Writing in the Wall Street Journal Michael Phillips shows what our troops have to deal with when fighting a war Obama style. That is, fighting a war where they are led by lawyers, when the rules of engagement remove you from most of the fight, when fear of harming civilians causes you to fight a losing battle.
The story is long and intricate. Here are a few details:
U.S. spy drones had no trouble spotting the Taliban fighters. There were more than 20 figures snaking through sparsely wooded hills, trying to outflank the Afghan government commandos in the village below.
In the starry darkness overhead, American helicopters loitered armed with precision-guided missiles, along with a flying gunship capable of drenching the area with cannon-fire. It would have been a hard shot to miss.
But before they could fire, the Americans knew they would have to get past the lawyers.
In the amorphous twilight of the Afghan war, it isn’t enough to draw a bead on the enemy. Before they shoot, U.S. troops have to navigate a tricky legal and political question: When is it OK for them to kill Taliban?
We are clearly not fighting to win. Political leaders will say that we are fighting this way in order to win hearts and minds. And yet, fear is more powerful than squeamishness. It commands more respect. Our leaders prefer to occupy the moral high ground, even it’s a losing strategy. They do not see that anyone who occupies the moral high ground quickly becomes a target. Besides, it's not their country. And it's not their war. They want to preserve their own moral purity even if it costs them Afghanistan.
In the Obama administration no one seems to understand that victory will best persuade reluctant hearts and minds to join the allied cause. If you sacrifice your war effort in order to feel more righteous you will end up being a loser. Why would anyone join forces with a loser army whose commanding officers are lawyers?