Political calculations should never be a part of decisions made as CiC, and that is exactly what we are seeing. Does it really take 10 months to form a plan for Afghanistan? Of course not, but it does take that long to ascertain which way the political winds are blowing.
As RIX, a commenter on Blogmocray said, “They stand between us and the abyss and to see them misused & disrespected is painful.” They’re being used as pawns on a political chessboard and that’s not only painful; it’s disgraceful.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from Victor Davis Hanson’s recent article:
Here are American fatality rates in Afghanistan: 2001: 12; 2002: 49; 2003: 48; 2004: 52; 2005: 99; 2006: 98; 2007: 117; 2008: 155; so far in 2009: 301.
One can twist statistics in all sorts of partisan ways. But I do not think that any fair-minded student could suggest that the Afghan war—in which from 2001 through 2006 no more than 100 Americans died in any given year—was somehow lost—or even a war in the sense of WWII, Korea, or Vietnam.
In 2004, 987 American soldiers died outside of both Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly to accident and illness. This year’s total of 301 fatalities is about the same as all the years’ losses in Afghanistan from 2001-through about half of 2006.
So if one were to define Afghanistan as “lost” by a standard of US fatalities, it surely was not until very recently. More troops, of course , from 2002-6 might have helped subdue the Taliban (and would have increased our own losses), but, nevertheless, I don’t think one can suddenly post hoc say that the Afghan war has been a disaster for years.
So, we have had TWICE the fatalities in Afghanistan under Obama (while he’s been dithering on “his plan”), than we had in the final year of the Bush administration. Were situations reversed, would this not be another “grim milestone” that were so in vogue during that past eight years?
To paraphrase one of my mother’s favorite sayings: Obama wouldn’t make a proper patch on a real President’s ass.