Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Obama

Published on October 25, 2008 by

My friend Spencer Ellsworth thinks conservatives should vote for Obama because he will focus on hunting Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, without the distraction of the Iraq war.

Spencer’s right when he says that Al-Qaeda is the biggest terrorist threat to our country.  But I think he’s wrong about the effect of electing Obama.

Ever since we abandoned Vietnam, our enemies have believed that they do not have to achieve victory on the battlefield — as long as they can kill enough Americans and drag the war out for long enough, they believe America will eventually give up and go home.

That was the strategy being pursued by Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and until the success of the surge, they had a realistic chance of achieving it.

Unfortunately, even before the surge, Senator Obama’s position on Iraq was that too many Americans were being killed and the war was dragging on for too long, so we should give up and go home — giving Al-Qaeda in Iraq exactly what it wanted.  And by refusing to admit that his opposition to the surge was wrong, he only reinforces his willingness to lose the Iraq war.

Given that Obama appears willing to abandon a war if enough American troops are killed and if the war is dragged out, Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan will obviously believe that such a strategy will work against him.  And our current and potential allies at the tribal level will be less likely to believe we will stay to finish the job, which only makes the job harder.

Considering the fact that Obama’s political base is not unified in support of the war in Afghanistan, it is difficult to believe that as President, Obama would not abandon the war in the face of mounting casualties and lack of progress over the course of the next few years.  And losing the war in Afghanistan would only reinforce the lesson our enemies learned from Vietnam.

So if you believe, as I do, that we must not lose in Afghanistan, then voting for Obama is far too risky a choice.

Filed under: General

2 comments on “Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Obama”

  1. I concur. Then again, I’ve posted my own objections to an Obama presidency on my blog, so I would naturally agree with you. Best,

  2. James Maxey says:

    Well, at least some one is learning some lessons from American wars. It sure doesn’t seem to be us.

    One could argue that a lesson of Vietnam that we should have learned was that we shouldn’t invade countries without a clear understanding what, precisely, victory would entail. We assumed that our superior abilities on the battlefields would ensure that we could bring peace and stability to these countries.

    I’m voting for Bob Barr, not Obama, but if retreat and defeat leaves us less willing and able to invade foreign countries that pose no direct threat to us, I’ll count that as a good thing. Not even the Bush administration still argues that their reasons for going to war were right–there were no nukes, there were no biological weapons, there were no chemical weapons. I admire and respect that they didn’t fabricate evidence to the contrary. Still, that means we’ve caused the deaths of about 100,000 people who posed us no threat. Given that our moral justification of destroying Saddam’s WMD was utterly ungrounded in facts, it’s difficult to see how we can ever count Iraq as a victory, even if we leave troops there for the next fifty years.