It is not possible to passively win a war. Winning requires an objective, a strategy to accomplish that objective and a determined execution of that strategy. President Obama has no clearly defined objective in Afghanistan, so it should come as no surprise that he has, for weeks, refused to develop a strategy for the intensifying Afghan conflict. Critics of Obama have correctly noted that he is dithering in his decision making, but the truth goes one step further: You cannot dither if you have no clear vision of victory in the first place. Simply put, Obama has no intention of winning either the war in Afghanistan or the global War on Terrorism. Our president has shirked his responsibility as commander in chief, and his lack of commitment to Afghanistan has left our brave soldiers with no hope for resolution in our ongoing struggle against Islamo-Fascism.
Conventional military strength alone is no longer sufficient to guarantee a citizenry protection from harm. Because the attack on 9/11 was planned and coordinated from ragtag camps in the deserts of Afghanistan, post-9/11 U.S. homeland security necessitates finding and eliminating terrorists that hide throughout the caves and tribal areas of distant nations. In order to deny our enemies the opportunity to strike again, we must employ precise yet adequate force against any and all foreign regimes that harbor terrorists.
However, invading countries and killing terrorists is not enough to win the War on Terrorism. Our enemy is rooted in a deeply anti-Western ideology of Islamo-Fascism that despises our Judeo-Christian traditions of liberty and religious tolerance. Long term security requires that the nations which have been complicit in terror join with the United States in eradicating movements of radical Islam from their society. Nations can be conquered, terror cells dispersed and bombing plots foiled, but fanatical terrorists will continue to threaten American lives so long as an ideology of Islamic extremism is given safe haven to spread and germinate.
Victory against this new enemy cannot be achieved through inaction, but inaction is the default stance of our president. Obama appointed Stanley McChrystal to command the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, but when General McChrystal called for reinforcements, asking for as many as 40,000 more troops, Obama remained silent for several weeks. A newly democratic Afghanistan now stands on the brink, yet he has rejected a surge strategy, the likes of which crafted victory in the Iraq war. The president has finally agreed to send about 30,000 more troops, but only so long as he is given an “exit strategy” that will make retreat from the war more politically tolerable.
General McChrystal was confident when he pronounced, “While the situation [in Afghanistan] is serious, success is still achievable.” Afghanistan, just like Iraq in years past, requires a surge of troops with a new counter-insurgency strategy, but we also need a commander in chief who is willing to commit to victory at whatever cost. Sadly, President Obama has never exemplified such resolve.