The Failure of Obama's First 100 Days in Afghanistan
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Where is the Change President when it comes to Afghanistan? In President Obama's first 100 days, we have seen more U.S. raids and air strikes that kill innocent Afghan civilians, fueling animosity toward the U.S. as violence is up 79 percent across Afghanistan when compared to the same period last year. We have heard calls for 21,000 additional troops and tens of billions more in war funding. What we haven't heard are clearly defined goals, an exit strategy, benchmarks to measure progress, and a timetable for withdrawal. What we haven't seen is a President willing to break with his predecessor on Afghanistan by prioritizing regional diplomacy and humanitarian aid above military escalation. Here's why Obama gets a 'D' for his first 100 days in Afghanistan.
President Obama made his intentions for this war known even before taking office. He referred to Afghanistan as the " good war" and the "central front to the war on terror." Even more alarming than this rhetoric was Obama's decision to surround himself with hawkish holdovers from the Bush era: Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. David Petraeus, Gen. David Kilcullen, and Gen. David McKiernan. This team has thus far dashed any hopes of a more sophisticated approach toward Middle East foreign policy as they continue to militarize a political problem.
ZP Heller is the editorial director of Brave New Films. He has written for The American Prospect, AlterNet, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Huffington Post, covering everything from politics to pop culture.