Against the advice of all his military commanders, President Obama is speeding up our withdrawal from Afghanistan. Ina addition, he has told his commanders to present a plan in which a residual force of only 3,000, 6,000 or 9,000 troops are left to train and support the ill prepared Afghan army and police forces. The president hasn’t ruled out a zero option and administration leaks say he prefers between 3,000 and 4,000 – a figure the generals say is inadequate to carry out the mission.
Coalition forces provide Afghan forces artillery support, air support, intelligence collection and casualty evacuation. “If this acceleration means the Afghans don’t have access to those combat multipliers…that puts their ability to assume lead responsibility at risk,” In the opinion of Gen. James Dubik of the Institute for the Study of War. That only about 1 in 20 Afghans have any education is a deadly fact in an era of high-tech combat and it is a major factor in preparing them to assume responsibility for their own defense.
Of course, we all want our troops out of Afghanistan as soon as responsibly possible, but Mr. Obama’s statement that our goal – “The reason we went to war in the first place…ensuring that as Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against our country,” is “now within reach”, is premature at best, a pipedream at worst, if we leave to few support troops to carry out the real mission.
Afghanistan, itself, is insignificant. Our need concerns Pakistan and the surrounding region. Our military would like to have at least 3 bases from which special operations forces can operate and from which we can continue the drone campaign against al Qaeda leadership in Northern Waziristan on the Pakistan border. They will also reduce Pakistani influence in the Afghanistan government. The troop levels the president is requesting plans for would be insufficient to support those operations and our soldiers would be little more than targets outside their own compounds.
If Mr. Obama ignores his military experts, throwing away everything gained while wasting the lives and treasury spent, he is either coldly and deliberately negligent or a prime example of the “Peter Principal” – a community organizer promoted far beyond his level of competence.
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Bio: Jim was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, went to Phoenix Union HS until joining USMC at 17, graduated from San Diego Evening HS during enlistment and graduated with BS at ASU after marriage and 3 kids. He started private work career as a Teamster, moved to management and spent his entire career in the freight business before retiring in Camp Verde, AZ.