Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Obama finally makes a decision

It's hard to find a report on Obama's strategy for Afghanistan that doesn't include the word dithering.

Obama announced last March that he had done a complete review and put together a cohesive strategy. (It was actually the Bush administration that did the review and put together the strategy. Obama adopted it as his own, then complained that Bush hadn't put a strategy together -- pretty slimy, even for a politician.) Then, after Obama's handpicked general requested the troops that he needs to execute the strategy, Obama suddenly announced that we've never had a strategy, and that he needed to do a review and put one together. (Guess that whole thing back in March was a sham, or incompetence, or whatever.) So, after many weeks of, um, dithering, it seems Obama has finally decided to go with the surge strategy that Bush recommended from the beginning. Which brings us to this:
[General] McChrystal wanted 40,000 and the president has tentatively decided to send four combat brigades plus thousands more support troops. A senior officer says "that's close to what [McChrystal] asked for." All the president's military advisers have recommended sending more troops.
So all the president's military advisers agree with McChrystal's estimate of what is needed to win the war, but Obama, who has no military experience whatsoever, ignores them. Make sense to you? Because it doesn't to me. Then there's this:
The first combat troops would not arrive until early next year and it would be the end of 2010 before they were all there. That makes this Afghanistan surge very different from the Iraq surge, in which 30,000 troops descended on Baghdad and the surrounding area in just five months.
No. That makes the Afghanistan surge not a surge, but rather a slow build up -- an, um, swell maybe? Haven't we learned anything from our experiences in Iraq? We have to stop trying to win wars on the cheap. We need to go in strong and win and get out. I'm very wary of anything Colin Powell has to say, but he was right about one thing: if you're going to fight, you go in with overwhelming force.

I hate to think Obama is willing to risk American lives and defeat in Afghanistan in order to appease his anti-war base, but I can't think of any other reason why he would ignore his own experts and opt to go with surge-lite. I'd rather believe that he's acting out of incompetence than trying to win political points. But he's supposed to be intelligent, so if he doesn't know what he's doing, why not listen to the experts?

Not good, this.

More here.

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