Originally posted at American Thinker blog
Barack Obama flew all the way to Afghanistan to surprise the troops, sign a pact with President Hamid Karzai, have his picture taken giving a speech at Bagram Air Base with flag-draped armored military vehicles as a backdrop, and give himself a ‘We’ve got me in the house’ shout-out. Only God knows how much it cost the American taxpayer, not counting staff and security, to fuel up AF1 and fly 14,000 miles roundtrip to Kabul. At approximately $181,757 per AF1 hour, flying to Afghanistan for what amounted to a campaign speech tallied up to cost much more than if Obama stayed home and just used his $1.1 million dollar 2012 campaign bus, “Ground Force One.”
Once in Afghanistan, the President stopped just short of donning a fashionable Hamid Karzai-style Karakul hat and bomber jacket with his Nobel Peace Prize medal dangling from a ribbon around his neck. Speaking from the bowels of a war zone in Kabul, international peacemaker/part-time poet Barack Obama regaled war-weary Americans with lofty images of “sunlight glistening off soaring new towers in downtown Manhattan,” and the “light of a new day on the horizon” in Afghanistan.
To some, traveling 14 hours one way to review his successes may seem a bit much. However, the mysterious middle-of-the night trip provided the perfect milieu for Obama to read his victory list before taking the first of many planned victory laps.
According to the President, his Afghan victories include “devastat[ing] al Qaeda’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders,” and of course that ‘gutsy move’ when, one year ago, he allegedly remained on the golf course to avoid being blamed if the bin Laden assassination, carried out by Navy SEAL Special Forces, somehow went awry.
Therefore, on the anniversary of ridding the world of Osama, without mentioning the specifics of his future objectives Obama felt it was appropriate to fly to Afghanistan to reassure the people of America that the goal he “set to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild – is within reach.”
Emerging from between two armored vehicles, Obama approached the podium and spoke aggressively about how he and his Administration have successfully curtailed the “Taliban’s momentum.” Evidently, when not in discussions with the Muslim Brotherhood from Egypt, Obama took time to be in “direct discussions” with Islamic militants from Afghanistan, which is how he successfully impeded the Taliban’s momentum.
With a huge notch on his imaginary gun belt, tough-talking Barack Obama declared that “We have made it clear that the [Taliban] can be a part of this future if they break with al Qaeda, renounce violence, and abide by Afghan laws.”
On the next campaign stop, someone should hold up a cue card to remind the President that asking Taliban fighters to renounce violence and adhere to Afghani law would be like asking the Muslim Parliament to place US foreign aid to Egypt ahead of their affection for the newly proposed “Farewell Intercourse” law.
Nevertheless, at least for the length of the President’s live broadcast from Afghanistan, wary Americans were able to relax knowing that “Many members of the Taliban – from foot soldiers to leaders – have indicated an interest in reconciliation.”
Unfortunately, the Taliban’s ” interest in reconciliation” must have been short-lived because less than two hours after Barack Obama headed home from his multimillion dollar campaign stop, militant suicide bombers bid him adieu by disguising themselves as women and blowing up a foreigners’ housing complex in Kabul, killing seven people.
So what happened to the successful negotiations Obama cited in his Bagram Air Base speech? Well, it’s likely the Taliban, who regularly stone women and hang 10-year-old boys for allegedly spying, changed their minds.
Either way, when it comes to the war in Afghanistan it does seem that Obama is unofficially keeping score. Yet, despite tooting his own zurna, there is one success he keeps forgetting to mention. If election-year one-upmanship is Obama’s goal, he should at least share that when it comes to the question of who racked up the highest number of American body bags and flag-draped coffins in Afghanistan, he’s the hands-down winner.
Obviously, President Obama wants full credit for accomplishments that far exceed President Bush’s. Therefore, besides stomping all over eight years of GW’s foundational work that made killing Osama bin Laden possible, it should also be mentioned that in just “39 months in office, 69 percent of the U.S. military fatalities in the more than 10-year-old war in Afghanistan …occurred on [President Obama's] watch.”
Comparing who’s done more, according to icasualties.org there were approximately 1,234 U.S. military personnel mortalities related to Operation Enduring Freedom from January 20, 2009, when Obama took office, until December 31, 2011. Less than half that number of military deaths occurred in Afghanistan from 2001 through 2009 when George W. Bush was in charge.
While eager to share his successes at a podium at Bagram, somehow Barack Obama left the war-torn country without mentioning that one of his most notable presidential accomplishments since 2009, when compared with GW Bush’s last three years in office, is ownership of a whopping 233% growth in U.S. military fatalities.
How about that for a banner to unfurl at the next self-exalting Barack Obama-sponsored campaign event or inevitable “ticker-tape parade?’
And so, it seems that besides burning up expensive jet fuel by flying to Kabul, in anticipation of the 2012 election Barack Obama hopes to begin repackaging himself as a great wartime leader.
Most importantly, while in Afghanistan and on behalf of America’s dead war heroes, part of the President’s speech requested that Americans assist him in creating “a nation worthy” of those who gave their lives in fighting a decade-long war. Barack Obama’s chosen method to accomplish that goal? Grant him another four years to rebuild a country whose three-year list of domestic catastrophes, much like the U.S. military’s mounting body count in Afghanistan, has also grown by 233%.