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Iraq and Afghanistan in Turmoi

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 3, 2014

It has been a dozen years since the 9/11 attack by Islamic terrorists on the United States.  That attack ultimately led to US invasions of Afghanistan and later Iraq.  History will judge the results of these wars with mixed results.

Most Americans supported the invasion of Afghanistan who harbored the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attacks and refused to expel them.  The initial war effort under the Bush Administration was brilliant.  With a relatively small number of American special forces and using indigenous forces, the Taliban were relatively quickly and painlessly routed from power.

After the overthrow of the Taliban America’s strategic goals in Afghanistan became muddled.  The Bush administration properly determined that winning a war in that country was not feasible and therefore went on a holding action while it focused on Iraq.

The inauguration of Barack Obama offered the United States a choice on Afghanistan.  After approximately a year of dithering Obama decided on Afghan surge, but added with a definitive pullout date for American troops.  This was a strategy doomed for failure.  The Afghans have been fighting foreign invaders for centuries.  Informing them that all they had to do was hold out a few years was but an invitation for their ultimate victory.

A CNN poll released last month shows the low level of American support for the war in Afghanistan.  That support is now below 20% of those polled, down from 52% at the time of Obama’s first election.

President Obama campaigned for his first term with the promise of ending the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq.  The fact that Americans are still dying in Afghanistan five years later is but one of another of his broken promise.  The reality that the Taliban are likely to regain power once we leave demonstrates a wasted effort and the loss of American treasure.

The outcome of America’s efforts in Iraq is faring no better.  The last American troops departed Iraq in late 2011.  Since then the country has gone from relative stability to fracturing.  The New York Times reported that radical Sunnis aligned with Al Qaeda are successfully gaining control in Falluja and Ramadi.  These two areas were pacified by American troops with great sacrifice during President Bush’s surge.  The Times has reported that Iraqi civilian casualties are approaching a five-year high.

The sole responsibility for America’s involvement in Iraq rests with President George W. Bush.  However, Barack Obama has been president for over five years and must now bear partial responsibility for the deteriorating situation there and in the greater Middle East.

  • President Obama’s decision to back the ouster of Libyan dictator Qaddafi has resulted in that country devolving into chaos.
  • The current Syrian Civil War may have been averted had Obama backed the Democratic protesters during the first few months of the unrest.  This Syrian conflict is now spilling over into Lebanon.
  • The ongoing Egyptian turmoil has not benefited from Obama’s decision to throw its previous dictator, Mubarak, under the bus.

Add to the above the US’s fracturing relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran’s continued March to nuclear weapons and a story unfolds of a pitifully inept and dangerous foreign policy on the part of Barrack Obama.


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