November 30, 2008

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs finds Obama to be "a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead."

WaPo reports on the 45-minute conversation between Adm. Michael Mullen and the President-elect:
There was little talk of exiting Iraq or beefing up the U.S. force in Afghanistan; the one-on-one, 45-minute conversation ranged from the personal to the philosophical. Mullen came away with what he wanted: a view of the next president as a non-ideological pragmatist who was willing to both listen and lead. After the meeting, the chairman "felt very good, very positive"...

As Obama prepares to announce his national security team tomorrow, he faces a military that has long mistrusted Democrats and is particularly wary of a young, intellectual leader with no experience in uniform, who once called Iraq a "dumb" war....

But so far, Obama appears to be going out of his way to reassure them that he will do nothing rash and will seek their advice, even while making clear that he may not always take it....
Obama may, in fact, satisfy the military in ways that Bush did not:
"Open and serious debate versus ideological certitude will be a great relief to the military leaders," said retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations. Senior officers are aware that few in their ranks voiced misgivings over the Iraq war, but they counter that they were not encouraged to do so by the Bush White House or the Pentagon under Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"The joke was that when you leave a meeting, everybody is supposed to drink the Kool-Aid," Nash said. "In the Bush administration, you had to drink the Kool-Aid before you got to go to the meeting."

37 comments:

Paddy O. said...

So, what you're saying is that people want to have influence in the next administration, so they say nice, appropriate things that will help them get that influence?

Bob said...

Ass-kissers.

Bissage said...

“Only cowards insult dying majesty.”

LINK.

If President Bush is the sick lion, then what does that make retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nash of the Council on Foreign Relations?

Sissy Willis said...

And the geopolitically profound Iraq victory that history will rightfully credit President Bush with will be spun by our friends in the media as President Obama's "Peaceable Kingdon" achievement.

Will our fellow citizens buy it?

Zeb Quinn said...

Will our fellow citizens buy it?

To a large extent they probably will. All the Obama supporters will be loudly proclaiming, "See, we told you so." And nobody will remember, let alone want to remember, exactly what Obama was saying when he got his mojo going in the first place.

Darcy said...

Umm...anybody else unimpressed with the weasel Maj. Gen. Nash? So, he put down his principles and picked up the Kool-Aid, eh? Way to go!

I'm sure all will be well for him now, and his counsel will definitely be sought with great confidence!

Isn't it interesting that the media feels these types are great examples in reinforcing their own thoughts?

Der Hahn said...

I'm particularly unimpressed by the Nash quotes since he retired from the Army in 1998.

American Liberal Elite said...

"the geopolitically profound Iraq victory"

Someone's been drinking a lot of Kool-Aid.

Original George said...

The key graph was buried:

"Although Gen. David McKiernan, the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, has requested four more U.S. combat brigades, some Pentagon strategists believe a smaller presence of Special Forces and trainers for Afghan forces -- and more attention to Pakistan -- is advisable."

More US troops in Afghanistan and more air strikes against targets there and in Pakistan will create more, not less, instability in both countries.

Send in that "smaller presence" of soldiers (and others) to do community development and organizing, which is Obama's biggest apparent skill, and train the Afghans to take care of themselves, ala Vietnamization.

"Local teams with on-site development personnel—“District Development Teams,” if you will—could change all that, and also serve to support nonmilitary development projects. State Department and USAID personnel, along with medics, veterinarians, engineers, agricultural experts, hydrologists, and so on, could live on the local compounds and work in their districts daily, building trust and confidence."

Wars against guerillas are won by the side that's best able to provide sewers, schools, and safety.

Mark O said...

When does President Obama institute the new draft?

EDH said...

Can anyone point to an example of Obama tolerating any form of dissent within the ranks of his campaign or elsewhere?

This is the biggest gap due to his lack of executive experience.

Perhaps the Hillary appointment is an indication he's prepared, but we'll see, won't we, when he's the decider.

PatCA said...

Wow, for a general he sure isn't very brave. He drank the Kool-Aid and then told tales out of school! Did he draw funny pictures of the boss during meetings and then pass them around? Ha, Ha!

I hope he's right about Obama; however, I expect lots of salutary reports like this based on nothing but the thin air of hopenchange.

PatCA said...

From the article, "Obama has been careful to separate his criticism of Bush policy from his praise of the military's valor and performance."


Oh, Really?

Jack said...

Most of us who voted for Obama knew he was likely going to govern the way this article suggests he will. Our heads are not exploding. The exploding heads are among those on the right who thought he was some kind of an extremist.

