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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

How Obama Lost Afghanistan -- By Elise Jordan, The Daily Beast

He said it was ‘the right war.’ Then he did everything he could to screw it up.
 
Despite the violence and uncertainty surrounding this Saturday’s election for a new Afghan President, there’s one positive —Hamid Karzai, the sitting president and the architect of much of the country’s unrest, is not on the ballot this time. But while Karzai must cede power under the rules of the Afghan constitution, the other leader whose mismanagement helped tank Afghanistan abandoned his influence in what he once called “the right war” a long time ago. That leader is President Barack Obama.

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Over the last year, Karzai refused to sign a security pact setting the terms for a long-term American troop presence, leaving the decision of keeping American forces in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to the next president.  Only a month ago, Karzai told the Washington Post, “There is no war to be fought in Afghanistan. I believe that much of the conflict is a creation in which the Afghans suffer.”

Yet for all of Karzai’s failings, the Obama administration’s craven politics and unrealistic expectations hastened the decline. Immediately after Obama’s election, administration officials stressed the need for a “credible partner” in Afghanistan, ignoring the reality that Karzai would likely win even without widespread cheating. To make good on his strong campaign condemnation of the Bush administration failures in Afghanistan, Obama ordered an additional 20,000 troops, then another 30,000, almost doubling the size of the American forces in Afghanistan to nearly 100,000. Obama actually didn’t want to surge the troops—he took over three months to make the decision to do so—but feared political fallout for denying the request of the brass.The additional troops were supposed to “create the space for governance.” The strategy depended on Karzai’s potential as a leader, but Obama would not play the role of mentor and would not speak with Karzai directly. It didn’t work. Already before the contested election, Obama outsourced ‘the job against Al Qaida in Afghanistan’ to deceased Special Envoy Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, Vice-President Joe Biden, and Ambassador Karl Eikenberry. Though the commander-in-chief should delegate as much as possible, wartime relationships matter. It was a slight from which Karzai would never recover.

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