Close your eyes, and pretend it's still the George W. Bush administration.
In Afghanistan, more American service members died in August than in any month since the war began. His top military commander says that without more troops, we run the risk of losing the war. Iran admits operating a second previously undisclosed nuclear facility. Unemployment stands at 9.7 percent, with consumer confidence lower last month after a brief uptick. An important domestic initiative -- one he campaigned on -- faces a likely make-or-break month in Congress.
What does the President do? He flies to Copenhagen to personally lobby the International Olympic Committee to bring the Olympics to Crawford, Texas.
During Hurricane Katrina, critics accused President Bush of showing insufficient concern. CNN's Bush-hater-in-chief, Jack Cafferty, lit into him. Insensitivity! Lack of empathy! Poor sense of priorities! When the Iraq War started going badly, critics pounced on Bush for allegedly "failing to listen to his generals" about the troop strength necessary to secure that country.
Fast-forward. Americans elected Barack Obama, an "elegant and eloquent" liberal president. And my, how things change.
Iran's second -- now acknowledged -- nuclear facility appears to have but one purpose: to make a bomb. For good measure, over the weekend, Iran test-fired medium-range missiles with the distance to reach Israel.
Obama, during the campaign, called a nuclear-armed Iran "unacceptable." The President now demands that Iran come clean, or else. Or else ... what? Face "stiff sanctions." Never mind that our country's sanctions against Iran have been in place for 30 years. Ratcheting them up to include, say, energy embargoes requires the approval of U.N. Security Council members China and Russia. Who do you think assists Iran in the construction of its nuclear program? China and Russia.
The President, in August, called Afghanistan a "war of necessity." Obama's chosen top commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, wrote -- in a report requested by the White House -- that the conflict "will likely result in failure" without an increase in troop strength within the year. Obama sat on the report for a month, after which it was leaked to The Washington Post. He told the general to scrub the additional troop request because he now wants to reassess the entire mission.Let's revisit.
After we helped expel the former Soviet Union from Afghanistan, we left. Afghanistan became a haven for terrorists, who were protected, sponsored and encouraged by its government. From there, al-Qaida conceived and directed 9/11, an attack against America that resulted in the loss of 3,000 lives. We attacked Afghanistan and toppled its Taliban government. After that country approved a constitution and established a government, we promised to remain until it could defend itself and serve as an ally in the war on terror.
A failure in Afghanistan would allow a safe haven for more attacks and would threaten to destabilize next-door Pakistan, a country that possesses nuclear weapons.
Our enemy seeks to impose theocratic governments in the Middle East and the Arab world. Then it seeks to subjugate (SET ITAL) all (END ITAL) non-Muslim peoples. In July 2007, Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaida's No. 2, outlined the terror group's objectives. There is a near-term plan to globally target "Crusader" (U.S., NATO, etc.) and Jewish interests. The long-term plan has two parts: overthrowing "corrupt" non-Islamic governments and "hurrying to the fields of jihad like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, for jihad preparation and training. Thus, it is a must to hurry to the fields of jihad for two reasons: The first is to defeat the enemies of (Islam) and repel the Zionist Crusade, and the second is for jihadi preparation and training to prepare for the next stage of the jihad." He failed to define "the next stage."
The picture now comes into sharp focus. Americans voted for president a man who thinks that government creates wealth; that "greed" caused the current economic crisis; that taxpayers should provide health insurance for those who don't have it; that a government-induced housing and financial crisis can only be addressed by more government; that government can more efficiently and profitably run businesses than can the private sector; that "global warming" requires the imposition of job-killing and price-hiking action against emitters; and that government should "spread the wealth" by taking from those who have "too much" and giving to those who have "too little."
National security is, as always, job one. We are at war against Islamofascists. To accomplish their ends, they seek chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. This is a conflict that, not unlike the Cold War, will likely take decades.
For now, though, President Obama intends to fly to Copenhagen to personally lobby to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. Iran and Afghanistan can wait.