Writing over at The Daily Beast, former NSC official Elise Jordan argues that President Obama’s Indecision 2009 is sending a bad message to the Afghans, who fear we might be abandoning them. Says Jordan:
Right now one of the most debilitating aspects of this war is the harmful message vacuum regarding American intentions in Afghanistan. The American and Afghan people share many common interests. Continued silence, however, threatens our larger objectives there as much as any verbal misstep or tragic civilian casualty. The point is this: the message that the U.S. will not abandon Afghanistan is not reaching Afghans.
It’s true, the lovely nuances of ideas like ‘credible partners’ are probably lost on the population when the airwaves are dominated by stations preaching against the “U.S. and international occupation,” as Jordan notes. That’s a pretty direct message, hard to misintepret. The message Obama seems to be sending is hesitant and political: we loved this war until we actually had to fight it!
(Now, as readers might know, I fall into the Biden-low footprint-focused counterror camp. The only thing that sending 40,000 more troops will do is ensure jobs for war correspondents for the next few years. Which is cool from a self interested perspective, but pretty lame for humanity. But Obama has muddled the decision making process so badly by making that “war of necessity” claim, then backpedaling, he’s now made it difficult for himself to go with the low-foot print plan. Consistency and straightforwardness would have helped here.)
Anyway, read the rest of Jordan’s piece–it details why we’re still getting mauled on public opinion, losing hearts and minds one day at a time.