Free Markets, Free People

Are Islamic Radicals Sensing Weakness?

It is all fine and good to have a discussion and even a debate about future strategy in Afghanistan.  But probably not 6 months after you’ve announced your former strategy.   For some reason, dithering has a tendency to be interpreted as a weakness, not a strength.  In war, weaknesses are attacked and exploited.  And that may be exactly what we’re beginning to see:

Several thousand foreign fighters have poured into Afghanistan to bolster the Taliban insurgency, the country’s defense minister said yesterday as he called for more international troops.

The remarks come as the United States debates whether to substantially increase its forces in Afghanistan or to conduct a more limited campaign focused on targeting al-Qaeda figures – most of whom are believed to be in neighboring Pakistan.

The minister’s comments hit on a key worry of the United States – that not sending enough troops to Afghanistan will open the door again to al-Qaeda. They also suggest that the Afghan government is nervous about the U.S. commitment amid talk of changing the strategy and a surge in violence in recent months.

This isn’t a Senate debate where you can take whatever time you need and if it’s not finished by the nearest recess, you put it off until you come back. Wars can’t be tabled. A war continues with or without a decision made by either side. And, in many cases in history, wars have been lost because decisions were delayed or not made in a timely manner.

The fact that foreign fighters are pouring in now has to be viewed in a particular context. You can’t snap your finger and produce “foreign fighters” in Afghanistan. They have to be recruited, transported, trained and then gotten to A’stan. So for the enemy to have these fighters showing up now would indicate, at least to me, that they have sensed some form of weakness in the American committment (and make no mistake – there is no NATO Afghanistan mission without the US) and they have been able to sell recruits on the idea that they’re about to turn everything around there and win. And note this: the Taliban won’t have any esoteric conversations about whether or not running us off is a “victory” or just “success”. They’ll trumpet to the world that they kicked our butt while they then barbarically subdue, punish and seek revenge on anyone who worked with us. They don’t care how it happens – force of arms or us just pulling out – it is still a victory. And everyone likes to be on the winning side:

“The enemy has changed. Their number has increased,” the defense minister, Gen. Abdul Rahim Wardak, told lawmakers in a speech. He said that about 4,000 fighters, mostly from Chechnya, North Africa, and Pakistan, “have joined with them and they are involved in the fighting in Afghanistan.”

The longer the administration continues to dither, the easier it is for the radicals to sell their cause and claim the indecision by the administration indicates that, as they’ve always said, the US hasn’t the political will to finish much of anything that extends over a year or two.  Bush would actually be seen as the exception.

Unless and until a decision is made and made rather quickly, recruiting should be good for the radicals.

And of course, good recruiting for them means more losses among our troops. Sure we usually have a high ratio of Taliban kills to every soldier we lose, but that’s not the point. The point is indecision emboldens the enemy and that ends up killing our soldiers.

There is absolutely no reason that a decision could not be reached within a week or two. One of President Obama’s primary jobs is that Commander in Chief. It’s time he started acting like one.



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10 Responses to Are Islamic Radicals Sensing Weakness?

  • I made this comment when McChrystal first went public with it position on the war. That Obama would interpret that as McChrystal trying to force his hand. And Obama being a control freak, won’t be told what to do.

    The result is that Obama may believe more troops are the correct thing, but he’ll refuse to do it out of spite. At least long enough to make it appear it wasn’t at McChrystal’s urging.

    I appreciate what McChrystal was trying to do, but I don’t think he took into account that the Media wasn’t going to press Obama on McChrystal’s advice despite the past mantra of ‘not listening to the generals’. I also believe the didn’t take into account Obama’s ego overriding what is best for the war effort.

  • smart diplomacy. That peace prize sure does the trick.

  • I just, for the life of me, cannot understand why anyone – either a friend or an enemy of the United States – would think us to have become a weak country. After all, our fine, wonderful, upstanding President has just won the Nobel Peace Prize, mainly because of all of the wonderful work he has done to bring diplomacy back to the world after eight years of George W. Bush. And all in just nine short months in office.

    For instance, our shiny happy President got the Olympics awarded to Chicago after he thrilled the IOC Committee! Er, okay, no Olympics…but, he did bring peace to the Middle East when he brokered that landmark peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians…

    Uh, wait. Sorry. No peace deal was done between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Yeah, but our President did end the threat of North Korea, and they stopped firing missiles into the ocean, right?

    What? No deal to end the North Korea threat? And they launched missiles today?

    Whoa. Hey – what about ending Iran’s threat to build a nuclear weapon, all without any sanctions? What? No deal with Iran? No sanctions?

    Okay, but maybe scrapping the missile deal in eastern Europe will get Russia to agree to sanctions on Iran, right?

    Hold on…no Russian agreement to agree to sanctions?

    Didn’t Obama end the problems with Cuba, and Venezuela? And he brought al-Qa’ida to justice? And he ended the war in Afghanistan? He brought the troops home from Iraq? Right? Tell me I am right, okay?

    What? He has done none of these things?


  • “Geir Lundestad, secretary of the secretive committee that awards the prize, outlines for The Associated Press some of the most common misunderstandings:…
    Myth: The prize is awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful.
    More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.”

    Apparently the only criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize is to fool people into thinking your working for peace, even if you have no evidence to back up your claim. This explains Arafat and Gore as well.

  • James,

    Some “allies” of the US (or portions of their population) simply delight in seeing us knocked down a peg or two. They are not thinking through the consequences.

  • Troops? We doan need no estinkin troops! We got Soft Power!

  • Obama should just fire all of his advisers/czars and consult a quarter when a decision has to be made. It would drastically improve his chances of making the right decision and save a few tax payer dollars in the process.

    • But then he would have to figure out how better to redistribute the tax wealth of this country if he doesn’t have an entourage of czars that he has to pay.

  • So we are still lost. will we ever learn from history?

  • Maybe TOTUS is just sucking them in so we can surge on them and kill more of them. That’d really sting, sucked into the killing zone in Iraq, then in Afghanistan.

    I realize I’m more likely to win the lottery, but a guy can dream, and even blind squirrels get the occasional acorn. No pun intended.