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Obama Redefines ‘Winning’ In Afghanistan

From The Hill:

White House redefines ‘winning’ in Afghanistan ahead of review

By John T. Bennett – 06/08/11

Obama administration officials and lawmakers are lowering the bar for success in Afghanistan ahead of the first strategic review of war policy in the post-Osama bin Laden era.

Washington has largely shed words like “winning” and “success” as public fatigue about the costs and duration of the decade-long conflict have increased.

But of course Mr. Obama never liked such words from the start. As we noted back in July 2009, Mr. Obama told ABC News, "I’m always worried about using the word ‘victory,’ because, you know, it invokes this notion of Emperor Hirohito [sic] coming down and signing a surrender to MacArthur."

Though, to be fair, this was not always Mr. Obama’s position. Back in July 2008, when he was running for the White House, Mr. Obama firmly declared that "this is a war that we have to win." But he is in a new election campaign now.

What is emerging is a search for a new definition for winning the war in Afghanistan that would allow most U.S. forces to leave the war-torn country without the risk of having the Taliban and al Qaeda quickly fill a vacuum.

It’s always about changing the definitions with people like Mr. Obama. After all, it’s "just words." But words aren’t going to keep the Taliban or Al Qaeda from taking over and making all of the blood and treasure spent on this war for nothing.

Calling ‘defeat’ ‘victory’ isn’t going to fool anybody, except perhaps the willfully deluded Democrat base.

The death of bin Laden, the man behind the Sept. 11 attacks that led to the U.S. presence in Afghanistan, is another factor…  Obama himself has suggested bin Laden’s death means there should be a change in U.S. policy.

After all, didn’t President Roosevelt declare victory in the Second World War after we managed to kill General Yamamoto?

The president’s 2008 campaign was built on the idea that the Bush administration had ignored a necessary war in Afghanistan to fight an unnecessary war in Iraq. But as he prepares for his own reelection campaign in 2012, Obama is sounding a different tune.

Is The Hill pretending to be surprised? Mr. Obama has never sung the same tune twice. Or even once.

“By us killing Osama bin Laden, getting al Qaeda back on its heels, stabilizing much of the country in Afghanistan so that the Taliban can’t take it over … it’s now time for us to recognize that we’ve accomplished a big chunk of our mission and that it’s time for Afghans to take more responsibility,” the president said Tuesday in an interview with Hearst Television.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested during an interview with ABC News this week that a clear American victory in Afghanistan is not likely.

“We have not had a declared victory in a war — with the possible exception of the first Gulf War — since World War II. It is the phenomenon of modern conflict,” Gates said.

And look where it has gotten us.

In place of a definitive U.S. win, the outgoing secretary described what he views as the “key” metrics for measuring whether the operation has been a success.

Personally, we prefer the buzz word ‘optics’ to "metrics."

“The key is: Are our interests protected? Is the security of the United States protected? Are the Americans safer at the end because of the sacrifice these soldiers have made? That’s the real question,” he said during the interview.

Does anyone really believe that  these questions will be answered correctly if Mr. Obama gets his way?

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, June 9th, 2011. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “Obama Redefines ‘Winning’ In Afghanistan”

  1. TerryAnne says:

    Washington has largely shed words like “winning” . . .

    I guess they aren’t going to hire Charlie Sheen, then.

  2. Airmail56 says:

    Emperor Hirohito did not sign a surrender with McArthur. Why does this idiot get away with being a bone head, but no one else?

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Then there was that stellar moment when Hambone stuck it to McCain, saying “I won” and also, “We’re not campaigning here”. To say nothing of the middle finger cheek-scratches.

    Let’s face it, I used to tell people that it’s not his color that I disagree with, it’s his policies but I have since modified that to say, “You can be black and still be a prick, though.”.

    And, it’s a sad testimony to the type of society we live in when we are now down to redefining what words mean. And to do so from a political perspective, as if that makes it acceptable, is even worse.

  4. artboyusa says:

    BARACK ‘BUCK’ OBAMA, American Action Hero, leads his elite team of Seals on a deadly, bullet riddled, action soaked, danger filled “Flight into Dangerousness”!

    A flight of blacked out Blackhawks screamed across the night sky. “AAAAAIIIEEEEEE!” they screamed. “AAAARRRGGGHHH!”

    Aboard the lead chopper Commander Barack “Buck” Obama, American Action Hero, briefed his team of Seals. “Listen up, you hard chargin’, tough as nails, bunch of combat happy GI Joes and Janes” growled Buck. “This mission will be plenty tough. Some of us – well, some of you, more likely – might not come back. But that’s okay, because tonight its payback time. We’re going to find the world’s most dangerous terrorist and …take… him… down. Hoo rah!”

    The highly trained Seals barked deafeningly and clapped their flippers with enthusiasm. Some honked old fashioned squeeze bulb auto horns, some beat little drums. Others pretended to push tiny brooms around the deck. Buck Obama smiled with grim satisfaction. He had a good team. He knew they’d perform.

