First Published Sunday October 28th 2012
By The Two Malcontents
There’s a lot of bold talk these days from an administration that would have the American electorate believe that their champion is a warrior king rather than the amateur martial dilettante he has proven to be.
Through three debates (and about three straight years of near continuous re-election campaigning), President Obama has claimed dubious credit for several overseas endeavors now hawked as campaign memes:
Killing Bin laden
Ending the Iraq War
Almost Ending the Afghanistan War
A Strategic Military Shift to the Pacific (to Counter China)
Let’s look at the bedraggled feathers actually resident in his cap:
Killing Osama Bin Laden:
Taking credit for this allegedly “tough” decision was like taking credit for the wind blowing, the sun rising, or the incoming tide. Any 22-year old Army Second Lieutenant could have made the decision to hit that sonafabitch. It is instructive to note that the raiding force had time enough to build a full scale target replica used to rehearse the Bin Laden mission. That took a bit of time to construct. That is significant because it infers that the administration knew where Bin Laden was for some period of time and spent many weeks considering its options. Options that were driven by anticipated political advantage.
In other words, how best to make the White House look good and how to massage the event for political advantage during a re-election bid. President Obama realized that if he failed to take the shot, he’d lose the next election when some vindictive insider inevitably exposed any perfidy or dithering. In other words…HE HAD TO ORDER THE RAID. There was no other politically feasible choice. Tough decision my ass. Failure to take out Bin Laden would have been political suicide. Pakistan? Pakistan was never going to do any more than squawk about their sovereignty (and only temporarily cut off our Afghan supply convoys). The administration didn’t know how to effectively bring Islamabad to heel. The Pakis probably got an apology letter instead of a well deserved threat. Instead, we paid them off. Chicago style.
The White House directed that the recovered cadaver of our greatest nemesis be disposed of at sea (rendered appropriate religious honors and within the traditional 24 hours observed by the followers of Islam). Teddy Roosevelt would have had Osama Bin Laden’s body stuffed and publicly displayed in the Capitol Rotunda.
“Look Ma! I got Bin Laden!” No. You didn’t. USSOCOM assets got Bin Laden. You just signed an order. You authorized a bunch of professionals to go do something that had been planned for over nine years. You “got” Bin laden the same way an NFL team owner “wins” the Super Bowl…from the air conditioned comfort of his VIP stadium box.
In fact, the US military had the 9/11 mastermind at the top of a long-standing target list and maintained a ready force on instant availability for the inevitable opportunity. The question was never “if”…only “when”. It was part of your job description to approve the mission. What the hell do you think we pay you for?
Spiking the Ball ad nauseum whilst campaigning? FAIL.
Ending the War in Iraq:
The withdrawal from Iraq was a pre-planned exercise, an auto-pilot legacy of the previous administration’s successful war plan. All that remained to be done was to determine the residual American presence in a strategic landscape, conquered by force of American arms, paid for in American blood, and ordained as a strategic lily pad for US power projection in the region. Somehow, the president managed to screw that up.
Everything we ever hoped to accomplish in Iraq was pissed away so that the president could say: “I got us out of Iraq.” Almost nine years of toil, sweat, blood, and treasure were thrown away for political expediency. Today, we have no serious presence in Iraq. We didn’t keep a credible military force in that land to ensure that a nascent democracy could survive. By the way…it hasn’t.
President Obama failed to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) which would have kept residual U.S. forces in Iraq (always the plan). Because of that failure, Iraq is now ruled by an Iranian proxy Shiite dictatorship, other nations are pumping Iraqi oil, other nations are profiting from military sales to Iraq’s emergent military machine, Iraq’s Sunni & Kurdish minorities are openly persecuted, and we have no way to control Iraqi air space or territory. That’s OK. The Iranians are taking full advantage of our folly. They are now able to move arms and troops, unimpeded, across Iraqi territory. As a result of our precipitate and total departure, they are able to directly reinforce their bloody Syrian regime allies…as well as their massive and homicidal proxy army in Lebanon.
Thanks to the Obama administration’s deliberately feigned SOFA “negotiations” with the new Iraqi government, Iraq is now run by the two-bit Shiite dictator Nouri al-Maliki, replacing the two bit Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein that America removed by force of arms. America conveniently disposed of Iran’s most dangerous enemy (Saddam Hussein) in 2003. President Obama then abandoned Iraq in near totality during 2011, allowing Tehran to extend a militarily Shia crescent from Iran, through Iraq, and on into Syria and Lebanon. Great. Thanks to this administration, the Iranians have achieved strategic victory in Iraq. They benefit from a de-fanged former mortal enemy and a now convenient land bridge to Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and the Mediterranean coast. All achieved at little cost to themselves. Obama chose a campaign theme (I “ended” the Iraq war) over Realpolitik.
The Iranians have a thrill up their legs that would probably cause Chris Matthews to faint. FAIL.
