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A Losing Strategy For Afghanistan

December 6, 2009

President Obama chose West Point to mgive his speech on his new strategy for Afghanistan.  He got a luke warm reception at best.  Cadets appeared to be sleeping during Obama’s speech.  They had to be ordered to applaud.  Reports from soldiers in Afghanistan indicate that Obama did no better with the troops in the field. 

Obama announced that he was sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan, but would withdraw them in 18 months.  What he failed to acknowledge was what has become know to the troops as the Karzai 12.  The Washington times described it this way, ”

“Karzai 12” refers to Afghanistan’s newly re-elected president, Hamid Karzai, and a dozen rules set down by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, to try to keep Afghan civilian casualties to a minimum.

The Times compiled an informal list of the new rules from interviews with U.S. forces. Among them:

• No night or surprise searches.

• Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

• ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.

• U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

• U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

• Only women can search women.

• Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

These rules sound great, if one is the enemy we are fighting.  They are a great way to lose a war.  They are an even greater way to get thousands of American soldiers and marines killed.  As the Times pointed out, the Taliban doesn’t have to obey these rules, only we do.  If Obama wants to win this war, he should take a lesson from the last great war the US actually fought to win.  He should look to our fathers and grandfathers that won WWII.  They carpet bomber Berlin and never lost a minute of sleep.  Any idea how many civilians died at that time?  Or when the Enola Gray dropped her nuclear bomb on Nagasaki and Hiroshima?  Did our leaders lose sleep over the loss of civilian lives then?  NO.  We did what we had to do to win, to protect American lives at home.  Obama is fighting this war like an idiot child with his “if we are nice to them, they will be nice to us attitude.” 

Should Obama send additional troops?  Without a doubt, he should send the 40,000 General McChrystal needs, and the additional 80,000 he would like to have.  And in order to actually win this war, Obama needs to immediately change the Rules of Engagement to reflect our desire to actually win.  The only rule we need is if they appear to be the enemy, kill them.  If civilians get hurt, sorry but it is a war, that is what happens in war.  Next time the civilians that don’t want to get hurt in war will stop the Taliban and their Al-Qaeda counterparts from starting a war with America.

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