    Buck checked his equipment. Gleam of manly perspiration – check. Weirdly distorted pumped up anatomy – check. Half chewed stogie –check. Torn tee shirt – check. Crisscrossed ammo bandoliers – check. Bandana – check. Ray Ban sunglasses – check…he could hardly see a thing.

    Soon the lights of Osamabad lay glittering ahead of them, like tiny jewels strung across blackness. The pilot’s voice crackled in Buck’s headphones. ”Approaching target, sir. Time to target…four, three, two…go, go, go!”

    Buck sprang for the chopper door and hit his head hard because no one had opened it yet. “Ouch!” he cursed.

    “Sorry, sir” mumbled the crew chief, tugging at the handle. “After you…”

    Buck checked that his bandana was still in place and his hair wasn’t messed up and he raced through the swirling dust raised by the chopper blades. His team of elite Seals followed; barking, smacking their flippers loudly and balancing red rubber balls on their cute little noses.

    The enemy fell back in surprise, as well they might. Buck dove inside one of the buildings and raced up the stairs…he kicked down the first door he came to and levelled his M4 at the shadowy figure within, who was bent over a tattered map of Russia. Buck’s keen eyesight, honed by years of training, took in the toothbrush moustache, the lock of hair falling over one eye, the natty double breasted jacket – it was Hitler!

    “Donnerwetter Himmel Gott schweinhund!” screamed the crazed Fuhrer, raising his Luger. Too slow! Buck opened fire and the Reich Chancellor’s term in office finally ended in a bloody sprawl backwards across the smoking room that was now his coffin.

    “Pardon my lead, Fritz” growled tough as nails Buck Obama, slapping a new magazine into his smoking weapon. “I was only following orders”. A sudden flash of light dazzled him and he jumped aside as the sizzling light sabre carved the air.

    “Darth Vader – you!” gasped Buck.

    “Indeed! The Force is strong with you, young Obama” hissed the Dark Lord. “But stronger still is the power of the Dark Side!”

    Darth raised his light sabre to strike and Buck emptied a full mag into him. BANGBANGBANGBANG…the sound effects roared and Darth staggered backwards, sparks flying from his armor. DOINKDOINKDOINKDOINK….a riddled Darth Vader crashed to the floor and his gleaming helmet rolled uselessly into a corner.

    Buck looked down at his vanquished foe. “Buck” gasped the dying Darth. “I am your …father”.

    “That’s entirely possible” conceded Buck. “Given the murky nature of my family origins and certain still unanswered questions about my early years. Mom kind of got around in the old days, if you know what I mean”.

    “You’re…aak…telling me“ reminisced Darth. “She…aak… went like a…train” he gasped before he finally croaked.

    Two down! But the biggest target was still at large. Buck could hear the distant honking and tooting as the Seals engaged the enemy. Suddenly a tall figure loomed from the shadows and thrust a young woman toward the startled Buck.

    “Take my wife – please!” snarled Osama Bin Laden.

    Buck raised his weapon to fire but something froze his finger on the trigger. Sure, Buck Obama was tough but he was compassionate too. This woman was an unarmed civilian, a mere pawn in a deadly game beyond her understanding. He could not just kill her in cold blood so he shot her in the leg instead. Pity had stayed Buck’s hand.

    “It’s a pity I’m out of ammo” fumed Buck, squeezing the trigger over and over and hearing nothing but snap snap snap…

    “So, Buck Obama” boomed the deep voice of Bin Laden. “We meet at last…for the endgame!”

    “Brother, let’s talk!” squeaked Buck, frantically searching for another magazine and finding nothing on him except cans of spray-on sweat. “I’m sure we can agree to move forward on some points of mutual interest and concern!”

    “Indeed; such as the imminent killing of you by me”. Osama held up a full M4 mag. “Is it this for which you seek? Hahahahahaha. Now you shall know death, accursed infidel!”

    “You’re like so totally unfair!” wailed Buck, real sweat breaking out all over him this time. “My faith is a private matter and…” Buck noticed that Osama was frantically trying to load his M4 mag into an AK47 for which, entirely predictably, it did not fit. “Curse this stupid thing” muttered the furious jihadi.

    That looks hopeful, thought Buck.

    “Honk! Honk!”

    Buck whirled around at the sudden noise. In the doorway was Ensign Jo Jo, one of his best young Seals. Jo Jo tossed Buck a pistol with one quick flip of her cute little nose and Buck Obama spun around and shot Osama right in the eye.

    Or that’s what he would have done, if he hadn’t left the safety on, so Jo Jo did it for him and Osama dropped like a basket of spilled laundry.

    “YES!” shouted Buck Obama, American Action Hero, pumping the air with his fist. “Yes! Did you see that? Huh? Did you? Oh, man! Quick, take my picture! Now take another one! Wow! I did it! I did it! I did it all by myself! I gave the orders! I ran the mission! I did it all and nobody helped me!

    Jo Jo the Seal looked up in surprise. Huh?

    “In your face, Bush! I did it and all the credit and all the glory and the big poll numbers belong to me, me, meeee…”

    “Barack! Barack! BARACK! Wake up!” snapped Michelle, jabbing the president furiously in the ribs. “Wake up! You’re self-mythologizing in your sleep again!”

