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Patrick Buchanan
Pat Buchanan
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Obama's War?


"We have to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in," says Barack Obama of the U.S. war in Iraq. Wise counsel.

But is Barack taking his own advice? For he pledges to shift two U.S. combat brigades, 10,000 troops, out of Iraq and into Afghanistan, raising American forces in that country from 33,000 to 43,000.

Why does Barack think a surge of 10,000 troops will succeed in winning a war in which we have failed to prevail after seven years of fighting? How many more troops is he prepared to commit? Is the Obama commitment open-ended?

For, without any visible strategy for victory, Barack is recommending the same course LBJ took after the death of JFK. Johnson bombed North Vietnam in 1964, landed Marines in 1965 and built U.S. forces from 16,000 advisers on Nov. 22, 1963, to 525,000 troops in January of 1969.

Gradual escalation, which is exactly what Barack is recommending.

LBJ never thought through to the end game: how to break Hanoi, withdraw and leave a South peaceful, prosperous and pro-American.

Has Barack thought his way through to how this war ends in victory and we withdraw all U.S. ground troops from Afghanistan? For this writer cannot see anywhere on the horizon any such ending.

If the old rule applies — the guerrilla wins if he does not lose — the United States, about to enter its eighth year of combat, is losing. And, using the old 10-to-one ratio of regular troops needed to defeat guerrillas, if the Taliban can recruit 1,000 new fighters, they can see Obama's two-brigade bet, and raise him. Just as Uncle Ho raised LBJ again and again.

What does President Obama do then? Send in 10,000 more?

The Soviet Union, whose 115,000-man army in Afghanistan reached more than twice the size of U.S.-NATO forces, even with the Obama surge, went home defeated in 1988. The Soviet Empire did not survive that humiliation.

Obama — and John McCain, who has endorsed the build-up — should, before committing any more combat brigades, explain how and when this war ends in an American victory. For as of today, the Afghan war resembles Vietnam far more than Iraq ever did.

Consider. Taliban attacks are up 40 percent this year. U.S. casualties in May and June exceeded those in Iraq. Gen. Petraeus says al-Qaida is moving assets from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

President Karzai's writ still does not extend beyond the capital. He is mocked as the "Mayor of Kabul." Security in the capital is deteriorating.

For the sixth straight year, the poppy crop, primary source of the world's heroin, has set a new record. The Taliban eradicated the crop when in power, but are now collaborating with farmers to extort cash to keep fighting.

Most critically, Pakistan has become for the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida the same sanctuary that North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia provided for the Viet Cong and NVA, with this critical difference: We cannot bomb or invade Pakistan.

The new Islamabad regime is exhibiting no enthusiasm for fighting the Taliban who dominate the border regions and North-West Frontier province and have sympathizers in Pakistan's military and intelligences agencies.

Air strikes, to which we have begun to resort, have resulted in wedding parties and families wiped out in their homes on both sides of the border. President Musharraf has even threatened to retaliate against U.S. forces if more of his people become victims.

Anti-Americanism, pandemic in Pakistan, is rising.

As for Afghanistan, how do we win a war in a nation of 27 million, the size of Texas, with only 50,000 U.S.-NATO troops? How long will it take us to train, equip and arm an Afghan army that is both loyal to the regime and an effective fighting force against its Pashtun brothers?

How, ever, can victory be achieved, if the enemy can retire every winter to Pakistan to rest, rearm and prepare new attacks?

If the Pakistani army will not clean out the border regions, how can we accomplish it with pinprick strikes by Special Forces, or Predators and F-16s, which invariably cause civilian casualties?

Afghanistan, in and of itself, is of no strategic importance, if it is not a base camp for al-Qaida. Loss of Pakistan to Islamism, however, a nation of 170 million Muslims with atomic bombs, would be a calamity for the Near East and United States.

Under the (Colin) Powell Doctrine for fighting wars, questions must be asked and answered affirmatively before committing U.S. troops:

Is a vital U.S. interest imperiled here? Do we have a defined and attainable objective? Have the risks and costs been fully weighed? Is there an exit strategy? Is the war supported by a united nation?

How many of these questions did Obama ask himself before pledging 10,000 more U.S combat troops to what will surely become, should he win, "Obama's war" even as Iraq has become "Bush's war"?

