Obama’s Afghanistan Misstep

James Carafano /

Mark McKinnon, a former Bush advisor, doesn’t get it. “GOP Attacks on Obama’s bin Laden Ad Misguided,” declares his piece in the Daily Beast.

Of course, the President has a right to crow over getting bin Laden. But sorry, Mark—there is a difference between highlighting a decision to burnish the image of presidential leadership and a crass exploitation that demeans the office of the President.

It’s true that there has been too much focus on the politics of the speech and not enough on the policy. Obama must have a speechwriter named Rosie Scenario, because his prognosis for Afghanistan seemed largely disconnected to events on the ground. According to the President, the war has been won, and the rest is just details.

But as Heritage expert Lisa Curtis has pointed out again and again, there is much work still to done that is anything but easy. In a recent study, she points out that while President Obama is drawing down U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he is attempting to negotiate with the Taliban—despite the fact that the Taliban has renounced neither terrorism nor its support for al-Qaeda. If the Taliban is able to regain influence in Afghanistan without breaking ties with international terrorism, al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups could re-establish a safe haven there. Further, the U.S. can’t be optimistic about cooperation with Pakistan.

According to the Associated Press, “More than 1,500 supporters from a pro-Taliban Islamic party have rallied in southwestern Pakistan to condemn the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces a year ago.”

Americans should be more upset about what was left unsaid.