    “Huh? Wha? Where am I? Oh – just the White House” mumbled the befuddled POTUS. “Sorry, honey, but I was having the best dream…”

    “Save it for the campaign trail” snapped Michelle, rolling over. “And let me get some sleep…’Buck’”.

    • TerryAnne says:

      LOL! Good one!

    • artboyusa says:

      Thanks, TerryAnne. Glad you liked…as for ‘winning’ in Afghanistan; what does ‘victory’ look like? is it victory when we’ve created a free and open democracy with equal rights for woman and minorities and the whole place looks like a mirror of the USA? If that’s it, we will never ‘win’. The locals don’t want it and we don’t know how to create it. If victory means denying an operational base to terrorists, than we can do that with less means than we’re currently applying and at a smaller cost. I think we ‘won’ back in the autumn of 2001 as far as doing what our national interest required but then, being us, we had to go too far; we had to push the mission to encompass a lot of stuff that would make us feel like we were benevolent liberators instead of just acting from self-interest, which we were. And that’s not wrong but trying to save people from themselves who don’t want to be saved and don’t think they have a problem and if they do, that we’re not the answer, is stupid. We created a new situation where we could never be defeated militarily but we would never win politically either. And winning politically is what matters in a modern war.

    • TerryAnne says:

      I think the locals do want it, just in their form. They’re a “beat down” group of people, who’ve been under occupation for most of their lives; they’ve lived under the equivalent of our current situation (only their past rule – the Taliban – is considered conservative…Arabic cultures are opposite ours, with their conservative being the bad side) and have lost the ability to think for themselves. They’re also very, very tribal, so there’s a problem in trying to get them to release some of that. That takes some time – think of our history with blacks – but they’re coming along.

      I agree that our victory was back in autumn/winter 2001 and early 2002. We’ve now succumbed to the feel-good mission of nation building, giving them back all of the stuff that the Russians and Taliban destroyed. That is a mission for non-government organizations and the like…not our military. But with nearly all of our top leaders having been primed under Clinton and here in DC, it’s not surprising we end up with the likes of Petraeus running the show and asking us if we’ve loved our terrorist today. I’m all for us reducing our mission in Afghanistan, but not the way it is being pandered right now. We need to keep a ready and sizable force there to smack down the next terrorist group that is going to take over; we don’t need to keep pandering to a group of people who are simply taking us for a ride. If we want to help them, then we need to keep the country stable so outside groups can safely do their work; we don’t need to have sergeant so-and-so laying asphalt.

      <> ;)

  5. GetBackJack says:

    “WINNING” in Afghanistan will be accomplished when Washington wins control over the opium fields and routes.

    Nothing less.

    All else is theatre of the absurd, paid for by the brilliant men and women of our best and brightest in uniform. How do you think parents would like to know Johnny died so Washington could secure the opium fields?

    Pat Tillman’s parents have letters from him where he despairs after figuring out he’s in Afghanistan to protect the opium fields and war-lords Washington subsidizes. Then he dies. From friendly fire.

  6. Kytross says:

    Declared victory? What exactly does that mean? What about Grenada?

    Or Vietnam? The Paris Peace accords ended that in our favor, not greatly in our favor, but in our favor back in 1973 before the watergate mess and one of our most villainous congresses betrayed southern Vietnam under Ford.

    Wars don’t always end in total destruction of our enemy’s forces, nor should they. The Spanish-American War didn’t, the Civil War didn’t, the Revolutionary War didn’t, The War of 1812 didn’t. Getting your enemy to capitulate to you is victory.

    We won in Afghanistan when we crushed the Taliban. The only reason I can conceive of to still be over there is to gather intel on terror groups to take them down. It is not in America’s interests to attempt to build a “western-style” nation over there. Paraphrasing Madison, it takes self-governed people to govern themselves.

    My apologies, my comments lack a certain level of cohesion here and I don’t have time to refine them. The point is my outrage at the government doofus’ lack of understanding that victory is achieving your goals. Our goal in Afghanastan was to get the folks behind the World Trade Center attack.

  7. Coco Q. Rico says:

    HIts home for me because most of my unit is in Afghanistan. (I am not deployable currently because of medical flag.)

    It’s time to bring everyone home; we aren’t accomplishing anything there at this point. I hate to say it but there it is.

    This website used to entertain me but frankly I am tired of people making things partisan, whether it’s libs or conservatives. It’s also easy to be preachy and self-righteous when you’re hiding behind pseudonyms. Seems like the commenters on here have made their point about Obama — he sucks, we get it. Maybe out of decency you could just treat issues like Afghanistan without plugging these issues into your pre-existing beef with the President.

    At this point our men and women can come home from Afghanistan feeling a sense of honor for what they did and the sacrifices they made. If Pres. Obama is ready to bring us closer to that moment, I’m glad.

    • TerryAnne says:

      Uh…there are quite a few of us who are still military or retired military. Maybe many of us are speaking from experience. It is not our fault you choose to have flim-flam beliefs and play in the middle. And, if you think we’re “partisan”, go play at DailyKos for a little while and then report back.

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