“Losing the war on terror” • Fred Johnson
You might recall that presidential candidate Barack Obama said that the US was in the wrong country with our troops in Iraq and he would move those troops to Afghanistan because that was where the Taliban and Osama bin Laden were.
As President he has done just that. He closed our base in Iraq which was built to be a permanent base to provide stability in that region. Now Iran is funneling weapons and personnel through Iraq to Syria. The purpose of the base in Iraq was to prevent events like that from happening.
President Obama dramatically increased our troops in Afghanistan but at the same time announced their withdrawal date. Their purpose was to train Afghan troops so they could handle the Taliban on their own. But Obama also changed the rules of engagement so our troop’s hands were tied. For example, they can't shoot at Taliban terrorists unless they see them actually holding weapons in their hands. If the Taliban terrorists temporarily put their weapons down, Marines are forbidden from shooting at them. Our troops are forbidden from following the enemy if they enter a house. An air strike or even an artillery strike can not be ordered if there is any danger of collateral damage. These rules are costing the lives of US troops and making them ineffective.
The Afghan troops we were supposed to train are now turning their weapons on the troops training them. It is easy for them to kill their American trainers because US troops are forbidden from being armed while in their bases. Things have deteriorated to the point that the British suspended all joint patrols with Afghan troops because so many Afghan troops have turned on them.
Instead of patrolling the countryside, our troops are now hunkered down in their bases. Last week, in a modern day Tet Offensive, Taliban fighters attacked the main allied base, killing several Americans and destroying 6 fighter jets. The US Marines lost more aircraft in the attack than at anytime since the Vietnam War. Now, instead of defeating the Taliban, we will now simply limp out of the country.
The Taliban are now running wild in countries all over the region, sacking our embassies and killing Americans. We are losing the war on terror and it isn’t due to our failure to be sensitive to Muslim feelings as the Whitehouse insists. What has strengthened the jihadists was the closing of our base in Iraq, tying the hands of our troops in Afghanistan and rushing for the exits with the job incomplete, pushing for massive defense cuts in our military and separating ourselves from Israel, our closest ally in the region.
Not since Jimmy Carter has America been this powerless.
Printed in the September 27, 2012 edition