Unfortunately, Mr. Obama doesn't understand his job. He leads the executive branch, which means his job is to collect information, analyze it and act. He failed to fulfill any of those duties. If he did, he would have ordered the instant withdrawal of all US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.
Why? Because those are the longest wars in US history, which obviously means we are doing something wrong. If we can figure out what we are doing wrong, we are supposed to stop it.
As president, Mr. Obama is exclusively entitled to order the withdrawal of US troops home. He doesn't need any approval stamp from Congress.
What about argument that the US Congress is overwhelmingly against such an action? Waging a bloody war implies a willingness to sacrifice by everybody. Mr. Obama should state that if Congress were capable to increase taxes and balance the budget during the conflict, he would be willing to sign such a bill and reverse his decision. But as a president, Mr. Obama is supposed to make a call based upon specific actions, not empty words.
What about the argument that such a move would make the Democrats lose elections? As you remember, when Mr. Obama was sworn in to the office, he was obliged to protect the country, not his party.
What about the argument that it would prevent him from being re-elected? Again, he was sworn to protect the country, not to protect his re-election chances.
What if the majority of the Americans were against the withdrawal? Again, the president is obliged to do what is in the best interest of the people, not what they would like. As you know, 90 percent of the Americans liked launching the Iraq War. Now the same percentage is against it. It means the president's job is to understand what is in the people's best long-term interest and ignore their emotional swings. The same scenario happened with the chronic budget deficits. The people liked them. Only three decades later, they understood it was very harmful to them. Free trade, illegal immigration, export of US jobs overseas, trade deficits—exactly the same problem.
What about the notion that an instant withdrawal would betray our allies? The fact that we made a wrong decision doesn't oblige us to stick to it forever. If those countries were our real allies, they should understand this simple concept.
What about the argument that the withdrawal would destabilize the whole Middle East? If any country truly believes it, they should feel free to deploy their own troops and protect the region. American taxpayers have wasted too much of own money during the last nine years. They are in a dire economic position and have a completely different set of priorities right now.
Would this withdrawal betray our troops who bravely served in those wars for nine years? Actually, this policy is primarily designed to protect them. The troops and their families were the only Americans who truly sacrificed during those wars. Those wars have been cruelly grinding them, both physically and mentally, all this time. That's why there are about 200 suicide attempts just among the Marines every year. They cannot take it any longer. The repetitive deployments and enormous stress have taken their toll.
The best way to protect our troops is by keeping them out of bloody wars, not by deploying them in seemingly endless conflicts. That's how a good president would lead the country.
Sep 16 2010 - 6:54am