President Obama has decided to abandon the effort in Afghanistan after implementing a bewildering nightmare of changing strategies, leaders, tactical constraints, and troop levels. After giving the US military fewer troops than they needed to get the job done, he has announced that we aren’t actually going to win. Vietnam redux.
In deference to ostensible Afghan sensitivities, he allowed our own rules of engagement to tie the hands of our troops, aiding the enemy’s aims, while placing our kids at risk. Later he bowed to demands by Afghan president Karzai to limit one of the few military success stories our forces employed. So-called Special Operations “Night Raids” (identical to the highly successful program which devastated Iraqi insurgent groups) were looked upon unfavorably by Taliban groups, who complained to Karzai. You know you are having effect when your enemy squeals. Finally Obama simply told the world (to include the enemy) that we would be leaving in 2014. Great Plan. Our enemy is now motivated to wait us out…all the while increasing their attacks…secure in the knowledge that they get to win. The game is fixed in their favor and they know it. Meanwhile, our allies have thrown in the towel; most have announced earlier departures than ours. President Obama continues to hit the campaign trail while bragging that he is going to end the war in Afghanistan.
Here’s a free catch phrase from President Nixon: “Peace With Honor.” FAIL.
Decimating Al-Qaeda and the Benghazi Lies:
Like many Americans, we watched as the tragic debacle at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya unfolded.
On the anniversary of 9/11, our consulate (diplomatic mission?, CIA safe house?) in Libya was sacked and burned and our Ambassador and several other Americans were killed. Additionally, several of our regional embassies were stormed by violent mobs and the flag of Al-Qaeda planted on sovereign U.S. territory. The President and his winged monkeys blamed the event on a “spontaneous protest” in reaction to an obscure video that almost no one on planet Earth has actually ever seen. So went the tale, and we watched the president’s lips spin that tale in a Rose Garden news briefing the next day. We watched the American UN Ambassador doing the stations of the cross as she parroted the same party line on FIVE Sunday morning Talk News Shows. We listened to the Secretary of State lay out the same explanation. We watched the president hit the campaign fund raising trail before the smoke had cleared in Benghazi.
We listened to a phalanx of administration point men, shills, tame journalists, and sycophants repeat the mantra over and over…for weeks. We listened to them claim that they were operating on partial information generated in “the fog of war” (after they finally admitted that there was no protest and that the event was a premeditated terrorist attack).
Unfortunately, just about anyone with cognitive skills surpassing those of a hamster could see that the party line was utter bullshit within 24 hours of the original event. The administration’s weeks-long fabricated story fell apart (and continues to do so). The administration has executed a cover-up whose magnitude makes the lying about Watergate and Iran-Contra pale in comparison. What transpired in Libya was nothing less than our enemies punching us right in the mouth… as the highest echelons of our national defense, intelligence, and national command authority watched events happen in real-time video…and failed to decisively react.
Let’s call it what it was (is): A clusterfuck. This event effectively silhouettes the craven political aspirations of the current president. We are viewing an administration whose raison d’etre is mere perpetuation of its electability. The hard reality of a resurgent terrorist enemy conflicted with the spike-the-ball election campaign narrative espoused by the president. Admission that a defeated enemy wasn’t really defeated was deemed an embarrassment. Admission that Islamic fascists regard the president’s kindler gentler foreign policy as weakness…simply would not poll well during campaign and debate season. Thus, the president and his minions have propagated The Big Lie and engaged in blatant and weekly revisionist history. Unfortunately (for them), most Americans have heard more coherent fabrications from six-year olds.
On a side note: During the finger pointing over the loss of our Ambassador to Libya, some Democrats have tried to cast blame across the political aisle, blaming Republicans for cutting Department of State security budget requests from a year or so ago. What they fail to mention is that Republican lawmakers rightly quashed a preposterous request for about six billion dollars to fund the continued stationing of up to 16,000 employees, diplomats, and security forces at our Baghdad Embassy.
Did it ever occur to the circus clowns comprising our administration that…IF YOU REQUIRE A REINFORCED BRIGADE’S WORTH OF CONTRACTED SECURITY TO PERMANENTLY SECURE ONE FUCKING EMBASSY…you have failed to secure the peace in a US conquered land? That you have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and pissed away nine years of heroic effort? That you quit and went home early in order to claim credit for “ending” the war? The War was already won. You lost the Peace Mr. President.
On the subject of “Decimating Al-Qaeda”, the administration has adopted a See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil approach to the war they really don’t want to fight. Of course, they still refuse to call it by its original label: “The Global War on Terror”. They’d prefer everything be viewed through a prism of criminal investigation and judicial review. Our enemies are mere “criminals” to be prosecuted and “brought to justice”. We won’t fight them, confront their ideology, or force them to surrender. We’ll arrest them instead…if we don’t vaporize them first.
