Afghanistan

Obama’s America — unreliable for any good purpose

Featured image We have written several times about the logjam on visas for foreign interpreters who served our military during Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The logjam has been particularly egregious for Afghan interpreters. Even Democrats are appalled. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said last year: We have to keep our promise to individuals who risked their lives serving alongside our troops. Failing to act puts lives at further risk and hurts our credibility around »

The gift of valor revisited

Featured image Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Phillips discovered the story of Marine Corporal Jason Dunham during one of his four embeddings with Third Battalion, Seventh Marines in Iraq. A few weeks after Dunham’s death in 2004, Michael learned that Corporal Dunham had been attacked by a black-clad Iraqi who leaped out of a car and grabbed him around the neck. As they fought hand to hand, the Iraqi dropped a hand »

Obama spinners confirm primacy of dealmaking as driver of Bergdahl deal

Featured image Since the day the Bergdahl deal was announced, I’ve suggested that President Obama was motivated less by a desire to bring back this particular prisoner than by a desire to make a deal — almost any deal — with the Taliban. Obama himself tipped his hand when, in announcing the deal, he said it could “open the door for broader discussions [with the Taliban] about the future of [Afghanistan] by »

Why Obama had to have the Bergdahl deal

Featured image Fox News reports that the Obama administration decided back in December to try to secure Bowe Bergdahl’s release through a prisoner exchange rather than a cash payment. Having made that decision, Team Obama never asked the intelligence community for a formal assessment of the risk of releasing the five high-value Taliban commanders. Fox also reports that Defense Secretary Panetta and Director of National Intelligence Clapper opposed the swap when the »

Any Chance We Can Trade Obama Instead?

Featured image Michael Ramirez sums up the Bergdahl fiasco in biting fashion. Note the “Goats welcome” sign. Click to enlarge: »

Angry Parents Compare Bergdahl Coverup to Benghazi

Featured image The Obama administration’s handling of the exchange of Bowe Bergdahl for five senior Taliban commanders has been baffling on a number of levels. Did Obama think that the recovery of Bergdahl would be a PR coup that would drive the VA scandal off the front pages? That seems to be the implication of his Rose Garden announcement with Bergdahl’s parents. But the father, Bob Bergdahl, is an anti-American radical and »

When will Obama move mountains to rescue Americans and when will he not?

Featured image Substantial questions surround Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the American POW for whose release President Obama traded five murderous members of the Taliban. The questions are collected in this New York Post article. The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s capture by the Taliban are murky. Did he desert? Did he wonder off base drunk? Was he simply lagging behind his patrol, as he has claimed? We don’t know for certain. But Bergdahl view of »

Taliban becomes our latest enemy to play Obama for a patsy

Featured image President Obama has released five senior Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. It’s a great moment for Bergdahl and his family, but unfortunately it puts American lives at risk. This would be true regardless of who, exactly, had been released. Any exchange puts Americans in danger of being seized as bargaining chips to secure the future release of terrorists. But Obama’s exchange »

How 21st century wars end under Democratic presidents

Featured image President Obama announced today that the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan will shrink to 9,800 by the end of this year and to essentially zero by the end of 2016. As reported by the Washington Post: The 9,800 troops will be based around Afghanistan until the end of 2015, after which they will be reduced by roughly half and consolidated in Kabul and at the Bagram airfield north of »

What Pakistan knew about bin Laden

Featured image Carlotta Gall is a New York Times reporter who went to live and report in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11. Her new book is The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014. The New York Times Magazine published a scintillating excerpt last week focusing on what Pakistan knew about bin Laden. I just finished reading it this week. It is interesting from beginning to end. I highly recommend it. Among other things, »

Nature abhorred power vacuum in the 19th century, apparently still does

Featured image The New York Times reports that Afghanistan has become the third nation to publicly back Russia’s annexation of Crimea. The other two are Syria and Venezuela. Irony abounds. Afghans, including President Karzai, fought a ten-year war against Soviet invaders and their unpopular puppets. The U.S. assisted the Afghans in that struggle. Later, of course, the U.S. liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban and installed Karzai as president. Yet now, when the »

Don’t shoot the messenger

Featured image Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time voice of conventional liberal thinking on national defense issues, is unhappy with Robert Gates’ new book. He complains that, although Gates devotes nearly half of the book to his two years at the Pentagon under President Bush, he provides “no embarrassing anecdotes or acidic comments.” No doubt, there were embarrassing moments at the Pentagon while Gates was serving Bush there. But Gates’ high-profile revelations »

Dakota Meyer’s story: A footnote

Featured image John posted the video on Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer (the video is posted here). Dakota Meyer is one of two men awarded the Medal of Honor for action during the seven-hour battle in Afghanistan’s Ganjgal valley, near the Pakistan border, on September 8, 2009. The story of the second Medal of Honor recipient — Captain William Swenson — raises issues with details of Dakota Meyer’s story and is »

Dakota Meyer’s Story

Featured image The NRA, Brownells and Smith & Wesson are collaborating on a series of videos under the title “Patriot Profiles,” which is part of the NRA’s “Life of Duty” series. This “Patriot Profile” is on Medal of Honor winner Dakota Meyer. Meyer won his medal in Afghanistan, trying to save four Americans under attack by the Taliban, in the face of what seems like almost active interference from higher-ups. Both the »

American dishonor

Featured image Two months ago, I wrote a post called “Break the logjam on visas for foreign interpreters who served our military during war.” I noted: Congress has authorized 1,500 visas per year for Afghans who have assisted us, but the State Department annually approves only about 200. In the past five years, State has issued only 12 percent of the available visas. The picture is similar with respect to Iraq. Now »

The wages of Obama’s foreign policy indifference

Featured image Last month, relying mainly on the work of Jessica Lewis of the Institute for the Study of War, I wrote about the resurgence of al Qaeda in Iraq. Today, the Washington Post, in a front page story that quotes Lewis extensively, describes the same phenomenon: Nearly two years after the U.S. troop withdrawal, Iraq is in the midst of a deepening security crisis as an al-Qaeda affiliate wages a relentless »

Obama’s scandalous Afghan exit strategy

Featured image Congressional Republicans aren’t the only ones against whom President Obama is playing hardball. He’s also playing it against the government of Afghanistan, a U.S. ally. The issue is the American withdrawal from Afghanistan. According to Max Boot, who cites a Washington Post report, Obama has told President Karzai that if there is no agreement by October 31 on the terms for keeping a residual U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, the »