Candidate Obama vs President Obama on Afghanistan

Not surprisingly, the statements from then-candidate Obama were very different from President Obama’s actions regarding the war in Afghanistan. At this point, 9 months into his first term, Obama has done nothing resembling his positions and criticism of President Bush and John McCain’s shared views on Afghanistan.

For anyone familiar with Obama’s campaign promises and his complete reversal on many of them after becoming President, this shouldn’t be shocking.

This video here sums it up well:

The UK Times ran a story today about growing discontentment among some soldiers serving in Afghanistan:

American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not.

It saddens me to have a commander-in-chief showing blatant disregard for the lives of those fighting on the ground. He can spend time lobbying for the Olympics in Chicago, holding health-care town halls, beer summits at the White House and spending an anniversary date night with his wife yet he has not formulated a working mission for our soldiers on the ground giving their lives in Afghanistan.

Sergeant Christopher Hughes, 37, from Detroit, has lost six colleagues and survived two roadside bombs. Asked if the mission was worthwhile, he replied: “If I knew exactly what the mission was, probably so, but I don’t.”

The only soldiers who thought it was going well “work in an office, not on the ground”. In his opinion “the whole country is going to s***”.

The battalion’s 1,500 soldiers are nine months in to a year-long deployment that has proved extraordinarily tough. Their goal was to secure the mountainous Wardak province and then to win the people’s allegiance through development and good governance. They have, instead, found themselves locked in an increasingly vicious battle with the Taleban.

President Obama is doing exactly what he criticized President Bush of doing with regard to “taking his eye off the ball in Afghanistan”. After months and months of time, where is the plan, Mr. President? After years of criticizing President Bush for allegedly having no plan in Iraq, where is your plan or action to help our fighting men and women on the ground?

I have largely stayed away from this topic for weeks because I believe it is touchy, however, when I see soldiers in the cross hairs of political rhetoric and trickery, I will remain silent no more.