The Washington Times on January 16, 2013, in a commentary by Michael Taube said it’s hardly a surprise that President Obama wants to get U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. It is, however, rather shocking to find out the timetable for a withdrawal has been moved up at a blistering pace. Excerpts below:
According to the Wall Street Journal, Mr. Obama is planning to “speed up troop withdrawals from Afghanistan.” This shift from a combat to a support mission could reportedly occur as early as mid-2013. It remains to be seen whether the United States will either maintain a small military presence after 2014, or shift to a “zero-option” with no troops whatsoever.
If a much earlier-than-expected troop withdrawal from Afghanistan comes to fruition, Mr. Obama could be taking a huge risk.
First, he would be leaving Afghanistan long before the job is done. Certainly, the United States has been in that country for 12 years, and the lives of many brave young men and women in uniform have been lost.
Second, Mr. Obama would be leaving a volatile part of the world vulnerable to possible attacks from rival groups, tribes and political opponents to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. If the United States ultimately chooses a zero-option, it could embolden extremists and radical groups to make a real push for supreme power.
Then again, should anyone really be surprised by Mr. Obama’s naivete when it comes to maintaining wars and defending democracy? Since he was elected in 2008, he has been fighting what basically amounts to a nonwar against terrorism
Meanwhile, Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to be concerned about the growing threat of radical Islam in Europe and elsewhere.
This is a far cry from America’s once-important role in defending democracy, liberty and freedom. Before Mr. Obama arrived on the scene, most Republican and Democratic presidents recognized that the United States needed to keep its citizens safe and its borders secure at all costs. Diverse leaders such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also understood that working with and protecting other Western democracies was just as important to help maintain and preserve American values.
There is a steadily growing push toward isolation (Comment: by Democrats in the United States). People are more worried about domestic issues such as taxes and the economy, and are less concerned about foreign policy and tensions in other countries.
Sadly, it’s just not that simple. Economic matters are extremely important, but the safety and security of the United States — and of all liberal democratic societies — must always remain a top priority.
Michael Taube is a former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a columnist with The Washington Times.