President Obama has frequently tried to differentiate between himself and President George W. Bush by taking credit for Afghanistan but linking the war in Iraq to Bush. In plain speech he’s described the war in Afghanistan as necessary while calling the war in Iraq a “dumb war.” Congruently, he pulled our troops out of Iraq as soon as he could after becoming President, but added troops to Afghanistan before starting a pullout there as well.
Iraq was Bush’s war, and like it or not, Afghanistan became Obama’s. And that’s where things seem to fall apart.
As CNSnews recently reported, of the 1,912 U.S. deaths in Afghanistan during our eleven years there, 1,343 of the deaths took place on Obama’s watch. Or to put it another way, during the seven years in which our troops were in Afghanistan under President Bush, we lost 569 military personnel. In half that time under Obama, we’ve lost more than twice as many troops as we lost under Bush.
In short, this means 70% of our military deaths in Afghanistan have taken place with Obama in office.
Some say the Tehran Times was right in labeling Afghanistan as Obama’s “dumb war.” I’m not ready to take that step. But I am ready to say we need a strategy for winning that includes allowing our troops to use every weapon at their disposal to secure victory.
If we’re not fighting to win, why are we fighting?