To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at



6 Comments | Post Comment
Sir; in short, Mr. Obama has not thought through any of the situation in Iraq. Unlike our current president, he will be the victim of events, and not their master. Now that he is stuck he is stuck, and if he can get us out, it will be no less than three years and six months after taking office. You must understand the ethic at work here, and it is one illustrated by new Mccain adds. It does not matter what the truth is, so the truth must be dodged like every other piece of garbage that is thrown. Kennedy got us into Vietnam big time, and wanted out, as his best General advised. He could not get out without being tarred as soft on communism, so many more thousands had to die, over an idea. Let me tell you what the problem is, short, sweet, and simple. Normally, we use ideas to think, with. But we are so manipulated by ideas, that we let our ideas do our thinking for us. It is not just ideologies that we follow, but ideologues; people captured by their ideals, and no longer able to weigh objective benfits against costs. No matter what Mr. Obama does, he will be called soft of terrorism the way Kennedy did not want to labeled Soft on Communism. They are just people on the other end of that hate. From my perspective, they are all republicans. All they need is a gas station or a quicky mart, and they could be GOP. But so long as our ideas get us into situations we cannot get out of, people will die, and the world will be more unstable.
Comment: #1
Posted by: James A, Sweeney
Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:07 AM
Obama stands for imperial war, power and deception

By Nasir Khan

What President Obama decided was no surprise. The Bushite high officials and generals in his administration had made it all possible. Bush and  Cheney may have already sent their congratulations to their worthy successor, who knows?
With the limited resources we have at our disposal, an existential reality, we who believe in human values and respect for human life should stand up, and say loudly and clearly: No to imperialist war in Afghanistan, No to fascism, No to warmongers.

Can we do that? Yes, we can. The people can.

We can defeat the warmongers and their criminal plans. I believe, the vast majority of ordinary Americans will be with us when they become aware of what crimes are being perpetrated in their name for the wars of aggression under the cover of false pretexts and misleading propaganda. A big task though, but we should do what we can because we love peace and hold humanity in respect. The war criminals have to use the rhetoric of ‘good wars' though, to deceive their people to gain support for their criminal wars and human bloodshed.

If we can inform the people by our continuous struggle about the reality of war, the motives of war and the profiteers of war, then and only then the ordinary man and woman will stop supporting genocidal wars.
The military-industrial complex in the United States has economic interests to carry on such criminal wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.

What Obama is doing now is part of the same game.

For the warmongers, weapon manufacturers, war contractors and the rest of the war profiteers war is a very lucrative business. The loss of human life, either of the invading soldiers or their victims has no significance. It is part of the game.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Nasir Khan
Thu Dec 3, 2009 10:14 AM
Obama's turnaround is nothing new. Every single president finds himself doing the bidding of the Pentagon and Wall Street. And that, Mr. Hightower, is exactly what we've seen.
Comment: #3
Posted by: ron
Fri Dec 4, 2009 4:52 AM
I don't think Obama has any choice to make as to whether he continues along the path of perpetual war. I suspect he is often reminded of what happened to JFK following his defiance of the Military Industial Complex.
Comment: #4
Posted by: minemule
Fri Dec 4, 2009 8:20 AM
Re: minemule
Minemute is right on target. The author of this article doesn't seem to realize that it is not a Democratic or Republican issue: it is an Israeli issue, which means that the great majority of the money, power, and influence of the American Jewish community will ensure that the pres. and congress salute and take their orders.
Comment: #5
Posted by: William Fuller
Fri Dec 4, 2009 2:21 PM
As asked... How many more tens of billions of dollars should we let them siphon from our public treasury to fuel their war policy? How much more of our country's good name will they squander on what is essentially a civil war?

This war need not have taken more Americans. This war need only the experts, a handful, to follow and take into custody the leader of the terrorists without blowing up cities, countries, and ruining lives. If our country does not have, or has not had the ability to do this, alone, without War... something is wrong. We need NOT place men and women into harms way, but we need the strength to pull out, stay out, regardless of threats. How many more deaths do we have to add to the 911 tragedy? How many Americans are doing without because we can't handle our own business, and let big business do its thing. From War to Market! And today, they report that women, the underprivledged in CA. no longer can have mammograms??? And today, they report that women under the new health care bill will get everything they need. Tell me, in this country who do we believe?
Comment: #6
Posted by: nancydenofio
Mon Dec 7, 2009 11:57 AM
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