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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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Comments (10)

I say we send good ol' John... (Below threshold)

I say we send good ol' John over there and let him school them on election politics. Lets see how long its 'til he is screaming for more support. Oh by the way, and tell him "don't come back until you think they have sufficiently finished the election process."

"don't come back until you ... (Below threshold)

"don't come back until you think they have sufficiently finished the election process."
Ha! Kerry would just write himself up for a Purple Heart and get MedEvaced.

Barry's not stalling, he's voting "Present!". Just as the Iranians had until Sept to make a decision, then October (what next, November?); Barry will string out the time 'evaluating policy'. Then he'll pull the plug and flee the country, WHICH IS WHAT HE'S WANTED TO DO SINCE DAY ONE.

I thought that the plan was... (Below threshold)
jim m:

I thought that the plan was to withdraw sufficient support and to make the rules of engagement difficult enough that our boys would be killed at a faster rate and then Obama could declare it a lost cause, blame Bush for getting involved in the first place, and proclaim the defeat of the United States.

Suppose Obama didn't know t... (Below threshold)

Suppose Obama didn't know the difference between a counter- insurgency and a counter-terror approach. The 12 thousand troops that Bush ordered before he left office, Obama sort of took credit for them as they deployed on his watch. Those troops spoke to Obama saying that Afghanistan was the real front of the war on terror. I'm trying to think of why he was so surprised at the number of troops that McChrystal wanted if he hired him for a counter-insurgency.

It's this simple. "O" has t... (Below threshold)
recoverying liberal democrat:

It's this simple. "O" has to lose this war. His well funded, vocal base demands it. He cannot follow Bush's policy, put in the hands of Petraus to stabilize Iraq, because we should never have retaliated for 9/11 in the first place. He will need something to offer in 2010 and that will be that he ended the war in order to help his support in congress. His teleprompter will say that although it was "the" just war it morphed into a quagmire before he could save it without too many losses. Kerry and Biden being involved in the decision is a bad omen for the military. Both of them were made to look foolish and stupid in Iraq's relative pacification by the surge and they aren't about to let that happen again. Everyday passing without a decisive move in Afghanistan gives the terrorists and the loony, America hating left, hope.

Let me preface by saying th... (Below threshold)

Let me preface by saying that I am a retired military officer, though not a ground pounder. So, you are a senior NCO, a Major, or a Lieutenant Colonel or in Afghanistan right now. You've got Internet access and read the news closely. How hard are you going to press your folks to engage? Let's say you are an E-3. How hard are you going to press the engagement? I know my answer...I'm going into force protection mode. "The assholes in Washington aren't out to win, so why should my guys die?" It's a pretty clear equation. The lack of moral leadership makes the whole thing immoral.

These are deep waters, and ... (Below threshold)

These are deep waters, and it gets down to which approach gives him the most political cover. These are complex matters which take time.

Should he concentrate on short term considerations, which might distract from his healthcare offensive?

Or should he concentrate on long term considerations, such as his prospects for quick passage of Cap and Trade or a second Stimulus bill?

But enough about Obama. What could YOU do to help him preserve his popularity?

Will BHO send more troops t... (Below threshold)

Will BHO send more troops to win the Over Sea Contingency Plan against Man caused disasters?
Will he pull our troops out? Will he needless deplete American Military forces?
Are there other issues we just do not understand? Let take some heavy drugs lower our IQ to 5 and enter the mind of radical leftist using thier own words.

Just like any good Politian he was for it before he was against it.

We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops that we are not just air raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.

Look people are DYING from a lack of healthcare today. He has to do something about that now.

After all, there is no controlling legal authority that put the life of military personal under his control.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States...

I am sure Kerry told him he is doing the American people a solid, by reducing the number of stupid people in the world.

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, uh, you, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

I mean aside from being stupid, killing civies, and being Dangerous.

(U//FOUO) DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the capabilities of extremists--including lone wolves or small terrorist cells--to carry out violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

They actually take an oath to protect and defend that racist fundamentally flawed document The Constitution.

I think it's a remarkable document...but I think it is an imperfect document. And I think it is a document that reflects some deep flaws in American culture, the colonial culture, nascent at that time. African-Americans were not--first of all they were not African-Americans. The Africans at the time were not considered as part of the polity that was of concern to the Framers. I think that as Richard said it was a nagging problem, in the same way that these days we might think of environmental issues or some other problem where you have to balance cost-benefits, as opposed to seeing it as a moral problem involving persons of moral worth.

And in that sense I think that we can say the Constitution reflected an enormous blind spot in this culture that carries on until this day and the Framers had that same blind spot

I mean aside from the document having flaws, it really does not do anything positive for the People of the US.

...It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, as least as it's been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties, says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf. And that hasn't shifted."

So the less people who are alive that believe in that document much less take an oath to defend it the better it is for social change.

In this era of PAX Obama is what we need a DoD?

We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security forcethat's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded."

The New World of OBAMA needs everyone

"People of all ages, stations, and skills will be asked to serve."

BHO MMM MMM MMM aka Hail to Victory

Um thought ... (Below threshold)

Um thought this was a Afganistan
forum. And as far as that subject goes
those people are A. not all taliban or fantics
B. it doesnt realy cost 100s of millions
c. wtf wow space vacumed energy rocks the world you figured it out. D. Those soldiers just dont want to fight E. Or maybe they dont know how. F. i declare a contest!! to end the defference.first we can build a cool place then we can make garden's and after its planted we can fight and bleed all over then after we fix it all up we can say it is great.

The first paragraph of this... (Below threshold)

The first paragraph of this blog misrepresents reality. All decisions that a president makes are his and his alone. Information and opinions may come in from all sides, but the ultimate decision is made by one man. If the administration's policy in Afghanistan fails, it will be Obama's failure, not his advisors'.

This decision is as much about the value of American blood as it is about stabilizing a country which appears impossible to stabilize. If I were a soldier or I had a son or daughter in the military, I would be extremely grateful that the President is carefully considering alternatives and facts on the ground and resisting those who are pushing for a quick decision.






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