73 percent of American troop deaths in Afghanistan have been under President Obama. That is 1,565 sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, and Sisters, while the President has played 146 rounds of golf (according to ObamaGolfCounter.com). Now consider that we have been fighting for less time in that region under his administration, yet the majority of the troop deaths are on his watch. From my experience in Iraq under the two most recent and acutely different administrations, I derive three apparent possibilities for this. First, inadequate support and restrictive rules of engagement; second, because our loudmouth president announced a pullout date long before knowing how logistics would play out; and third, the region has become increasingly more hostile. The first I can confirm firsthand.
A team mate of mine was reconnoitering an IED and informed the unit commander that the bomb, based on their onsite analysis, was unsafe to move and recommended detonating it in place, noting that it could be done without harming the local population. The local commander, who was neither onsite nor a qualified explosive technician, disregarded their advice ordered the removal of the IED and to have it taken back to base to be detonated away from Iraqi population. While attempting to remove the IED, the bomb detonated, killing my friend.
Had I been president at the time, I would have charged the battle space commander with manslaughter, not to mention institute policy to detonate all discovered munitions in place regardless of local populous. Or, at least, ensure that the onsite personnel be allowed to make judgment calls based on their assessment, not a policy dictated by some distant bureaucrat.
Another example of this, discussed in my book Battle on the Home Front, was that units engaging enemy combatants no longer have the authority to approve air support in their defense. The bureaucratic machine has deemed it necessary for the unit to seek approval from a ranking commander, most likely miles away in a safe area, not in a gunfight. One can see how this timely process could cost American lives.
As it has become clear, especially with the recent Syrian debacle, our president has a habit of jumping to the microphone and saying whatever comes to his mind or thinks will improve his image. This has hurt Americans more than it has helped. The leaked information on the bin Laden raid and “SEAL Team 6″ was one example, as was the declaration of a definitive end to a war we have not yet won or even defined victory for. This has been detrimental to our troops.
The third reason behind the increase in troop deaths is directly related to the first two. If you were the enemy and you knew there would be delayed air support, restrictive rules of engagement and mindless stipulations for your opponent, would you not ramp up your attacks? Even the savages we are fighting can figure that out. Why not our president?
While I don’t directly blame deaths in Afghanistan on our commander-in-chief, I do hold him accountable for the growing instability and bureaucratic mindlessness in the region. Why don’t our commanders see that these policies are killing us? The Obama administration has systematically removed those who stand for reason, like Marine General Mattis, and promote yes-men. As a result our soldiers are paying the price for progressive political control over the military. As a soldier myself, I don’t understand how leaders would let this happen to those who volunteered to serve their country. Something must be done. Someone must be held accountable.