Every day brings another fresh scandal or outrageous policy from this administration. Earlier this week, Obama announced his intention to keep most of the 9,800 troops in Afghanistan for the remainder of his presidency. While this story was washed away from the public eye by the Hillary Clinton-James Comey email server saga, it represents one of the bigger scandals of Obama’s presidency. Obama is keeping our troops, mainly elite special operators, in a meat-grinder with no mission, no strategic goals, and the most outlandish rules of engagement imaginable. Sadly, Congressional Republicans and conservative foreign policy establishment gurus are cheering this decision. To them, as long as troops remain in the theater, there is nothing more to discuss and they move onto the next issue. In reality, keeping our soldiers in a meat-grinder is worse than pulling them out.
After 15 years in Afghanistan, 1,856 killed in action, over 20,000 wounded and a trillion dollars spent, we have nothing to show but Al Qaeda being stronger than ever and the Taliban controlling more territory than any time since 2001. Two-thirds of those casualties occurred under Obama’s watch between years eight and 12 of the conflict. We are left propping up a corrupt, sharia-compliant government with a constitution (set up by U.S. officials) which mandates the sort of draconian version of Islam we are supposedly at war with. Shouldn’t all sides agree that at this point we should either identify a strategic mission and outcome that is beneficial to our security interests and pursue it with everything we have – or leave entirely?
As I explained a few weeks ago, to place our soldiers in the most precarious situations but deny them the ability to even defend themselves, much less go on offense, is an immoral affront to our most elite troops. Having them do so for a government that hates us and is not too different from the Taliban is even more vexing.
On the one hand, Obama admitted in his announcement Wednesday that the situation in Afghanistan is “precarious.” n the other hand he is saying that our troops are only there to advise and train the Afghani military. Worse, as the Wall Street Journal reported, the rules of engagement are so bad that even elite special forces have to call a lawyer before taking a shot at the Taliban in the heat of battle. This is a lethal combination. The reality is that they are not advisors and are not just there to train Afghanis. They are some of our best special operators who go behind enemy lines together with Afghani soldiers (who are often unreliable) in the most intense special operations missions. The Afghan government is aware of every operation ahead of time and is rotten to the core. They are placed into combat yet can’t engage in combat. Obama is using them as pawns to keep just enough of Afghanistan intact so there is no Saigon-style fall of Kabul during his tenure.
After 15 years of failure we need to think broader than the binary choice of “pulling out” vs. a “troop surge.” You can never win a war when you can’t define the enemy and understand that enemy’s threat doctrine. The threat doctrine is Sharia, yet somehow our military and government leaders think it is worth our blood and treasure to establish a Sharia-government in Afghanistan all the while refusing to build a broader long-term vision of how to keep that region together and how it fits in with our overall strategic interests. We have a crisis of leadership in the civilian and military leadership in the Pentagon whereby in order to forge a successful career one must completely support the whitewashing of Sharia and social engineering in the military. This entire generation of generals is rotten to the core, as witnessed by not a single leader resigning or protesting what Obama is going to our military, the whitewashing of Sharia-compliant training, and the shocking and disrupting social engineering mandates.
Immediately following Obama’s Afghanistan announcement, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas (F, 52%), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, blasted Obama for not putting enough troops and funding behind the endless Afghanistan war. It’s time Republican leaders on military affairs understand that the crisis in our military and foreign policy is much more foundational than a lack of resources. It’s a moral crisis that predated Obama, although he certainly exacerbated it to an unconscionable level. We are now seeing scores of GOP foreign policy elites cast their lot with Hillary Clinton. Putting aside legitimate conservative concerns about Trump, these individuals are not opposing the GOP nominee for good reasons. They are opposing him because they are fearful, rightfully or wrongly so, that he will actually reverse the political correctness in the military and the willful blindness to our true enemy. Everyone I know who worked in intelligence or special operations strategic planning circles is very adamant that the willful blindness towards Sharia-based Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood – both domestically and abroad – began during the Bush years.
For Republicans to continue droning on about “staying the course” and increasing funds for Afghanistan while our troops are being used as pawns in a war of misinformation is a disservice to those who are shouldering the burden of the willful blindness, which is embedded in the highest ranks of military and civilian command. It’s time for an entirely new approach on the Right, and that begins with a full understanding of what and who we are fighting. (For more from the author of “A Crisis of Military Leadership as Obama Doubles Down on His Political War in Afghanistan” please click HERE)