Friday, March 27, 2009

President Obama = LionHawk 

President Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia University, whose mascot is the Lion; so, if the Princetonian we know as TigerHawk is a "Hawk" not only because of his Iowa connections, but also because of his foreign policy views, then President Obama also gets the "Hawk" designation today, because of the news behind this current AP headline:

Obama: Taliban and al-Qaida must be stopped

The money quotes:

"So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future," the president said.

"That is the goal that must be achieved," Bush Obama added. "That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you."

And further down:

"This is not simply an American problem — far from it," Obama said. "It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order. Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to al-Qaida and its allies in Pakistan, as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and Kabul. If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it, too, is likely to have ties to al-Qaida's leadership in Pakistan."

The president added: "The safety of people around the world is at stake."

He is committing an additional 4,000 American troops as trainers to Afghan forces, in addition to the previously announced 17,000 troops that will be sent to the Afghanistan.

It is helpful that President Obama can do this with only minor grumblings and not howls of protest from the Left.

UPDATE: Michael Yon says it's not enough to get the job done. (via Hot Air headlines).


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 01:34:00 PM:

The correct position, in my opinion, BUT so much for bringing our men & women home ... one can almost see the t-shirts from Fox ... Obama Lied, Soldiers Died.

Funny how the game changes once you go from can't show up and vote to reading the real breifings.  

By Blogger Lynn, at Fri Mar 27, 02:07:00 PM:

Sounds a little like his teleprompter did not get all the Bush speeches erased during the transition period. Don't worry, he will issue a clarification (or twelve) soon.  

By Blogger Elijah, at Fri Mar 27, 02:21:00 PM:

the intensity of predator airstrikes seems to be increasing.

where are the Lancers lurking?

some bases inside Afghanistan -

the main logistical center for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan is Bagram Air Field north of Kabul - known by US military forces as "BAF".

Kandahar Air Field, or "KAF", in southern Afghanistan

Shindand Air Field in the western province of Herat is about 100 kilometers from the border with Iran

"It is helpful that President Obama can do this with only minor grumblings and not howls of protest from the Left."

Interesting observation  

By Blogger Mrs. Davis, at Fri Mar 27, 02:55:00 PM:

Hawkishness should not be mistaken for good strategy. Afghanistan will become a logistical quagmire long before it becomes a victory. The left will turn on him as soon as the logistical nightmare starts resulting in body bags coming home and being photographed nightly at Dover. Throwing no longer useful idiots under the bus is their favorite tactic. This guy looks more like LBJII every day. Let's hope the trunks can do better than Nixon this time.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 03:22:00 PM:

The correct position, in my opinion, BUT so much for bringing our men & women home....

Obama campaigned on the need to *finish" the war in Afghanistan, stating:

"I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq," he said.

Obama said troop levels must increase in Afghanistan.

"For at least a year now, I have called for two additional brigades, perhaps three...I think it's very important that we unify command more effectively to coordinate our military activities.

So John, there's no surprise here for those of us who paid attention during the presidential campaign, or listened to even one debate along the way.  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Fri Mar 27, 03:53:00 PM:

I actually caught a good part of the president's talk on Afghanistan this morning -- I am in Salt Lake City and therefore two hours behind -- and admit to being fairly happy with it.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 04:01:00 PM:

There will be some protests from the usual anti-war people. People who otherwise would back O in almost any endeavour.

But what will be interesting is how much publicity the media gives to the protesters.

We won't know that for a while.

Personally I think increasing our effort in Afghanistan is worth the try. But the risk of bogging down is very real.

NATO must provide real help, the formal Afghan government must become determined and able, and the adjacent nations must not be undermining the effort.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 06:37:00 PM:

I am a bit surprised. I always thought Obamas's position on Afghanistan might simply reflect political calculation rather than real commitment.

Go back to his famous 2002 anti-Iraq speech where he claimed not to oppose all wars, just dumb ones. His examples of "good" wars - the Civil War and WWII. Yeah, he makes the tough calls every day.

So I was conscious of the possibility that his tough talk on Afghanistan was just to avoid the "reflexively anti-war" label, and that once in office he would be shocked, shocked at how far Bush had let things slip in Afghanistan, how hopeless it was, etc. Endgame - Declare defeat and blame Bush, i.e., the same strategy he would have applied in Iraq except that Bush is so dumb he screwed up our own defeat with that pesky surge.

Well. We will see how he stands up to his own party as the extent of the necessary effort becomes clear.

Tom Maguire  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 06:43:00 PM:

Until Obama understands Islam and the dimension it brings to this conflict, everything he does is a pointless waste of money and lives.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 08:38:00 PM:

"NATO must provide real help, the formal Afghan government must become determined and able, and the adjacent nations must not be undermining the effort."

Critical success factors for our success in Afghanistan, but realistically, I don't see these happening effectively -- especially the last point. Elements in Pakistan and Iran are certainly hostile to US intentions.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 09:13:00 PM:

Just a few observations:

NATO will not be much help, save maybe a few units from Canada and Britain, and the political pressure to bring them home will become more intense in the next few years.

I would bet that President Obama actually understands Islam pretty well. You can interpret that anyway you like.

Logistics is the major problem here, as Afghanistan is a landlocked nation at the end of a very long and tenous supply line. There is a finite amount of military pressure we can bring to bear.

Lastly, rooting all of AQ out of Pakistan is probably beyond our military means, unless we decide to incinerate several cities in the Northwest Frontier Area. However, we could fight them to a stalemate and prepare the Afghans to defend themselves against the Pashtun/Al Qaeda elements that are their enemies.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri Mar 27, 11:34:00 PM:

Several anonymous have commented.

I wrote this:

"NATO must provide real help, the formal Afghan government must become determined and able, and the adjacent nations must not be undermining the effort."

Like some others I don't see these things happening either. Certainly not yet.

But I do figure they might and it is worth the try.

And I agree that logistics is, or may become, our major problem. To sustain our effort we must have the cooperation of at least some adjacent countries.

Normally I say little about our foreign military activities.
I figure the POTUS has better information than I do.

If he doesn't then may heaven help us.

anonymous K.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat Mar 28, 11:00:00 AM:

He wants to increase the presence of civilians in the country, incl. engineers, teachers, and such, to 'build infrastructure.'

Taliban: 'Look at all the new targets!'

He wants to establish 'opportunity zones' in the tribal areas.

Are you fucking kidding?

He wants the NATO powers to 'do their part.' (is that anything like 'paying their fair share,' I wonder?)

They already told us to go to hell the last two times we asked.

He wants a multi-lateral 'contact group' consisting of Russia, India, Pakistan, India, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Iran, the NATO powers, and us.

Apparently, he's unaware that several of these nations kill each other's personnel in low level conflict pretty much all the time and expecting these powers to co-operate is amazingly naive.

He wants to expand the war to Pakistan, and has said that the Pakistanis had better go along with it because he'll do it whether they like it or not.

Is that anything like 'expanding the war in Southeast Asia?' And is he unaware that American activities in Pakistan are currently a major grievance for the Pakistani population? (the population that is inching closer to uprising every week)

A doomed effort. This will be a debacle like Iraq never was.  

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