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Obama Bristles At AP Question: Loven At Risk Of Being Shunned

Herein is a just a small measure of a thin skinned White House on the matter of Afghanistan policy. Considering that the source is Politico, which covets its White House access, and the quoted question came from none other than AP Obama maven Jennifer Loven, it can only be concluded that, to a small degree, some in the media are seeing themselves as Hope and Change chumps.

SHANGHAI, China - President Barack Obama made no effort to conceal his irritation when his press corps used the first question of his maiden Far East trip to ask what was taking him so long on Afghanistan.

Jennifer Loven of The Associated Press had asked: "Can you explain to people watching and criticizing your deliberations what piece of information you're still lacking to make that call."

"With respect to Afghanistan, Jennifer," the president scolded, "I don't think this is a matter of some datum of information that I'm waiting on. ... Critics of the process ... tend not to be folks who ... are directly involved in what's happening in Afghanistan. Those who are, recognize the gravity of the situation and recognize the importance of us getting this right."

One wonders where this strange new respect for "those directly involved in what is happening" was during the Iraq War and the successful surge strategy that then Senator Obama opposed. Could it be that this President is being mugged by reality and doesn't like the scrutiny that often accompanies the perquisites of the office of POTUS?

And to the President's point of "getting this right": will we ever get a clear definition of what "getting this right" actually is, or will that turn of phrase also become some nebulous political point that is adjudicated in backroom deals where it becomes the currency of health care reform and Obama fiscal policy debate? Notwithstanding the obvious historical comparisons to LBJ, it's a wonder that Barack McNamara hasn't formulated a better response to this Afghanistan question already.


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Comments (13)

Hey Obama, you represent us... (Below threshold)
kathie:

Hey Obama, you represent us, us out here in America. What are you thinking? I'm involved in Afghanistan, because my country is, my fellow Americans are. We deserve to know your thinking other then you are going to get it right, We out here know getting it right is probably a gamble at best. Never the less we are interested in your thinking. You the President owe us that much. We are smarter then you think, stop being snippy, it's very unattractive!

I can think of about 68,000... (Below threshold)
Wiglaf:

I can think of about 68,000 people who

"are directly involved in what's happening in Afghanistan"

that might be highly critical of getting shot at and blown up for the last 3 months waiting for POTUS to

"recognize the gravity of the situation"

and make a damn decision.

Obama won't take a chance o... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Obama won't take a chance of making the wrong decision - and he doesn't know how to evaluate the info to arrive at the right decision. He simply doesn't have the experience, and all his training and indoctrination hasn't done one bit to help him prepare for anything like this.

And his advisors are drawn from the same mold. How can you figure out a solution when you cannot let yourself think of the military as being useful, or that there's a possibility of anything other than a defeat?

The underlying problem for ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The underlying problem for Obama is that there are no good answers for what to do in Afghanistan.

To prevent Pakistan and Afghanistan from becoming safe havens for Islamic Jihadist from which they can launch attacks on the west requires a long commitment of troops and an open ended commitment of treasure. Even if Obama could wipe out the current leaders of Al-Qaeda it would simply spring up again if there's a safe haven for it anywhere in the world.

Given the meagerness of their economy, Afghanistan simply can't sustain a military of it's own large enough to counter the taliban without many billions in aid per year from the US.

Obama knows that even the scheme of training a large Afghan army and funding it indefinitely will fail if corruption in the Afghan government prevents that money from improving the lives of the average Afghan. The problem is that corruption is the norm rather than the exception in Afghanistan politics.

It's the same bad choices Bush had and Obama is finding out why Afghanistan wasn't resolved by Bush. It's time for some out-of-the-box thinking. Lets see if Obama can come up with something.

This is a timing issue. Ms ... (Below threshold)
glenn:

This is a timing issue. Ms Loven asked the question when and where she did cause it won't make a ripple in the US. She wouldn't dare ask it in Washington. And if it's front page news in every major US paper and Wonderchin Williams leads with it tomorrow night I'll apologize.

Nah, it's not a timing issu... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

Nah, it's not a timing issue, Glenn. The problem is that Obama is confused about how to deal with the question when the answer is not "a sweeping new federal reform mandate", since he already has complete control of the military.

Imagine a Magic 8 Ball that only has one answer.

Mac Lorry offers cogent ana... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Mac Lorry offers cogent analysis, to which I would add only that the moment Obama commits to the troops and strategy requested by McChrystal, he will "own" the war - in similar fashion to the way "LBJ's War" in Vietnam became "Nixon's War" within a year.

This would not only complicate a later cut-and-run (an option Obama surely intends to keep open), but would infuriate his leftist base.

Personally, I think Obama's demand his advisers offer him "more options, including off-ramps" is quite telling. He wants to have a smorgasbord of options, demanding ever more choices until he sees what he really wants to do - at which point he will adopt it. When it inevitably fails, he will blame the advisers who "recommended" it, absolving himself from any blame.

That's his main concern, after all.

Of course liberals often li... (Below threshold)
klrtz1:

Of course liberals often lie to us. So what? Muslims also lie to us. Some might say the difference in how they each justify their lies is important. Liberals justify their lies by believing there is no truth and by believing the end justifies the means. Muslims, on the other hand, have a religion which encourages them to lie to infidels and other enemies.

So Muslims at least probably know when they are telling a lie. Barack Obama may not. When questioned about one of his lies Obama may not know why he feels irritated. He may not realize one of his lies needs to be defended. He lashes out at his questioner so his feeling of irritation can be transformed into a feeling of righteous indignation.

Well, we have to make do with the President we got. I, for one, hope his lashing out verbally keeps soothing his injured feelings and he doesn't need to take any stronger actions to achieve his goal of continuing to feel good about himself. Keep your fingers crossed, we only have about another three years and two months to go.

Question. Is it possible a... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Question. Is it possible a question like this is actually a plant? That is he actually wants to scold people who are questioning his delay in making his decision and so he does so through a planted question from a second tier reporter?

Is it possible a questio... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

Is it possible a question like this is actually a plant?

Of course it's possible. Now Obama can be on record for answering 'serious' questions about what his decision-making process is... despite the fact his answer was about as vague as it could be.

I believe he thinks that not making a decision is going to save his ass if it all goes pear-shaped, and if it doesn't he'll be able to take the credit for 'insightful' thinking on the problem. He's wrong on both counts.

What more do you expect. O... (Below threshold)
SShiell:

What more do you expect. Obama is doing exactly what he has done all along: "PRESENT!"

This reminds me of the Sgt.... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

This reminds me of the Sgt.'s assessment of Lt. Dyke in HBO's 'Band of Brothers'.

Sgt.(paraphrase) 'It wasn't that Dyke made BAD decisions. It's that he made NO decisions.'
When Easy Company needed leadership, the Lt. was nowhere to be found. Later, when faced with an existential crisis, Dyke had a mental breakdown. I hope Obama fares better.

Give Barry a break! He's v... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Give Barry a break! He's voting PRESENT! as loud as he can.




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