Time and time again, president Obama has failed to demonstrate his commitment to our troops.


Illustration by Izzy Parkinson
Illustration by Izzy Parkinson

The American military generals in Afghanistan, most notably General Stanley McChrystal, made clear that in order for the U.S. to win the near-impossible, longest war in American history, the president had to authorize the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops. Ignoring the professionals, President Obama deployed just 30,000 troops into Afghanistan in 2009.
Although this political move pleased Vice President Biden, who opposed the war when he ran for president in 2008, it also put American troops in greater danger.


Moreover, Obama’s highly political decision to set a 2014 withdrawal date in Afghanistan makes the defeat of the Taliban unlikely. They can hide, wait it out, and plan for re-expansion in 2014.


The war, as several scholars and Middle East experts have made clear, is not winnable with Obama’s strategy. Of course, it may not be winnable under any strategy. Afghanistan is nearly twice the size of Iraq.


Afghanistan is a complicated nation nearly twice the size of Iraq. It’s historically unconquerable. Great emperors like Darius I, Alexander, Kanishka, Genghis Khan, Timur, Babur and Nadir Shah all fought their way through Afghanistan. None of them could conquer it. It’s regarded by many historians to be the most invaded land on earth – most invaded and yet still unconquerable.


After twelve years of war, Americans are beginning to come to terms with how unwinnable the war really is. The latest Gallup poll revealed that 54 percent of Americans support an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan.


Still, Obama’s military budget is Afghanistan has proven larger than Bush’s in Iraq. In fact, the 2010 Defense Authorization Act remains the largest military budget in U.S. history.


Perhaps the most distressing trend is the large number of Americans who are coming home and committing suicide. More Americans veterans have killed themselves than have died in the war.  An average of one solider commits suicide every day. TIME Magazine got people talking by printing “One a Day” on their cover with a picture of a troop saluting America.


The Obama administration has ignored this epidemic, refusing to tarnish the idea of war and acknowledge what it does to our troops.

Many young Americans serving abroad are unprepared for war. They are enlisting not simply for love of country, but because they are in desperate financial situations. These men and women see things in combat that nobody should have to see. The PTSD rates are sky high and troops at a high risk of suicide, are continuously denied one of the most effective medicines that can help them.


The Obama administration is responsible for this. Despite overwhelming and conclusive evidence that shows how medicinally prescribed marijuana dramatically alleviates major symptoms of PTSD, the Obama administration is more concerned with politically correct drug policy than it is with the lives of our heroes.


Troops are killed in Afghanistan, and veterans kill themselves in America. The president loves to talk up his “support” for our troops. Yet he has failed to show this support with action.


Ignoring invisible wounds and refusing to do what is necessary to heal these wounds is inexcusable and unacceptable. The office of the president and the administration we’ve elected to serve us in the White House should be ashamed.


The president’s lack of commitment to our troops is clear. Since D-Day in 1945, there are just three occasions in which a president failed to go to the D-Day monument that honors the soldiers killed on D-Day. The first was Barack Obama in 2010, the second was Barack Obama in 2011, and the third was Barack Obama in 2012.


This year, instead of honoring the soldiers killed on D-Day, President Obama made a campaign trip on Air Force 1 to California to raise funds for the election. For the past 68 years, presidents have paid tribute to the fallen soldiers killed on D-Day.


His lack of respect for our veterans is as indefensible as it is undeniable.


The Obama administration has argued that the justification for this war in Afghanistan is the native Taliban’s role in safeguarding and housing members of al-Qaida, perhaps the most vehemently successful anti-American force on the planet. Weakened but still around, al-Qaida is plotting more attacks on America. They’ve attempted dozens since 9/11, and it’s likely their future attempts will continue to fail because of America’s national security investments.


We don’t need to fight against al-Qaida abroad. Our actions in the Middle East simply fuel the region’s hatred of Americans. We can continue to protect ourselves from al-Qaida by prioritizing national security at home and ending our wars abroad.


It’s time we call on the president and his administration to end the war in Afghanistan and invest in the health and well being of our veterans.


America should have a president who shows he cares about our troops and our veterans. There is no defense for Obama’s failures. The reality is clean-cut. President Obama has failed our military.

Sam Smith

Commentary and Debate Editor

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