Two news items caught my attention today, especially since the stories were released on the same date. In reading one of them, I shake my head and wonder if we will ever learn from the mistakes that we have made in history. The President of the United States primary responsibility is that of Commander In Chief. You do not lead by playing to your political party, you do not lead by campaign promises, and you do not broadcast your intentions in regards to deployments and strategic plans when you have troops in the field. The first rule that should be applied is "lead or get the hell out of the way".
On Friday, President Obama announced "he will end combat operations within 18 months and open an era of diplomacy in the Middle East." "By August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end" he further states. According to President Obama, he inherited the war. I believe he was in the Senate for a very short period of time, but there long enough to support funding the troops. Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, serving as Senators from the concept of the invasion of Iraq, approved the decision to go into Iraq. The same two previous Senators also voted in favor of the surge that eventually tipped the scales of success in Iraq. They each also criticized Senator Obama for his military stance during the primaries. Senator Obama voted against the surge. All of the troops will not be withdrawn from Iraq in 2010 it is planned to leave 35,000 to 50,000 troops. Although that sounds like a large number, the majority of these troops will not be combat trained ground troops but support personnel.
Right now, Iran on one border of Iraq and their puppet country of Syria on the other border, are making their plans to "annex" Iraq on September 1, 2010. Following that annexation, Kuwait is right across the southern border with no military. Iraq and Kuwait would provide Iran with the majority of the oil stakes in the Middle East. Between now and then, Iran will talk with our diplomats but we know how far they can be trusted. Since Iran is also one of the greatest contributors to the terrorists, ole Bin Laden is sitting back and smiling as he counts down the days to get his people back into Iraq.
This week, President Obama also made the announcement that Dover Air Force Base would once again be opened to the news media so they could take pictures of our military men and women being returned home in a casket. President George Bush stopped this practiced during his tenure in office. President Bill Clinton adopted the same policy during his eight year tenure as Commander In Chief. President George W. Bush upheld the same policy during his eight years in office. Thirty days into the new administration, President Obama changes the policy that had been in effect for twenty years. Perhaps, payback to the news media that supported his candidacy.
The second news item that got my attention today. After three and one half years, the National Guard is pulling out of New Orleans. Why haven't we heard the screams to withdraw troops from New Orleans? As quoted by a store owner in New Orleans, "I don't know if crime will go up after these guys leave. But I know a lot more of us will be packing our own pieces now to make sure we're protected." New Orleans had 210 murders in 2007, making it the murder capital of America, with the highest per-capita rate in the country.
So, within the past twenty four hours two major announcements of troop reductions were made. If you look between the lines it is relatively easy to see the concept. This year, the President is planning to reduce the Department of Defence budget by 10%. With the reduction of troops in Iraq in 2010, that will provide the second opportunity to justify the cutting the budget of the Department of Defence an additional 10 to 20 per cent. I was in the Navy when President Carter was in office and made drastic cuts in the military budget to the point that Navy ships could not leave the dock because they did not have enough personnel to man the ships. Believe me, from experience you do not want our national defense to lapse into this situation again. Not in this day and terror filled age.