Blind leading the blind on Afghanistan policy

During the election one of the counter arguments to Obama’s lack of foreign policy experience–from those that would admit that lack–was that no president makes decisions solo anymore. It was argued that he would surround himself with people more experienced in those areas and thus make informed decisions.

Recent developments concerning Afghanistan have put that theory to the test. Little less than a month ago, General McChrystal called for more troops.

Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.

There’s the first test. An experienced general with his finger on the pulse of the situation had made a recommendation. Was Obama listening? The answer, as it turned out, was no. In a shocking revelation, it was revealed that Obama and McChrystal had spoken only once since the general was given command of forces in Afghanistan.

OK, if he isn’t listening to military commanders, maybe he is listening to senators. We can even give him a pass on those dubious conservative senators–they are just out to trap Obama anyway and make him look bad. But here we find that Senator Feinstein, who is about as liberal as possible, seems to agree with McChrystal.

…Obama has an obligation to follow his commander’s advice.

“I don’t know how you put somebody in who was as crackerjack as General McChrystal, who gives the president very solid recommendations, and not take those recommendations if you’re not going to pull out,” Feinstein said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“If you don’t want to take the recommendations, then you put your people in such jeopardy.” While Feinstein is certainly no military expert, she recognizes that McChrystal is an expert and he has convinced her. If he isn’t listening to generals, or to the head of the intelligence committee, just who is he listening to? Could it be … military expert … John Kerry? In taped remarks to air Sunday, John Kerry says it is too soon to send more troops to Afghanistan.

With Afghanistan’s election crisis deepening, Sen. John Kerry says it would be irresponsible for the U.S. to consider sending additional troops to the region at this time.

In taped remarks to air Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Kerry said it would be misguided to have a troop buildup to achieve a mission of “good governance” when the election is not yet finished.Is there any surprise that the morale of troops in Afghanistan is down?

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