Let's Play Rewrite the Headline #3

Remember, the game is to pretend a rational person were writing the headline, instead of the editors in the state-run media. The Washington Post was given some background information on the Obama dithering on Afghanistan, in the hopes they would paint a glowing picture of the thoughtful commander in chief at work on one of the most critical issues of his presidency. They headlined the story: Obama pressed for faster surge. In the story, as Powerline revealed, the delay was caused by gross incompetence, not statesmanship. Reading between the lines of the Washington Post, Powerline writes:

Deeper into the Post’s article, we learn the real reason for the dithering: It turns out that, Gen. McChrystal’s proposal was based on instructions from the White House that Obama probably never believed in and certainly did not believe in when McChrystal presented his plan. If true, this reflects gross incompetence on the part of the administration.

According to the Post, the review process began in the second week of September. But McCrystal was not looped into the discussion until October 8. At that time, he made it clear that his mission was to “defeat the Taliban and secure the population.” This mission statement was challenged immediately by the administration on the grounds that it is impossible to defeat the Taliban. McChrystal noted, however, that this was precisely the mission he had been given, as enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan signed off on by the administration in March. Indeed, President Obama had said at that time that the U.S. would “defeat the the terrorists who oppose us.”

According to the Post, Obama and his team conceded at an October 9 meeting that McChrystal’s plan reflected what he had been told was his mission. He concluded, though, that the mission should be redefined. Naturally, this meant significant adjustment to McChrystal’s plan.

In short, the three-month delay occurred mostly because the White House had given McChrystal one mission and then decided to pursue a different one.
Paul Mirengoff goes on to offer his Rewrite The Headline offering:

The headline probably would have read: “Confusion over Afghan mission led to months of delay” or something to that effect. But because this is the Obama administration, the headline reads: “Obama pressed for faster surge.” The Post, in short, would rather downplay a scoop than damage Obama.

What’s would you write as the headline?

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