In his book, “The Bloody Forest” , Gerald Astor notes that the short sited strategy in the Huertgen Forest led to a weakened military state. “The damage to the American forces seriously weakened the First Army, diluting its extended front line into a thin crust that enabled the German forces to crash through in the initial phases of the Battle of the Bulge”.
Barack Obama is engaging in a similar strategy today....and so is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Admiral Mullen and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Surprisingly, both men seemed to have done an about face following the election of Barack Obama. These once independent-minded men under the Bush administration, seem to be very interested in supporting President Obama by sacking Generals and telling new ones that there will no new troops for Afghanistan. Sadly, Mullen and Gates decided to sack General David D. McKiernan because he knew that winning in Afghanistan required more troops and that is something that neither he nor his successors can have.
Sadly, the analysis does not end there. To fight against increased conflict violence in Afghanistan, we are robbing Peter to pay Paul. The Department of Defense is having to remove resources once aimed at Al-Qaeda to purse the Taliban. Moreover, the number of American troops in Afghanistan is basically fixed by a political order, not a military one. Obama’s Afghanistan strategy is political gamesmanship at its worst and a dereliction of duty on his part as Command-in-Chief. He is so focused on partisan politics concerning healthcare that gains in Iraq are being lost and commander on the ground in Afghanistan have been gagged from asking for more troops. Obama came into office saying he wanted to end the war on terror. I fear he just might do that by losing both wars and ending years of slow, hard-fought gains.