Thursday, October 08, 2009

One Bush Mess Even Obama Can't Fix

The first 10 months of the Obama administration has been primarily tasked with fixing the incredible amount of damage caused and left by the Bush Administration. Obama has been quite successful in doing so in a myriad of areas yet perhaps there is one mess even he can't fix.

Successes of the Obama administration thus far are many. When he took office the economy was on the brink of depression, the banking system was crumbling and the auto industry was about to destroyed forever. Despite the wasteful deficit spending of the Bush Administration. President Obama had to make tough choices to spend more money to fix the leaking roof on the house of our economy to protect the structure. The stimulus has been very successful in doing that. The Banks are now lending again, the stock market has recovered 50% of the losses it occurred under the Bush recession, the auto industry has been saved and even sparked by the incredibly successful cash for clunkers program.

In the area of foreign policy again there is a long list of successes by Obama in fixing damage caused by the Bush Administration. Our credibility is being restored by the ending of torture, working to close Guantanamo Bay, winding down on schedule our occupation of Iraq. There are positive steps reigning in Iran on its nuclear program. Israel and the Palestinians are at least talking again, and we are now getting cooperation from countries all over the world including Russia and China.

But that leaves Afghanistan. Though going into Afghanistan was the right thing to do, as that is where those that attacked us were located, 8 years of neglect by the Bush Administration have created a quagmire that may never be navigated. The new government of Afghanistan is corrupt and ineffective. While we were wasting our resources in a war of choice in Iraq we have let things in Afghanistan deteriorate causing us to lose the will and the trust of the Afghan people. It is clear the window of opportunity in Afghanistan closed during the Bush Administration. So Obama is left with a list of choices that are all bad options. It would take years, lives and money we don't have to start that war all over and start from scratch again. Keeping the status quo is clearly not working, causing even more distrust and American lives, and just pulling out is not an option either as we cannot allow that country to become a safe haven for terrorists once again.

President Obama has done an effective job fixing the messes left by the Bush Administration. But Afghanistan is not fixable. It is time to limit our presence to a base or two for which operations against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan can be carried out. Leave the stability of the rest of Afghanistan to the Afghans to figure out, thats what the people of that country want, thats what the people of this country want.

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