Last night President Obama lied to Americans during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention about the situation in Afghanistan, which sources tell Red Alert Politics has gotten worse under his leadership, not better.
“We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over,” Obama said.
But as a former top-ranking intelligence figure who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations told me recently, the Obama administration always puts its PR agenda first and policy second. Politics is always paramount in this administration’s foreign policy calculations, and Afghanistan has not been any exception.
The President’s blatant lie about Afghanistan serves as case in point because the administration has primarily been concerned with ending American involvement in the war in Afghanistan rather than reducing violence as happened in Iraq or being concerned about the long-term consequences of its policies.
A closer look reveals that the situation in Afghanistan has grown even more violent since Obama took office and some 2,122 young men and women, mostly under the age of 30, have been killed there since January 2009 – more than two-thirds of the total who have died in the 11-year war.
In 2008 before Obama came into office there were 295 coalition deaths compared with 324 fatalities in the first eight months of 2012 alone. Not only that, civilian casualties have also increased.
“It’s false to say that we have blunted the Taliban’s momentum when you look at the numbers that the administration is using to make the case,” said Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal. “They tell the exact opposite if we look at the level of violence.
“The Taliban leadership is still intact. Its propaganda abilities are still intact. You can’t argue that the Taliban’s momentum has been broken.”
Not only that, the Taliban’s leadership remains immune from attack hiding out in Pakistan’s major cities under Pakistani protection.
Roggio blames politics at the highest levels for this situation, which he sees tied to the failure of the troop surge – one Obama half-heartedly implemented.
“[A] full surge in the east, which the military recommended, never took place, as President Obama quickly drew down American forces,” Roggio wrote in a posting on his website earlier this week. “Far fewer resources were devoted to the southeastern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan. Consequently, the UN has documented a spike in civilian casualties of 34 percent in those provinces.”
To make matters worse there are certain areas of Afghanistan under Taliban control that are so violent that they have been labeled off-limits to American forces, let alone Afghan government troops.
“I don’t think the administration ever had an intention to see the surge through and listen to the generals,” Roggio said. “They wanted to surge and get out.”
And the administration’s weakened resolve could be behind the increase in the number of attacks by Afghan government troops against American and other coalition forces since the surge began in 2011.
In Iraq where the surge worked, it was accompanied by a gradual stabilization and decrease in overall violence.
He predicts Afghanistan will descend into total chaos when American troops are withdrawn in 2014, just as it did in the 1990s after the end of American involvement in the war against the Soviets.