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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Obama's Iraq/Afghanistan Gaffes

The right blogosphere is abuzz over a new gaffe by Barack Obama over the connections between our resources in Iraq and Afghanistan. It started with a report by ABC News.

We don't have enough capacity right now to deal with it -- and it's not just the troops," Obama, D-Ill., told a crowd in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Obama posited -- incorrectly -- that Arabic translators deployed in Iraq are needed in Afghanistan -- forgetting, momentarily, that Afghans don't speak Arabic.

"We only have a certain number of them and if they are all in Iraq, then its harder for us to use them in Afghanistan," Obama said.


The vast majority of military translators in both war zones are drawn from the local population.Naturally they speak the local language. In Iraq, that's Arabic or Kurdish. In Afghanistan, it's any of a half dozen other languages -- including Pashtu, Dari, and Farsi.


We need agricultural specialists in Afghanistan, people who can help them develop other crops than heroin poppies, because the drug trade in Afghanistan is what is driving and financing these terrorist networks. So we need agricultural specialists," he said.


But if we are sending them to Baghdad, they're not in Afghanistan," Obama said.Iraq has many problems, but encouraging farmers to grow food instead of opium poppies isn't one of them. In Iraq, oil fields not poppy fields are a major source of U.S. technical assistance. There are other infrastructure problems both countries share that U.S. advisors have struggled to address -- a lack of safe roads, schools, adequate electricity, etc. -- but Obama did not mention these.

So, basically what we have is this. Obama doesn't know what language they speak in Afghanistan and he doesn't know that in Iraq their major source of revenue is oil not farming. Furthermore, he has a fundamental misunderstanding of why the Afghan farmers rely so heavily on the illegal poppy seed, the pre cursor for heroine.

I think just about every major conservative site will be pointing this out soon. Here is how Michelle Malkin's site Hot Air analyzed things...

And Obama’s analysis of the agricultural challenges of moving Afghanistan from poppies to peapods is dead wrong. Afghans grow poppies because they lack two critical prerequisites to rely on any other crop: security and infrastructure. In order to make enough money to survive non-growing seasons, Afghans would have to have massive refrigeration and transportation infrastructure improvements. How does a farmer make money when crops can’t get to market fast enough to keep them from spoiling? Perishables such as fruit and vegetables require refrigeration, which requires electricity, and so on. Opium doesn’t spoil, and it can be stored indefinitely under any conditions to be used as a cash substitute outside of growing season.

The Afghans need to establish the proper infrastructure first before massively committing to acceptable crops, and they need to start with reliable roads. However, they cannot even do that until the security situation improves, as the constant attacks by the Taliban and al-Qaeda make it impossible to build the necessary roads, electrical distribution, and refrigeration systems the Afghans require. What would agricultural experts do in Afghanistan while those issues remain unresolved?

Red State saw a more nefarious reason.

That’s the cat the Obama let out of the bag. He talks a lot about resolving the situation in Afghanistan while pulling out of Iraq, but he’s probably planning to invite the bad guys to a tea party. He’s probably too smart to say it out loud after he said that’s what he’d do with the Iranians.

There is of course no evidence that Obama is planning on speaking to the Taliban or AQ, however talking to Iran is dangerous enough.

Here is the video of Obama's gaffe.

Now, we all remember just how big a story it became in 2000 when Bush couldn't name the Prime Minister of Pakistan (how ironic), and so we will see just how much the MSM will make of this gaffe.

Gateway Pundit also has some coverage.

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