By: Ronald Kessler, Newsmax
Oct 14, 2009
President Obama’s deadline of July to start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is “great news” for the Taliban, Rep. Ted Poe, a member of the House Foreign Affairs terrorism subcommittee, tells Newsmax.
“The Taliban are glad to hear it, because they know they can wait until we start drawing down,” the Texas Republican says.
“You don’t have to be a military genius to understand that you never tell your enemy when you are getting out of dodge,” Poe says. “Knowing the deadline, they will simply wait us out. They have the moral resolve, and they will wait until we leave.”
Poe has been to Afghanistan and has talked with troops on the ground and with Afghan government leaders.
“They don’t want Americans there forever, but they do want us there until they are ready to protect themselves, and so an arbitrary date makes them very uneasy,” Poe says.
Setting a deadline sends a bad signal as well to allies and potential sources of information, Poe says.
“These people in Afghanistan have started cooperating with the United States in giving intelligence and information,” Poe notes. “Now that they know that we may be leaving before the job is done, they become reluctant to give us information, because when we’re gone, that’s when the Taliban will do damage and will come into the area and hold people accountable for siding with the United States.”
Obama’s approach to the war on terror suggests that he “lacks the moral resolve to finish this fight and make sure that America is safe from terrorists wherever they come from,” Poe says.
As an example, Poe says, “The president’s comment that we could absorb another 9/11 attack seems to be a defeatist attitude, as opposed to saying that the country is going to protect itself from foreign enemies and domestic terrorists, and we will do whatever is necessary to make sure they leave us alone.”
As a nation, “We have the right to be left alone, and people from all over the world need to understand that there are consequences for not leaving us alone,” Poe says. “That’s what I think the president’s message should be to terrorists and to the world.”
As noted in the Newsmax story U.S. Faces Good News, Bad News in War on Terror, Predator drone strikes have been taking out more al-Qaida leaders, in part because President Bush ordered a three-fold increase in purchases of drones.
But the decision by Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr. to “treat terrorists as modern day criminals is a flawed decision,” Poe says. “These are enemy combatants. They are prisoners of war. They should be treated under the rules of war and tried in a military tribunal.”
Poe adds, “The decision to bring them to the United States and try them in civilian court gives them all types of protections that no prisoners of war have ever been entitled to before.”
Likewise, the decision to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay is a misjudgment, Poe says.
“I’ve seen Guantanamo,” Poe says. “There are sheriffs in Texas that would like to have a jail with those types of facilities and so many amenities,” Poe says. “Guantanamo Bay prison was built because we do not want those people on American soil, and we really didn’t want them in a foreign country. It was the perfect opportunity to try them there.”
The Obama administration’s effort to use euphemisms like “man-caused disasters” to refer to terrorism is another example of how misguided Obama is on national security issues.
“We have to identify our enemy as to who they are,” Poe says. “We have to know who we are at war with. Using confusing terminology to describe them is inappropriate. They are radical jihadists who believe in killing Americans in the name of religion, and the government should acknowledge that and say that.”
Assuming Republicans take back control of the House, Poe says they will attempt to alter the deadline for beginning to pull out of Afghanistan, through legislation and control of appropriations.
“I think the president should quit apologizing for America and start supporting the great things that the country has done. And one of those things is when American soldiers go overseas, they go overseas to liberate people. They never go to conquer.”
Poe adds, “The world has to know that, and the other countries that are watching us have to know we have the resolve to finish the war on terror.”