Gaaaa, I hate to link to Huff-Crap, but how can I not link to this…
Like many Progressives I would have preferred a faster time table for withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. But that does not diminish the fact that President Obama’s announcement of his plan to end the Afghan War provides a good opportunity to consider that massive qualitative differences between his foreign policy and that of the previous administration.
First and foremost, George Bush and his Neocon allies got America into two costly wars. Barack Obama is getting America out of those two wars.
When Obama took office the United States had 180,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We now have 150,000 troops in those countries. By the end of the year that number will drop to 100,000 and to 70,000 by next summer.
The combat mission in Iraq ended last year. All troops will leave Iraq by the end of next year.
Obama has indicated that all American troops will depart Afghanistan by 2014, with the prospect that their combat mission will end before that date.
Obama promised to focus like a laser on Al Qaeda, and he did it.
Instead of concentrating on America’s true terrorist enemies, Bush and company focused on Iraq and downplayed the importance of Bin Laden — who it now turns out was still very much in charge of the Al Qaeda network up to the time of his death.
And let’s remember that the swaggering but hapless Bush Neocon crowd presided over the worst attack on the American homeland since Pearl Harbor — ignoring intelligence warnings of a pending assault.
Finally, Bush’s unilateralist, bull-in-a-china -shop approach, sunk America’s reputation in the world to record lows. Obama has restored America’s standing in the world.
Some have argued that U.S. support of military intervention in Libya stands in contradiction to the view that his foreign policy is qualitatively different from the policies of the past administration. I could not disagree more.
In fact, the approach we have taken to Libya is an example of that difference. In Libya, the United States is a part of a true multi-national effort to protect the Libyan population from a leader that had vowed to kill thousands. That action was called for by the international community through UN resolutions — and by the Arab League.
We have no troops on the ground and now provide only logistical support for airplanes flown by our allies.
It is hard to imagine that anyone who demands — quite correctly — that the world should never again stand by and allow another Darfur or Rwanda or Srebrenica should oppose Obama’s policy in Libya. U.S. policy in Libya does not stand in the tradition of Iraq. It stands in the tradition of the successful multi-national policy in the Balkans that ultimately (though belatedly) saved thousands of lives and ended a bloody ethnic war.
I, for one, am proud that Benghazi did not become Barack Obama’s Rwanda.
When he ran for President, Obama promised to end the War in Iraq, refocus America’s resources on Al Qaeda, bring the conflict in Afghanistan to a close, and restore America’s role in the world. He is keeping those promises.
In summary, whatever you believe about the pace of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, it is critical that Americans recognize the sharp, qualitative difference between the Neocon policies that cost America so dearly and President Obama’s policies that have restored America’s leadership in the world.