What's going to be entertaining is watching how the right responds to the actual, living, breathing Obama. Will they believe their own eyes and adjust their impressions to match reality? (Some already have.) Or will they cling desperately to their assumptions that he's a wild-eyed extremist/socialist/Marxist?

We shall see.

Chip Ahoy said...

Let me get this straight. Mustn't misunderstand things.

a.) Acknowledging Obama's career was launched in the home of one-time domestic terrorist aspirant, come college professor

+

b.) Acknowledging Obama's own words regarding "spreading the wealth around," in response to a question about taxes

=

c.) wild-eyed extremist/socialist/Marxist.

Do I have the logical conclusions you're projecting right?

Trooper York said...

This sounds promising. Good luck to the President Elect. I hope he is smart enough to know that there is alot he doesn't know. It seems that he does and thats very good news.

PatCA said...

Bill Clinton had a Republican Sec Def too. Is this a pattern or something? Is military leadership that odious, or that unfamiliar, to the modern Dems?

The Drill SGT said...

"The joke was that when you leave a meeting, everybody is supposed to drink the Kool-Aid," Nash said. "In the Bush administration, you had to drink the Kool-Aid before you got to go to the meeting."

This was more Rumsfeld rather than Bush.

On the bigger issue. Afghanistan is ultimately unwinnable. Afghanistan is still in the 18th or 19th century, unlike Iraq which was in the 20th.

The best we can hope for is a draw in Afghanistan. a strong central government able to control the country is NOT possible.

johngalt47 said...

Do we really want the JCS to make policy? I want their input on straegy and operational decisions, but policy should be left to the civilian leadership.

Job said...

I've got no sympathy for 50-year old men who are at the top of their profession--their nations' premier warriors--who cannot tell the boss that he is wrong.

Lives hang in the balance. Your nation's freedom is at stake. The people deserve your best advice.

If you think the President is wrong, you MUST tell him so. That is your responsibility, not his.

If the President fires a general for disagreeing, then we can hold the President responsible for the decision.

But if the President doesn't hear the argument, then it is the underling's fault.

But I have no sympathy for a general/admiral who is afraid to contradict his boss. No sympathy. None. Grow a pair.

eaglewingz08 said...

Nash is an uber liberal working for an uber liberal think tank. The fact that WaPo would quote him without disclosure of same is but another footnote in liberal media bias. It makes it difficult also to believe any other quote contained in the article. Obama is non ideological,yes, in the same way that Hillary said in rejecting an appearance at the anti Iran rally. You can have all democrats at the event and it will be non ideological, but once even one repub shows up, even if outnumbered 1000 to one, the even thereby becomes ideological, because Repubs are ideological ipso facto. So when that other military officer says Obama is non ideological (or when the WaPo makes up that quote) they merely state Obama is a down and dirty democrat. This is the virtue of learning demspeak.

Cedarford said...

EDH said...
Can anyone point to an example of Obama tolerating any form of dissent within the ranks of his campaign or elsewhere?

This is the biggest gap due to his lack of executive experience.


Observors credit Obama with having one of the best-led Presidential campaigns ever. Few leaks, good message control, disputes settled within the organization.

Rather than be a symptom of his lack of exectutive ability, most took it instead for a sign of such talent.
That includes the Pentagon, which Milblogs reported was just about evenly split last summer, then even leaning significantly to Obama in October. The Obama strength there was a reflection of his potential, how he out-thought, out-fought, and out-organized McCain and Hillary (save at the end when her primary victories were just the rubble of her hope bouncing). And a reflection of the Pentagon not trusting McCain, seeing him lacking any vision for the military, and afflicted with the "I know best, I fought heroically" Little Corporal Syndrome.

**********

johngalt47 said...
Do we really want the JCS to make policy? I want their input on strategy and operational decisions, but policy should be left to the civilian leadership.


Our biggest problem in military-covilian DOD relations is that since civilians control the promotions, the "favor with with post-military career jobs in defense, national security would be viewed" there is a natural inhibition against pushing back, towards "being a Team Player" so you don't get "Shiniseki'd".

Those who say the military can always resign on principle just as lawyers, academics, bankers, businessmen in Gov't sometimes do - and that is adequate to ensure "good officers of conviction and conscience speak up" and correct Vietnam, Iraq catastrophically bad civilian management at DOD - miss one great salient fact:

A person outside the military who resigns on principle is still a lawyer, academic, banker, businessman with a career and a firm or institute or university to continue on what they do, at the same or higher pay.

A military person who resigns is a retiree.
Career as an officer in his or her field over.

Little possibility of landing a good civilian job in defense while the civilians he or she resigned against, control the contracts.

