Why are Americans surprised?
By Jim Kouri
Bob Woodward's new book Obama Wars claims to expose the roots of an Afghanistan exit plan driven more by politics than national security and shows the president worried about losing the support of the public and his party.
"I have two years with the public on this," Obama is quoted in Woodward's book as saying, referring to what the administration still considers a finite well of public patience.
Woodward reveals -- according to his publisher's press release -- that Obama's aides were deeply divided over the war even as the president agreed to nearly triple troop levels in a gamble reminiscent of former President George W. Bush's Iraq war "surge."
He got one, at least on paper. Obama has said he will begin withdrawing forces in July 2011, an arbitrary date that many in the military see as artificial and perhaps premature.
The usual news media suspects are assisting with damage control by telling Americans such events occurred in every administration. But most conservatives -- and even some liberals -- understood that candidate Barack Obama was an empty-suit at best, a left-wing ideologue at worst. In fact, many denizens of our nation's newsrooms already knew that Obama was a media invention. So why so much surprise at what Woodward reveals in his book?
Since before President Barack Obama was inaugurated on January 20, 2009, conservative commentators, political activists and security and law enforcement experts attempted to convince the American people that an Obama presidency, coupled with leftist Democrats controlling both houses of Congress, is a bad idea bordering on a suicide pact.
In fact, a Democrat-funded poll shows that Americans believe President Obama and his Democrats are detrimental to U.S. national security issues.
The survey was conducted by the Democratic Corps and Third Way, a "progressive" non-profit organization. The main theme was American voters' opinion of how the Democrats' are handling national security.
According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans believe the United States is on the wrong track Ironically, Obama received strong ratings in the poll on his handling of national security challenges such as the war in Iraq.
"President Obama's Administration including his Vice President, Joe Biden, are crediting Obama with the successful military surge in Iraq. And the president's cheerleaders in the news media echo that claim despite the fact Obama voted against the war and voted against funding the was while a Senator," says a former military intelligence officer and law enforcement commander.
"In fact, Obama takes credit for Bush's successes, but rails about his alleged failures. Even his so-called surge in Afghanistan mirrors what worked in Iraq," said former Det. Mike Snopes.
In the poll's accompanying memo, the posters stated, "Historical doubts about the Democratic Party on national security show signs of reviving and many voters worry the president and his administration are not dealing forcefully enough with terrorist suspects."
The poll reveals that Americans believe that the Democrats' gap on national security has widened in the areas of "keeping America safe," "ensuring a strong military" and "making America safer from nuclear threats." These views mirror the view Americans had of Democrats during the Cold War, when some of the same Democrat leaders attempted to thwart President Ronald Reagan's "cold war" strategy.
The poll revealed that a 51 to 44 percent majority of likely voters disapproved of Obama's efforts "on the prosecution and interrogation of terrorism suspects."
However, the pollsters tip their own hand when they advise that the Democrats attempt to sound tougher on national security. The claim that to improve Democrats' standing on national security, they need to develop a stronger narrative on terrorism, and stress toughness and results by pointing out the increased use of Predator drones against Islamic militants and that FBI interrogation techniques that persuaded Abdulmutallab to produce "actionable intelligence," both considered questionable assumptions by many security experts.
What the pollsters avoided in their poll may also have some bearing on the Americans' view of Democrats on national security issues. They did not ask those whom they polled if they had opinions on Obama's connection and friendship to terrorists, Marxists, cop-killers and other unsavory characters.
Suspect rules of engagement
President Obama heralded the release of the U.S. military's revised rules of engagement for U.S. troops involved in military surge in Afghanistan. As a result of alleged killings of innocent civilians by Afghan and NATO troops, the Pentagon has promulgated strict rules that force soldiers and Marines to hold their fire until they are certain the individuals they face are armed.
While the Pentagon assures military commanders that the new rules are classified to keep terrorist and militant groups from obtaining them, troops claim that al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other enemy fighters know what actions are permitted and prohibited.
In addition, according to a source, who has trained Iraqi counterterrorists, these new rules are created by individuals who never fought in a war or who may be experienced military commanders but are or have become politicians rather than soldiers.
"If a Taliban sniper, who's killed a number of U.S. soldiers or Marines, decides to come out from hiding, all he needs to do is leave his weapon behind and walk out free and clear," said the source who requested anonymity.
"It's hard to fight a war like that let alone be victorious," he added.
Even more disheartening to counterterrorism and warfighting experts is NATO and Afghan military officials flatly stating that killing terrorists and Taliban militants is not their goal in southern Afghanistan. They claim it's more important is to win public support, and the way to win support is for soldiers and Marines to not fire their weapons or fire them only when absolutely necessary.
They even acknowledge that these rules of engagement will place troops at risk, but in the name of winning hearts and minds allowing enemy fighters to escape is a small price to pay.
The Afghanistan surge and the Iraq surge are similar in terminology only. In Iraq, according to reports, if coalition troops were fired upon by enemy snipers, they'd simply call in an airstrike to neutralize the threat.
In the Afghanistan theater, fighter jets will fly low over the battlefield to feign an attack, but the jets will not fire on enemy positions
The new guidelines state that U.S. troops should use deadly physical force in self defense only, which is similar to the resistance/force continuum utilized within U.S. law enforcement.
Jim Kouri is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police and he's a columnist for The Examiner and New Media Alliance. In addition, he's a blogger for the Cheyenne, Wyoming Fox News Radio affiliate KGAB. Kouri also serves as political advisor for Emmy and Golden Globe winning actor Michael Moriarty. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for several major organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. Kouri writes for many police and security magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer and others. He's a news writer and columnist for AmericanDaily.Com, MensNewsDaily.Com, MichNews.Com, and he's syndicated by AXcessNews.Com. Kouri appears regularly as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Fox News Channel, Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, etc