Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Wish Come True

Afghanistan has held another election.

The Taliban failed to mount a really substantial offensive against the widespread soft targets of polling places. Said President Karzai:

The president said militants carried out 73 attacks in 15 provinces — a 50 percent increase in attacks compared with recent days, according to NATO figures. Karzai's ministers of defense and interior said attacks killed eight Afghan soldiers, nine police and nine civilians. A U.S. service member was killed in a mortar attack in the east Thursday, bringing to at least 33 the number of U.S. troops killed this month.

For a "resurgent" Taliban, this is fairly weak evidence of strength.

We shall see if voters took advantage of the security to vote.

Still, as in Iraq, the real problem lies not in the theater of operations but back here in America. The "good" war is losing support--especially among President Obama's constituency:

Now that the Republican's national security strategy has succeeded in Iraq, freeing U.S. troops for deployment elsewhere, the Democrat is in the rather awkward position of likely arguing for the second troop surge of his own young administration.

Less noticed during the campaign was Obama's oft-stated belief that the real war on terror was in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of adjacent Pakistan, which he promised to pursue actively.

Support for fighting there has not been strong in the last couple of years but is decreasing now as American casualties increase along with troop strength and their anti-insurgent activities. According to the Post poll of 1,001 adults between Aug. 13-17 (error margin +/- 3%), adults (51%) now say the war is not worth fighting. ...

Only 47% say the war is worth it, while strong opponents outnumber strong proponents, 41-31.Sixty percent of all Americans still approve of Obama's war-handling, with special approval coming from Republicans who strongly support the war (70%) and conservatives (58%).

What's alarming for the liberal president, who recently approved an overall increase in the size of the Army, is that his bipartisan support on the war is quickly melting away. But the losses are mainly coming from among his own party faithful -- 70% of Democrats now say Afghanistan isn't worth it.

Worse, less than 20% of Democrats favor sending more American troops.

Opponents of the Iraq War often said they'd rather fight in Afghanistan. They got what they wanted, which I warned them about:

All those in America who have urged us to abandon Iraq and focus on Afghanistan--with some even demanding we intervene in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden--may find that our dwindling role in Iraq will free us to do exactly that--join the Taliban Campaign in force to team up with Pakistani army forces to suppress the jihadis in the tribal areas and finally hunt down bin Laden.

I bet the "good war" in Afghanistan won't be viewed as favorably by our anti-Iraq War side once this campaign gets underway in earnest--as they've always claimed to want.

But then, I always knew that the proponents of the "good war" theory would turn on the Afghanistan campaign when it was the only war they had to protest:

If we are not fighting in Iraq, I've long held, the so-called "good war" in Afghanistan will become bad in the views of our anti-war side. Now the anti-war side protests Iraq and claims that they oppose Iraq in order to commit resources to the "real" fight in Afghanistan. ...

You wait, when the Iraq War is won, our Left will be opposed to the only war we've got--the "good war" in Afghanistan. Our Left can never find a war they can support. But that's a statement about them and not our wars.

We're escalating the war in Afghanistan, adding Pakistan to the mix, and winding down in Iraq, and still the Left isn't happy. Go figure.

I know the anti-war protests are on hold for now, with higher priorities taking the war off the table. But this won't last and the polling shows that. In time, the anti-war side will take out their materials and scratch out "Iraq" and write in "Afghanistan." Then it will be "Hey, hey, BHO, how many of those dead kids did you know?!"

I find it somewhat amusing that the president will rely on people like me to support our war effort while many who voted for him are turning on him as fast as they can. I may not be sure the president has the right focus to win, but I still want us to succeed. Victory is still my goal.

Congress will likely make its unease over the war felt next summer. We shall see how President Obama faces down any defunding efforts in comparison to President Bush's efforts to win in Iraq in the summer of 2007.