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Thread: Obama and the General

  1. #1
    Senior Member TXduckdog's Avatar
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    Default Obama and the General

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...mEditorialPage

    A few tidbits:

    Though a decorated Army four-star officer, the General's introduction to Beltway warfare is proving to be brutal. To be fair, Gen. McChrystal couldn't know that his Commander in Chief would go wobbly so soon on his commitment to him as well as to his own Afghan strategy when he was tapped for the job in AprilWe're told by people who know him that Gen. McChrystal "feels terrible" and "had no intention whatsoever of trying to lobby and influence" the Administration. His sense of bewilderment makes perfect sense anywhere but in the political battlefield of Washington. He was, after all, following orders.

    Recall that in March Mr. Obama unveiled his "comprehensive new strategy . . . to reverse the Taliban's gains and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government." The Commander in Chief pledged to properly resource this "war of necessity," which he also called during the 2008 campaign "the central front on terror." The President then sacked his war commander, who had been chosen by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in favor of Gen. McChrystal, an expert in counterinsurgency.

    Upon arriving in June, Gen. McChrystal launched his assessment of the forces required to execute the Obama strategy. His confidential study was completed in August and sent to the Pentagon. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen told Congress that more troops would be needed, and a figure of 30,000-40,000 was bandied about.

    The figure has clearly spooked the Administration. Soon after, Gen. McChrystal's confidential report was leaked to the Washington Post by, well, you'll have to ask Bob Woodward. The report said that the U.S. urgently needs to reverse a "deteriorating" security situation. Soon the full retreat began in Washington, led by a vocal group within the Administration that wants to scale back the mission. The White House told the Pentagon to hold off asking for troops and Gen. McChrystal not to testify to Congress. Remarkably, President Obama mused on the Sunday talks shows, "Are we doing the right thing?"

    As we've learned the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan, successful counterterrorism requires intelligence. This comes from earning the trust of the people, which in turn can only happen if they are protected. The Biden approach would pull U.S. soldiers back behind high walls, far from the field of battle, and turns security over to the Afghan army and police before they are prepared for the job.

    The President's very public waver is already doing strategic harm. The Taliban are getting a morale boost and claiming victory, while our allies in Europe have one more reason to rethink their own deployments. Such a victory, as the head of the British army Sir David Richards warned on Sunday, would have an "intoxicating effect" on extremist Islam around the world.

    Commanders in Chief can change their minds. George W. Bush waited too long to embrace the "surge." He had private doubts when the casualties also surged in 2007, but he gave the new approach a chance to succeed. Mr. Obama is blinking even before all the additional troops he ordered to Afghanistan have had time to deploy to the theater.
    Last edited by TXduckdog; 10-07-2009 at 08:58 AM.
    Train the dog, the ribbons will take care of themselves.

  2. #2
    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    This is not the first or only time a general on the ground has wanted more troops! Faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more troops! This has been replayed ever since Washington was put in charge of the Continental Army, except he didn't have a president to bicker with.

    Comparing this situation to Gen. Shinseki is not quite apples to apples. Gen. Shinseki was called to testify before Congress and was answering direct questions. He did not give a policy speech (or facsimile) overseas. Who leaked his (McC's) report to the Washington Post is also interesting, but will likely never be known. That's not the first time a leak has occurred in Washington, but for a former commander of the Joint Special Ops?? Doubt that was an accident or case of loose lips!

    Obama is not beholden to any one General. He answers to the American people, congress, and the troops he commands. I applaud his trepidation on making such a huge decision, and conferring with BOTH parties of congress, military advisers, both uniformed and suited.

    I am not ready to condemn McC, Obama, or Gates yet. Let them work through this. For those accusing him of lagging in his decision, I ask why all of the sudden is this an emergency to act NOW? We've let Afghanistan simmer for the past 7 years. I'm not personally sold on the idea that we have to occupy such a large area. Anyone who thinks the Taliban or al qaeda is limited to national borders is fooling themselves. Think of Afghanistan as your garage, al qaeda as cock-roaches, and us going in and turning the light on, and running around desperately stomping on every roach we can get a hold of. May feel good, but ultimately doesn't get rid of the roaches.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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    Senior Member TXduckdog's Avatar
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    Your last paragraph is genius.
    Train the dog, the ribbons will take care of themselves.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Goose's Avatar
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    General McChrystal or General Obama and General Biden? I think I'll go with the real general...McChrystal. Our Dear Leader never put on a uniform in his life and hates our military with a passion. He has more friends on the other side anyway. And Biden!!! Are you kidding me? He's a draft dodger. What the hell does he know about military needs. America's sons and daughters will continue getting killed over there with these two clowns in charge along with all of their political consultants. We will not win with them. Hell, Obama himself said he doesn't want to win and doesn't believe in victory. What a leader!

    I say bring our sons and daughters home now. If we're going to send another 40,000 American soldiers over there then BRING BACK THE DRAFT so we can all have fun. And let's start the draft with the children (or grandchildren) of the scum-bag politicians. Draft 'em and ship 'em over. Front line fodder.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    Comparing this situation to Gen. Shinseki is not quite apples to apples. Gen. Shinseki was called to testify before Congress and was answering direct questions. At least you've stopped repeating the hoohaw that Shinseki was fired for his troop level comments. Kudos. He did not give a policy speech (or facsimile) overseas. Who leaked his (McC's) report to the Washington Post is also interesting, but will likely never be known. That's not the first time a leak has occurred in Washington, but for a former commander of the Joint Special Ops?? Doubt that was an accident or case of loose lips! Who's to say the leak came from the Pentagon or McCrystal? The political weasels in the White House (any White House) outnumber the political weasels in the Pentagon by a 10:1 ratio. I've read that it could have leaked by the WH to give Obama some breathing room with the looney left ("Sorry, ya'll...the leak forced my hand and I had to send more troops."). It could have been leaked by the WH as a trial balloon to gauge the public/Congressional support. It could have been leaked by the WH to mobilize the looney left.

