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Why won't Obama own up to the terrible human toll of his policies?

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President Obama boards Air Force One, Jan. 15, 2014, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. before traveling to North Carolina where he will speak about the economy. ((AP))

In an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity Tuesday night, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates amplified his concerns about the human toll exacted by President Obama’s reluctant prosecution of the war in Afghanistan.

Gates told Hannity: “We need clarity from our political leaders, from our presidents, when we do use military force, so that we don’t get sucked into long grinding conflicts like we did in Afghanistan and Iraq, and where you end up with ambiguous outcomes.”

Ambiguous outcomes is precisely what Gates describes in his new book, “Duty,” when he writes, “I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission.”

A president cannot claim to have his troops’ backs when his war strategy is backhanded.

This is an insupportable contradiction—a testimony to the recklessness of the president’s ambiguity—and one that deserves a pejorative name. I suggest “ObamaGates.” It illustrates that President Obama insists that he cares about people but he detaches himself from the destructive human consequences of his policies.

A president cannot claim to have his troops’ backs when his war strategy is backhanded. President Obama sent 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan in 2009 even though, as Gates later assessed, “The president doesn’t trust his commander [General David Petraeus], can’t stand [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”

As Steve Huntley reported in The Chicago Sun-Times, “The White House responded to Gates by saying Obama ‘has great faith in the troops that carried out the mission and in the mission itself.’” But Huntley adds, “That rings hollow since in 2012 it was obvious the administration had pretty much written off Afghanistan.”

Not only written off—but sacrificed lives. A new CNSnews.com analysis finds that 1,593 U.S. troops have died “since Feb. 17, 2009, when Obama announced the first of his multiple increases in U.S. military personnel deployed to Afghanistan.” That is nearly 74% of the total of 2,162 U.S. casualties “in the more than twelve years that have passed since U.S. troops first entered Afghanistan…” 

What rings hollow and is humanly tragic regarding President Obama and Afghanistan also rings hollow and is humanly tragic in other instances where the president claims to care deeply about people—even while his policies wreak havoc with peoples’ lives.

Take ObamaCare. When the president signed his signature health care overhaul in 2010 he said, “The bill I’m signing will set in motion reforms that generations of Americans have fought for and marched for and hungered to see.” 

But what have we seen with ObamaCare? As USA Today’s Editorial Board wrote, “ObamaCare is starting to resemble a patient bleeding from self-inflicted wounds…critics are justifiably mocking President Obama for his repeated, untrue promise that if people liked their health plans, they could keep them. Oops.”

Take the Benghazi terror attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty on September 11, 2012. 

According to Fox News, a new Senate Intelligence Committee Report on the Benghazi attack found, “the tragedy was ‘preventable’ and the administration failed to respond to ‘ample’ warnings that security was deteriorating before Sept. 11, 2012.” The report “also cited the failure of the Obama administration to ‘bring the attackers to justice.”’

Yet, President Obama has characterized criticism of his administration’s actions during and after that tragedy as a “political circus” and a “sideshow.” 

But if the president truly cared about seeking justice for those who lost their lives in Benghazi—as he claims he does—why did his administration insist that survivors of the attack sign non-disclosure agreements? Whether in Afghanistan or Benghazi, with President Obama, truth is the first casualty of war.

Consider the human consequences of these other Obama administration controversies:

  • The IRS’s harassment of Tea Party and conservative groups, which muzzled activism and suppressed votes, affecting the 2012 election. (It was recently revealed that a trial lawyer who has donated almost $7,000 to Mr. Obama’s two presidential campaigns and to the Democratic National Committee is leading the Justice Department’s investigation of that scandal.)
  • The Justice Department’s Fast and Furious gun-walking operation that sent to Mexican drug operations about 2,000 guns, two of which were discovered at the murder site of a U.S. Border Patrol agent.
  • Billions in taxpayer dollars wasted on the Obama administration’s crony capitalism favors, lavished on various companies that produced disasters. These include the no-bid ObamaCare $678-million website enrollment contract, whose lead developer was CGI Federal. CGI is the company where Michelle Obama’s pal Toni Townes-Whitley is an executive. CGI has finally been fired and will be replaced next month following its role in the colossal failures of healthcare.gov. In another category of Obama-style crony capitalism, The Heritage Foundation reckons that $8-billion in taxpayer dollars has gone to “clean energy loans, grants, and tax credits (for Obama-preferred green energy companies)…that have since either gone bankrupt or are circling the drain [e.g. Solyndra, Abound Solar and A123 Systems].”

Syndicated columnist Rich Lowry has written that, “Obama has a remarkable ability to create critical distance between himself and almost anything.” But along with that ability comes a terrible human toll.

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.