by Lauren Wynn
In a much-anticipated address to the nation from Joint Base Meyer-Henderson in Alexandria, Virginia President Trump unveiled his administration’s strategy for Afghanistan and South Asia.
As if anticipating the backlash based on his previous comments on the topic, he prefaced his address by stating that the situation looks different from the desk in the Oval Office – perhaps coming as close as he has ever come to admitting that he was wrong.
He spoke of our military as one that serves as one – transcending race, religion, and gender – that takes the same oath, fights for the same flag and follows the same law – whose selfless devotion and loyalty to our nation requires loyalty to one another. He called upon Americans to let patriotism replace bigotry and to let our service members return home to a country that has renewed the sacred bonds of love and loyalty. Apparently, this was his fourth attempt at striking the right tone regarding Charlottesville.
The American people are weary of war without victory.
Because he is Ivy League-educated and has one of the best minds, Trump felt it incumbent upon himself to regale us with tales of his careful study of the issues at hand. (More likely, the Joint Chiefs of Staff crafted the strategy.) At the end of all of this intense study, he arrived at three conclusions:
- Our nation must seek an honorable and enduring outcome – a plan for victory.
- Consequences of a rapid exit are predictable and unacceptable. Withdrawal from Iraq was a mistake and created a haven for ISIS to grow.
- Security threats are immense. Twenty terrorist organizations are active in the region.
“I am a problem solver and in the end, we will win.”
He went on to say that to prosecute this war, we will learn from history and will follow three core pillars:
- A shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. “We will not talk about numbers of troops. Conditions on the ground will guide our decisions. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.”
- Change the approach regarding Pakistan. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations. In the past, they have been a valued partner. We recognize those contributions, but they have also sheltered other organizations that are trying to kill us.”
- Further develop the U.S. strategic partnership with India. “India makes billions of dollars from trade in the U.S. and it’s time that they contribute more” to the efforts to fight terrorism in the region.
Surely echoing the voices of his commanders in the field, Trump announced that he has lifted restrictions on the Secretary of Defense from fully and swiftly waging battle and has expanded the military’s authority to target criminal networks throughout Afghanistan.
Retribution will be fast and powerful.
In addition to U.S. resources, the President stated that he will request additional funding from NATO allies to support these initiatives and that he will pursue economic development in Afghanistan to help defray the cost. (This calls to mind a multi-million dollar fuel station that today sits vacant and unused.)
In closing, the President stated that the days of building nations in far away lands in our image are over. Now the whole and entire focus is on winning. Should we expect anything less from this president?
We must restore the bonds of loyalty among our citizens at home and we must achieve an honorable and enduring outcome worthy of the enormous price that so many have paid.
Push onward to victory!
No matter the cost – in dollars or in the blood of our youth – we will press onward. The only possible saving grace is that now our warriors’ hands are no longer tied. May their victory be swift and as bloodless as possible.