Today President Obama spoke at the National Archives where, surrounded by the documents that contain the principles that founded America, he confirmed the need for America to return to these principles and values by closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.
Against a backdrop of violence and civilian casualties, the last few days have witnessed strong moves by the Obama administration to complete the move to a counter-insurgency strategy – in the strategy and management of US forces in Afghanistan and in the actions of US allies in Pakistan.
John McCain’s positions on critical foreign policy issues such as Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, and Pakistan have all been undermined by the assessments of our intelligence community and members of the military leadership. In a speech this week, General David Petraeus contradicted McCain’s positions on using our Iraq strategy in Afghanistan and on negotiating with our enemies. Additionally, in a damaging critique of the Senator’s bellicosity toward Russia, former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and George Schultz cautioned that U.S. interests demanded a strong effort to ease tensions with a resurgent Russia.
Adm. Fallon—Commander of U.S. Central Command and Gen. David Petraeus'; superior—has consistently been less enthusiastic on the surge than Petraeus and other Bush Administration officials. His dissenting voice on the Iraq surge strategy has been disregarded by the White House, and his strong support for balancing our focus on Iraq with other regional priorities has yet to be fully realized.
Changes in military tactics can lead to short term gains, but only a comprehensive political strategy to bring Iraq’s warring factions together can lead to a permanent solution to the conflict. One year since the President announced the “surge,” it remains clear that he has no such strategy.