This statement, about the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan, made last week by President Obama, has been replayed repeatedly on television news:
After eight years—some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done—it is my intention to finish the job.
It seems that Mr. Obama cannot discuss any policy without blaming the prior administration. But of those eight years in Afghanistan, nearly one year has been under the Obama regime. More significantly, of the 856 Americans killed in those eight years in Operation Enduring Freedom, 283—that is, 33%—have been killed since February 2009, while Obama has been President. (Source: http://icasualties.org/OEF.)
Number of Americans killed in 2007: 117
Number of Americans killed in 2008: 155
Number of Americans killed since February 2009: 283
As in other policy areas, and as I have explained often and at length (here, for instance), the change made by Obama in foreign policy has been in the wrong direction from the disastrous Bush Administration. Bush was an American-sacrificing, sovereignty-surrendering, evil-appeasing weakling. Obama is weaker.
What would be a rational U.S. policy in the Middle East? In a nutshell, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan should have been Operation Scorched Earth; Operation Iraqi Freedom should have been Operation Recapture of Oil Assets; and our mission in Iran and Saudi Arabia should be Operation New Texas.