Sunday, December 06, 2009

Pushed to the Left

No, not the health care plan, that's a statement Obama presumably made during a series of dithering withering questions to his military advisors about the decision on Af-Pak:
When the history of the Obama presidency is written, that day with the chart may prove to be a turning point, the moment a young commander in chief set in motion a high-stakes gamble to turn around a losing war. By moving the bell curve to the left, Mr. Obama decided to send 30,000 troops mostly in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after that, betting that a quick jolt of extra forces could knock the enemy back on its heels enough for the Afghans to take over the fight.
Just please don't call it a surge, thanks. Meanwhile the archrival WaPo had an insider scoop of their own:
In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a slide: "Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population."

"Is that really what you think your mission is?" one of those in the Situation Room asked.
So let's see, we're being asked to believe a general was commanding forces in the field based on a plan sent to him by an administration that had no clue what he was doing? No wonder Obama had to go into overdrive on Black Friday (no pun intended) to figure this out (Times again):
Mr. Obama devoted so much time to the Afghan issue — nearly 11 hours on the day after Thanksgiving alone — that he joked, “I’ve got more deeply in the weeds than a president should, and now you guys need to solve this.”
Nice catch, btw. If you're thinking this is disparity city you have a functioning brain. Here's what Obama told the VFW on August 17th, BEFORE the McChrystal troop request had been leaked to Bob Woodward:
That is why I have made this pledge to our armed forces: I will only send you into harm's way when it is absolutely necessary. When I do, it will be based on good intelligence and guided by a sound strategy. And I will give you a clear mission, defined goals and the equipment and support you need to get the job done.
Which is odd considering his apparent cluelessness about the exact mission weeks later. By the way this speech was known for its urgency: " this is not only a war worth fighting. This is fundamental to the defense of our people.". Contrast that with the caveat offered at the West Point speech:
"As president," he said, "I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means or our interests."
If it's fundamental to the defense of America why would there ever be an expiration date placed on it? "We're in it to win it in 18 but after that we're going to the 19th hole to grab some health care"? A more cynical blogger might facetiously suggest political motives in play here just sayin.

Finally, there was only one mention of Osama bin Laden in the West Point speech and it was in a historical context (as opposed to a sending him to hell context). Once upon a time Bush was bashed for excluding him in speeches and interviews, to the point one blogger suggested a democrat might be hanged for doing likewise. Don't call it rancor--just words.

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