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Incompetence and political games

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By John Barnhart


    I voted for John McCain back in 2008 because I had Barack Obama pegged as a left-wing ideologue who lacked the experience necessary to be president of the United Sates. As he reaches the end of his first (and hopefully last) term, I can say that he has met my expectations. Actually, he has exceeded my expectations. When it comes to foreign policy, his performance goes beyond a leader who is in over his head. It’s been an appalling combination of incompetence and political game-playing.
    One case was his troop surge in Afghanistan. He was on the right track to fixing the mess—that Bush the Younger created when he left an unfinished job there to fester while he invaded Iraq—when he announced a troop surge in late 2009. Unfortunately he did this in a way that blunted its effectiveness.
    In the first place, the number of troops in the surge should have been two or three times larger than the 30,000 he actually sent. Our generals wanted more, but he ignored them.
    Then, he publicly announced a timetable for withdrawing these troops before the first soldier arrived. This was done in an effort to pander to his party’s extreme left which opposes any military action there at all.
    Now, developing a scenario for withdrawing combat troops from Afghanistan, before they went in, is a good idea. Handing off the situation to Afghan security forces as soon as practical should be the ultimate goal. But announcing a timetable in public was stupid. What he did was tell the Taliban, an enemy that’s good at patient persistence if nothing else, how long they would have to hang in there before we would be gone. It told them that they would be able to outlast us. It also told Hamid Karzai that we intend to cut and run, no matter what, at a specific date. Karzai has been hedging his bets in an effort to protect himself and this is why he’s been such a problem for us.
    Actually, politically motivated loose lips seem to be a hallmark of the Obama administration. One instance was after Navy SEALs got Osama Bin Ladin. In an apparent effort to try to show what a great war leader our Community Organizer in Chief is, Obama administration officials released some information that should have remained classified. This spoiled the value of any intelligence that was released because it let the boys from Al Qaeda know what we found. It also got a Pakistani doctor, who played a key role in helping us find Bin Laden’s safe house, locked up in prison for 33 years. I bet this is going to make it a lot harder for our spies to get foreigners to work with us in the future.
    Recently there has been a new avalanche of leaks of such a magnitude that even Congressional “Democrats” are upset. Peggy Noonan, who writes a weekly column for the Wall Street Journal, offered her opinion that the source of the leaking sits in the Oval Office. That is, the leaks are being authorized at top levels of the Obama administration. Her logic is to consider who would benefit from leaks that portray President Obama as having something that many of us suspect he doesn’t have when it comes to hostile foreign entities. The beneficiary would be Barack Obama’s reelection chances.
    This, of course, wouldn’t be illegal. The president and certain top administration officials do have the authority to declassify secret material, so it wouldn’t be a criminal action if they chose to release classified information to the public. This, however, does not mean that allowing this information to be leaked is a good idea. Passing your battle plans to the enemy during a war is never a good idea, unless they aren’t your real battle plans and it’s part of a disinformation campaign to fool him.
    I doubt these leaks are part of a disinformation campaign. I think Noonan is absolutely right. They are part of President Obama’s reelection campaign. A willingness to play political games with national security fits perfectly with Barack Obama’s apparent disdain for America and America’s security.
    This is one more reason why we need to vote to retire this guy in November.