The Obama Campaign’s favorite magazine, The New Yorker, ran an article this month that carried what I think might become a very prophetic headline; OBAMA’S IRAQ PROBLEM (digg story). Now, the story talks about the controversy surrounding Mr. Obama’s 16 month withdrawal plan. However, I think that when we look at Mr. Obama’s rhetoric on Iraq, the problem goes deeper. Mr. Obama has been very reluctant to concede any credit to the surge for the remarkable progress in Iraq over the last year. Mr. Obama portrays, or at least has until very recently portrayed, the war in Iraq as an endless quagmire. However, he has clearly stated that he believes the real battle is in Afghanistan where he plans to increase troop strength to fight increased al Qaeda and Taliban forces there.
The problem now for Mr. Obama is twofold. First, if Mr. Obama did not believe that a surge would work in Iraq a year ago and is still only willing to call it a contributory factor in the progress in Iraq over the past year, why is he calling for what is essentially a surge in Afghanistan? And what if Afghanistan turns out to be the quagmire that Mr. Obama promised Iraq would be?
Second and far more important to me as one of the soldiers who will end up serving on the Afghan front, how does Mr. Obama define victory in the war on al Qaeda, the war on terror? I suspect that once he gets it all worked out it will look something like this:
The best way to secure long-term peace and security is to establish a stable, prosperous, and democratic state in Afghanistan that poses no threat to its neighbors and contributes to the defeat of terrorists. When Afghani forces can safeguard their own country, American troops can return home. (source)
And one last thought. Has it occurred to Mr. Obama that at least part of the reason for the increase in al Qaeda activity in Afghanistan is because of the surge and the success in Iraq? That maybe al Qaeda is shifting personnel from Iraq to Afghanistan?
[posted with ecto]