***************
Drill SGT sadly and correctly notes by way of his comments that that Bush's claim to have "liberated 50 million people" - will likely be down to 23 million soon, as Afghanistan reverts back to what it has always been.
(And the verdict isn't clear on Iraq if the Islamist Parties have the power. In the 50s through the early 70s, Iraq had a more modern society and higher education and standard of living than any Arab nation except Lebanon, and better than most Asian countries. It regressed significantly..)

Original George - —“District Development Teams,” if you will—could change all that, and also serve to support nonmilitary development projects. State Department and USAID personnel, along with medics, veterinarians, engineers, agricultural experts, hydrologists, and so on, could live on the local compounds and work in their districts daily, building trust and confidence."

Wars against guerillas are won by the side that's best able to provide sewers, schools, and safety.


If we believe that, we could be making another great Soviet mistake. The Russians set to transform Afghanistan into a modern. progressive communist country bringing in their hydrologists, engineers, building dams. Power plants. Dozens of schools and new govenment facilities. All for nought. That they were unbelievers and there without welcome and only had a puppet government of paid lackeys in Kabul and a few other city strongholds mattered more.

The last Red Army tanks left Afghanistan about the same time their last native Afghan stoogies and cadres of party officials technicians trained in USSR were being dragged out, castrated, shot..then their dead bodies dragged around town by Reagan's beloved "Holy Mujahadeed Freedom Lovers".
A fate Karzai and other puppets have been hedging against by insisting on large US bribes and putting that and their heoin gains in Swiss bank accounts or US business and properties with "courtesy passports" at the ready..

Michael said...

PatCA said..."Bill Clinton had a Republican Sec Def too. Is this a pattern or something? Is military leadership that odious, or that unfamiliar, to the modern Dems?"

Yeah, that's it. It couldn't possibly be related to intellect or wanting the very best for the country, regardless of politics.

It's some kind of "odious" behavior on the part of President-elect Obama.

What's wrong wit you? Do you not want America to succeed? Are your politic leanings so partisan you can't at least root for our new President?

Get on board, asshole.

Fatmouse said...

Are your politic leanings so partisan you can't at least root for our new President?

Did you ever, EVER get behind Bush, besides maybe five minutes after 9/11? Or were you one of the endless masses that hated him the moment the election count ended, since he "stole" it.

Get on board, asshole.

Oh, charming. Or what? To the re-education center?

Asshole.

Michael said...

Fatmouse: Your whining is just another example of the wingnut's standard bullshit.

The WORLD was behind Bush after 9/11 and he blew it out his ass.

Obama isn't even President yet and a majority of the jerkoffs on this site are already rooting for him to fail.

Bush made his own bed and unless you're a fucking moron...you know it, too.

Bitching about those who do not or never supported George W. Bush is disingenuous at best and the recent election is proof positive.

If YOU think this man has done a good job you're an idiot.

Michael said...

Fat Mouth: I can't help but notice you've disappeared.

Gutless fuck.

PatCA said...

"Get on board, asshole."

Or what?

Michael said...

PatCA said..."Or what?"

Find another country, weasel.

Oh, and suck my dick.

Darcy said...

You're sickening, Michael. That's a lady you just addressed like that.

Michael said...

Darcy, you too.

Michael said...

"Umm...anybody else unimpressed with the weasel Maj. Gen. Nash? So, he put down his principles and picked up the Kool-Aid, eh? Way to go!"

Where did YOU serve?

Michael said...

Darcy: I'm sorry...did I miss it?

Where did you say where YOU served?

Talk is cheap.

Ralph said...

I was going to point out that ADM Mullens is eligible for another 2 year term as CJCS after Sept 09, but Michael has already shat on this comment thread.

scinfinity said...

What's wrong wit you? Do you not want America to succeed? Are your politic leanings so partisan you can't at least root for our new President?

Get on board, asshole.


So, dissent ISN'T the highest form of patriotism any more?

PatCA said...

"So, dissent ISN'T the highest form of patriotism any more?"

Guess not! The creepy thing is, people of his ilk probably think that way in real life too.

Bob said...

Just to clarify that Clinton's Republican SecDef came in because his first SecDef's decisions on Somalia were bad. Obama shows good judgement in keeping Gates on. But also means Iraq policy changes will be marginal. Frankly same for Afghanistan. The central issue is that the problem in Afghanistan is located across the border in Pakistan. We either attack the source or we seal the border or secure the population. We're trying to do the last two on the cheap.

The "local teams" concept has been used in Afghanistan for 5 years and in Iraq for 3 years. They are called Provincial Teams. Staffed with military and maybe one State and one USAID person.

Ralph said...

...his first SecDef's decisions on Somalia were bad
True, but there was another man inbetween (Perry?). The Dems' Defense bench isn't very deep.