Defeating the Taliban, al Qaeda and most importantly, Osama Bin Ladin and his top officers should have been our Presidents top priority. Although progress has been made, eight years later there still is no stability in Afghanistan and no sign of Bin Ladin.

Also, in a related note, eight years later and we still have yet to rebuild the twin towers in New York. That’s a story for a different day.

Unfortunately in real life there are no “do overs”. We cannot undo the Iraq mess. All we can do is move forward and do what is best for our country. There are some major “wrenches” that have now been thrown into the mix, such as Iran, North Korea, Russia and China.

General McChrystal has made it clear to Obama that more troops (approximately 40K) are needed to have a chance at winning this war and that if this is not granted, the next best thing is to get out of Afghanistan altogether. Clearly, status quo is not an option for the president. He either must double down in Afghanistan or fold.

Let’s start with the political ramifications for President Obama. If he does nothing, he goes against the General in command of winning the war in Afghanistan and basically says he knows military strategy better than the general.

The President can choose to pull out of Afghanistan completely, which would appease his far-left base, but would go back on his campaign promise to win the war in Afghanistan and get Osama Bin Laden. This option can very well lead to the same ending as Bush Senior’s “No new taxes” pledge come 2012. Not to mention the fallout from the troops and the families of those that gave their lives for our Nation, fighting in Afghanistan for eight years.

Lastly, President Obama can follow his General’s recommendation and grant the troop surge and hope for at least the same result as Iraq’s surge, or better. The problem with this option, is more strategic than political (going against his far-left base).

The mere fact that American troops are already spread too thin with Iraq and now, with North Korea testing missles and now Iran, building nuclear weapons causes some serious complications to this added troop option in Afghanistan.

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Nobel Socialism Prize

>I woke up Friday morning and received a marketwatch e-mail alert that read, “Obama wins Nobel Peace Prize.” My initial reaction was, “huh, really.” Of course in the heading of the e-mail it did not mention what he received it for, just that he received it.

My kids were asking me “What is the Nobel Peace Prize? What did President Obama win the award for?” Of course, I had to stop and think about this for a moment.

I have some mixed feelings about this. As an American, I am proud that the award went to an American. Symbolically, this was a good thing, especially in light of how a lot of the world had perceived us as the “Evil Empire” and “war-mongers,” under the previous administration. Of course in politics, nothing is ever purely symbolic. When you break through the surface, you will find “actual meaning.” As I unfortunately have to teach my children, it is more important what politicians actually do, then what they say. Most of what comes out of politicians mouths are symbolic base-appealing rhetoric that will help them get re-elected or look good in the polls.
As I explained to my children, the real reason that this award was given to Obama was for political reasons on the part of the European Union. The award in part was an anti-Bush statement by Europe that implied that they did not like our previous administrations cowboy attitude towards the rest of the world. It was no secret that aside from England and Tony Blair, the rest of the world was not a huge fan of Bush’s foreign policy. The Europeans were really glad to hear Obama bashing and apologizing for America’s foreign policies in the past, and for him addressing the Muslim world in his speech and asking the rest of the world for help in the war on terror. Which by the way, they said “NO!” A few other countries like Italy offered a few thousand additional troops for Afghanistan, merely symbolic. At least the award went to an American.
The other main reason that this award was given to Obama was the fact that the European countries are thrilled that this administration is moving more and more closer to their socialistic policies. From the government stimulus package, takeover of the auto industry, takeover of the banking industry and now attempting a takeover of the healthcare industry. We are beginning to look more and more like a European country. For this, the Nobel Peace Prize was a gesture of approval on the part of Europe. An arm around the shoulder of Obama, with a “keep up the good work” praise.
When the recipient himself comments that he felt he did not deserve the award, it makes you stop and think about what is really going on here. Were there other more deserving candidates? I am sure. One that came to my mind was former president Bill Clinton, for going over to North Korea and negotiating the release of two young American journalists from an evil dictator. That to me warrants a Nobel peace prize, more than someone in office for only eight months who has not yet passed any significant pieces of legislation.