By Kerry Patton
Many Americans continue to scratch their heads when they hear about another casualty in the Afghanistan war.
Why are we still there? When will our troops come home? Was it worth the loss?
All these questions are worthy, especially when the 2,000th US soldier was killed this past Sunday.
The first presidential debate is just days away. While many Americans have felt the blunt end of the economic stick, foreign policy won’t be addressed until the second debate October 16.
It’s critical to discuss foreign policy. Of course many would believe topics like Iran, Syria, Israel, etc. are detrimental during the debates, but nothing is more critical than a debate on the war in Afghanistan.
Let’s face it, if President Barack Obama wants to rely on defining success by a single move—the killing of Bin Laden—he will lose the greater debate. Al Qaeda proved it is alive and kicking, especially considering the group’s alleged involvement in killing Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya. But that alone will not assist GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in successfully debating Obama’s war strategy.
Of course Obama will likely continue to tell the American people that electing Mitt Romney would be like another four more years of President George W. Bush. If Obama decides to go that route, Romney just needs to play a game of intellectual judo with our current president.
Romney has an opportunity, and that opportunity entails the reality of the war in Afghanistan under the Obama administration. Romney should be allowed to put a very simple question to the President—More than two thirds of the US troops killed in Afghanistan were under your watch. Why?
As President Obama tippy-toes his way around the question, Romney simply needs to turn on the offensive. This offensive should contain irrefutable facts.
Under this administration, timelines were stated publicly. This disclosure psychologically bolstered the enemy.
An expedited execution of training protocols for the Afghan government force (military, police, etc.) was poorly implemented, leaving little to no time to properly “vet” those being trained and resulting in an escalation of “Green on Blue” attacks.
The scary part behind the war in Afghanistan since Obama has taken office is this: Less offensive, outside-the-wire operations have occurred under the current administration than during the previous administration. But even with less offensive operations outside the wire, the death toll of American lives skyrocketed in the past four years, suggesting the Obama strategy for Afghanistan is a failed strategy.
Afghanistan is key for Romney. More Americans have a connection with the war in Afghanistan than they do in Syria, Libya, etc. And truth be told, whether anyone likes it or not, the current Administration’s foreign policy starts with Afghanistan, considering that is where the majority of a concentrated population of Americans live abroad today. Really, how many countries outside the US have a minimum of 60,000 Americans living in it today? Only a handful.
Obama cannot win a debate when it comes to Afghanistan. Obama cannot win anything when it comes to Afghanistan—through debate or the war. But, if the facts about Afghanistan are collected and disseminated to the American people, Romney can seize at least one debate without question—the debate which cost significantly more American service members’ lives under this administration—the Afghan War.
~~Kerry Patton, a combat disabled veteran, is the author of 'Sociocultural Intelligence: The New Discipline of Intelligence Studies' and the children’s book 'American Patriotism'. You can follow him on Facebook or at kerry-patton.com/.