    Obama is not beholden to any one General. He answers to the American people, congress, and the troops he commands. I'd agree with that regardless of who is in the White House. You? Not so much. You're on record more than once here criticizing Bush for supposedly not listening to his general's advice. Don't feel bad, though. That hypocrisy is shared by many on the left.
    .............
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    Senior Member Gerry Clinchy's Avatar
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    Hew, you bring up an interesting point. Who would benefit most from the information leak? In what way? No question in my mind that it has given the administration a chance to gauge public opinion on the matter.

    The shame of it is that public opinion is probably the least informed opinion as it does not deal from the facts that are available to the Pres & the military. The safety of the troops,to the degree possible in their deployment while being effective; protection of the U.S. from terrorism (which includes keeping nukes out of the hands of AQ), and the personal safety of civilians in A'stan are at the core of what we set out to do. Decisions should be based on facts, not public opinion.

    getting too old to be that idealistic
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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    .............
    Hew,
    We won't accomplish anything by going round 10 here, but you're smart enough to know there is a difference between making policy and carrying out policy. Bush ignored military advice on how to execute his policy. Nobody was trying to alter his chosen policy. (no matter how poorly thought out it was, JMHO)

    What we ultimately do in Afghanistan is yet to be heard from our elected officials. When that decision is made, I would expect it to be carried out in a manner consistent with the general's advice.

    As for the leak, your question is valid. WHO IS saying it came from McC or the pentagon? Not me. Read my post carefully, and you will see I was questioning where it came from. I even commented to the effect that I would find it hard to believe a former JSOPs commander would let something "slip" out like that. IF.....IF he did, that would really cast a poor shadow on his understanding of his role. Not saying he did, just "IF". And I don't think I'm the only one wondering.

    Goose: Since I haven't been here throughout Bush's term, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you expressed outrage and lack of confidence in Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney, since one leap-frogged into a cushy reserve spot with long waiting list, then helped on campaign staffs instead of showing up for physicals or any other duty.....and the other had, what?--6 deferrments?? If you were outraged at that time, we can agree on that! Afterall, true concern for lack of military service shows no political boundaries, and no selective outrage, even if one's chosen party occupies the whitehouse.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Hew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dnf777 View Post
    Hew,
    We won't accomplish anything by going round 10 here, but you're smart enough to know there is a difference between making policy and carrying out policy. Bush ignored military advice on how to execute his policy. Nobody was trying to alter his chosen policy. (no matter how poorly thought out it was, JMHO) Did you need to break out some of your surgical instruments to try and split that fine of a hair?

    What we ultimately do in Afghanistan is yet to be heard from our elected officials. When that decision is made, I would expect it to be carried out in a manner consistent with the general's advice. And if he doesn't send every last one of the requested troops then I trust you'll be airing the same gripes that you did at Bush? This is me not holding my breath:

    As for the leak, your question is valid. WHO IS saying it came from McC or the pentagon? Not me. Read my post carefully, and you will see I was questioning where it came from. I even commented to the effect that I would find it hard to believe a former JSOPs commander would let something "slip" out like that. IF.....IF he did, that would really cast a poor shadow on his understanding of his role. Not saying he did, just "IF". And I don't think I'm the only one wondering. Kinda hard to square that with what you originally wrote: "That's not the first time a leak has occurred in Washington, but for a former commander of the Joint Special Ops?? Doubt that was an accident or case of loose lips!" Regardless, thanks for clarifying. Maybe you should have used one of those "ifs" in the original post.
    ................
    I'll take the river down to still water and ride a pack of dogs.

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    Senior Member Bob Gutermuth's Avatar
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    Osama, to quote General George Patton, 'knows as much about fighting as he does about fornicating'. He should let the real generals run the war. Hitler made the same mistake repeatedly by telling his generals what to do, but at least he was a corporal with an Iron Cross and spent time in the military in WWI. Osama has NO military experience.
    Bob Gutermuth
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    Senior Member dnf777's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hew View Post
    ................
    You missed my point, or exaggerated them. There is a pretty clear distinction between giving advice on how to execute a given mission, and formulating the mission itself. If a boss tells his team "this is what I want done, what's the best way to do it?", he expects people to tell him. He doesn't expect people to tell him they don't want to do the project, and instead, we're doing something else. Determining policy and carrying out policy are two different processes, and should not be confused. Split hairs if you must, I don't think it's that complicated.

    I think "leak" is a misnomer. That implies it accidently slipped out. Most "leaks" are intentional, designed to sway opinion on a matter. You're right, it could have easily been the WH, as well as McC, or the Pentagon?? I'm not sure how it would benefit the WH. If anything, it seems to sway opinion towards quick troop deployment, which is what McC and McCain both have publicly expressed they want.

    If Obama chooses to continue/escalate the war in Afghanistan, and he does NOT follow his general's advice at that time, I will be disappointed. It is beginning to sound like he is going to commit to this strategy, although there is certainly alternative discussions going on, no doubt. One thing for sure, it will be one helluva big investment, that we will need to borrow from future generations to pay for. (or the Chinese)
    Last edited by dnf777; 10-07-2009 at 04:02 PM.
    God Bless PFC Jamie Harkness. The US Army's newest PFC, but still our neighbor's little girl!

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