Unfortunately, this administration, much like an earlier Clinton edition, is addicted like a crack whore to the idea of armed drone strikes. It’s a cheap, antiseptic, and risk free form of attrition warfare using remote vehicles. There are fewer pesky body bags returning home and fewer anti-war protestors likely in the streets of America. Obama must feel like Zeus hurling thunderbolts. Or maybe he feels like LBJ, squinting at his little model of North Vietnam and personally approving the individual air strikes of that conflict.
The president has adopted the “Kill Our Way to Victory” strategy disdained by our very successful Special Operations Forces in Iraq. By placing a priority on killing terrorists from the air, we lose the ability to actually dissemble their organization. You can’t conduct very effective intelligence exploitation of body parts. But pretend generals love the idea. It means fewer enemy (scratch that…I meant criminals) that need to be guarded at Guantanamo or hosted in some other nation’s special rendition facility. And the pretend warriors of Chicago seem to have adopted drone warfare in a manner which would have made Robert S. McNamara proud.
By prosecuting a high tech game of Whack-A-Mole, the president can claim that his plinking of third world jihadists constitutes “decimation” and military success. At least until Al-Qaeda responds in kind by conducting complex attacks against our embassies.
Don’t piss on our backs and tell us it’s raining. FAIL.
China, Our Pacific Strategy, a Shrinking Navy, and Obsolete Bayonets:
During the last debate, the President admonished Governor Romney regarding our nation’s naval strength (and Romney’s vow to maintain it). It was as painful to watch as a virgin expounding upon sex. President Obama is not necessarily to blame for the fact that both the U.S. Navy and Air Force have unaffordable procurement appetites. Capital ships now cost billions a copy and fighter aircraft can cost 150+ million dollars apiece. However, he is to blame for not understanding military force ratios, the limits of technology, geopolitical history, and the ramifications of subordinating guns in favor of butter.
President Obama wouldn’t know an Aegis Cruiser from a tugboat. He probably thinks of them in terms of how much social welfare funding he can divert to constituents by retiring a few ships. It’s doubtful he has read Mahan or Clausewitz. The President is a classic domestic politician…not a foreign policy theorist.
A man who calls Navy Combat Medics “Corpsemen” has little business expounding upon the obsolescence of bayonets and horses. He has even less business allowing our fleet’s size to wither below a strategically prudent threshold. Certain partisan lobby groups and advisers have convinced him that he can defend the nation cheaply with fewer new ships and planes. Obama is not a visionary advocate for technological superiority in military affairs. He is a man looking for massive redistribution of the Department of Defense’s budget. He has a lot of programs to pay for and but one obvious piggy bank to raid.
The United States of America is a maritime trading empire. We maintain our dominant economic position by militarily controlling the seas (which requires our concurrent command of air and space).
Centuries ago, another preeminent maritime trading empire underestimated the competition. They parsed on defense (to include their navy) and lost an eventual naval conflict with an emergent adversary…Rome. At the conclusion of the Punic Wars, Roman armies tore down the very foundations of the Carthaginian capitol. Carthage vanished forever. We are not the Roman Empire. We are Carthage. President Obama does not understand that.
The president’s announcement of a shift to a Pacific military strategy (vis-à-vis China) is reactionary. We are as much a Pacific Power as any nation bordering that ocean. Our trade lifelines traverse those waters. Our allies populate Pacific regions. Our military strategists recommend shifting visible muscle to that theater in order to counter growing Chinese economic dominance and military expansion. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line, the tiny front line air and naval fleets we reap from the Obama years will be unable to do the job. Numbers matter in the vastness of the Pacific. You’d think the president might have read a little about WWII when he lived in Hawaii.
As Joseph Stalin was reputed to have said: “Quantity has a quality all its own.” A shrinking military to pay for social welfare programs is a dumb idea. FAIL.
President Obama imagined a paradigm shift in America’s foreign relations upon his self-styled ascension to the throne. He imagined that he could cajole, apologize, and empathize his way through a morass of historical Gordian knots. Thus far, his foreign policy has accomplished little beyond emboldening our enemies and alarming our allies.
The Islamic crescent from the Middle East to North Africa lies in disarray or flames, Russia is resurgent, China views us as marks, Latin America and Africa continue to elude us as either major markets or major allies, and our traditional friends are unsure of both our intentions and reliability. The African Trans-Sahel faces growing threat from Islamic extremist movements, Iran is close to having nuclear arms, Syria is a bloodbath, Lebanon and Jordan may be next, and Israel is not feeling much U.S. love these days. Our neighbor Mexico is on the verge of becoming a failed narco-state, our nation is inundated with millions of illegal invaders, and several of our allies are contemplating acquiring nuclear weapons in order to make up for our perceived lack of resolve. The world is on the brink of several wider wars, our trade is in the crapper, and our dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is a problematic assumption. We have given away Iraq and are about to lose Afghanistan.
Meanwhile a Chicago Redistributionist Lawyer helms the ship of state and asks us to re-elect him…at least partially on the basis of his foreign policy record.
© The Two Malcontents