Trump Makes the Right Decision on Afghanistan... and Pakistan
Immediately after Donald Trump's Afghanistan speech, Lindsey Graham -- not always the president's biggest fan -- praised the address and noted Trump was smart to leave the actual direction of day-to-day conduct of warfare to those trained to do it: the generals. He contrasted Donald with Obama, whom Graham called a "bad general."
True enough, but it's worse. Obama wasn't just a bad general or even an atrocious one. Consciously and/or unconsciously, he was on the other side.
Sound exaggerated? Then ask yourself this -- why would a man as intelligent as Barack Obama 1. telegraph his intentions and pull-out date to the enemy, 2. not keep a decent military presence in Iraq, leaving it wide open to the nascent ISIS or similar religious maniacs and 3. give so much money to the Iranian mullahs in pursuit of a chimerical nuclear deal with a result that they are now all over the Middle East, killing as many people as possible and perpetuating the endless Syrian civil war (with literally millions of refugees), while testing ICBMs for the day when that (sort of) deal expires? And that's leaving out the red line, the complete punting on North Korea, etc.
I thought this was supposed to be the smartest guy in the room. Well, if you don't like America and want to see it neutered, maybe he is.
But our media of course will not even go near this. They would rather attack Trump for whatever -- in the case of his Afghanistan speech for using it to again downplay Charlottesville. (For an example, see the tweets from NPR's oh-so-sophisticated political editor. These people are so fixated on Trump's non-existent racism, they probably wouldn't have even alter their views if half their families had been wiped out on Barcelona's La Rambla last week. It's almost a monomania with them. Two hundred hapless loser neo-Nazis with comb-overs are more of a threat than radical Islamists who have killed 1275, wounded 932, in 179 attacks in 25 countries in July 2017 alone! )
As for the specifics of the speech, I have always thought Donald Trump would end up a hawk after all, because -- much as we may like to think otherwise -- you can't make America great again without being one. I never bought the palaver coming from the alt-right and Rand Paul about having to withdraw from all or most international engagements. It's based on a theory of human nature that alas makes no sense. The world has been filled with evil since the beginning of recorded time and no doubt before. Historian Victor Davis Hanson has noted that war, not peace, is the natural human condition. Someone's got to be the sheriff to keep things under control, to actually maintain the peace. America -- of all nations -- has done by far the best job of that, historically. No one else is even close.
So, unfortunately, we're stuck with the job -- unless you can think of a good replacement. That means we have to hold down the fort in Afghanistan lest it be used once again as a staging area for international terrorism, just as it was for 9/11. They seem to have been planning that and more already. In October 2015, the U.S. military took out an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan that was an incredible thirty square miles. That's approximately half the size of Pittsburgh.
This does not, of course, mean that we have any business or should waste one minute trying to turn places like Afghanistan or Iraq into Denmark. While we can excuse ourselves for believing that dream before the Iraq War, certainly the results of the conflict -- actually about a week of it -- should have disabused us of that notion. It wasn't the first time idealism has been smashed, but that's what happens when, just as in life, political reality collides with your ideological theories. Hopefully, you learn.
Praise is also due Trump for, finally, challenging Pakistan, the nuclear-armed, semi-terror state that hid Osama bin Laden virtually in plain sight. The nefarious Pakis and their notorious intelligence service have played both sides agains the middle for too long.
With all that, questions arise about the size of Trump's commitment. No mention was made of the number of new troops in the speech, though 4,000 has been bandied about. Not many, it would seem, in the grand scheme of things. But who knows? It would be nice if such a small amount could keep things under control. If not, as Trump has said himself, it's in the hands of the generals.
WORTH NOTING: The speech was again well-crafted. Trump has some excellent writers in Stephen Miller and Michael Anton (aka Publius Decius Mus).
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His latest book is I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn't Already. He tweets @rogerlsimon.