President Obama’s Back to the Future Surge Strategy

President Obama’s recently announced plans for a troop surge of 30,000 service members to Afghanistan echoes former President Bush’s 2006 troop surge to Iraq.

Bush decided on a surge at a time when he faced great public outcry, was demonized in much U.S. media, and was shrilly opposed by many members of the U.S. Congress (including, ironically, Senator Obama) who argued that in pursuing it, the U.S. was not fighting a determined and dangerous enemy but in fact meddling in the internal affairs of another country. Americans, the argument went, should not be sacrificed because of an Iraqi “civil war.” The President’s critics all-too-often refused to consider the bigger picture, including the claims by those on the front lines in Iraq that a corrupt and power-mad mullah-ocracy in Iran were the true meddlers. These voices of moderation maintained that if the U.S. allowed it, the entire region would fall to Iran and its terrorist allies, and innumerable lives would be lost in a genocidal bloodbath, along with any hope for human rights and democracy in the region.

Now President Obama finds himself at a similar crossroads to that faced by President Bush. Because of his greater international popularity, he does not face the same level of revilement, but voices on the left have begun to condemn him for the surge strategy. The effects of this policy are yet to be determined. But it is worth remembering that many voices on the left were raised vocally in protest of the brutality of the Taliban – especially its exceptional brutality towards women – during the 1990’s.

It is interesting to ponder whether any offense against liberal values and innocent people could persuade the hard left in Western democracies that military intervention is in order, especially when all other means of countering aggression and abuses fail. The position of many leftists seems to have evolved into an angry isolationism that, while it allows for vocal condemnation of human rights abuses, stops short of accepting any action that has a chance of actually addressing those abuses, if the action involves the military.

President Obama seems to be coming up to speed on the realities of America’s responsibility to exercise power in a world that, thanks to a generally ineffectual and often misguided United Nations, is otherwise at a loss to defend innocent life or liberal values.

This entry was written by and posted on December 6, 2009 at 8:18 pm and filed under Blog. permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post. Keywords: , , . Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL. */?>