November 12, 2009

A "senior administration official" leaked that Obama is rejecting all the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team.

The Obama administration continues its dithering and leaking.

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
Paul Zrimsek said...

Give me a plan that makes better use of our in-theater unicorn assets!

David said...

The mother of a soldier killed last week in Afganistan last week specifically called out Obama in a statement today. She asked him to make a decision. Soon. Now.

She had the good taste not to point out that the delay in getting more resources--or getting out--has important consequences to the soldiers already there.

Obama seems not to give a shit about this aspect of his glacial process.

One might even wonder how many American deaths that delay is causing.

Henry said...

Fuel up the helicopter.

* * *

We may as well cut and run now. Even if Obama borrows a backbone for the moment, who's to say he won't have misplaced it by tomorrow?

We cannot fight a war of any kind unless there is a long-term political commitment to military success.

In Iraq, it took a president who was willing to abandon his popularity and tank his entire domestic platform to preserve that commitment to the military (admittedly, after the tragedy of years of half-assed bungling).

The current administration doesn't have that commitment and never will. If they don't abandon Afghanistan this year, they will next. All it will take is one more friendly-fire accident, one more Taliban terrorist success, one more screwed up Afghan election, and the pullback will be under way before you can say "drone bomber."

Since that will be the case, there's no point in wasting any more soldiers' lives.

rhhardin said...

More cowbells in the options.

Robert Cook said...

Of the few positive things I might be able to muster up to say of Obama, his taking his time before committing more American soldiers to our pointless campaign of murder in Afghanistan is one. However, my inclination to commend him for wanting to consider carefully rather than act precipitously, (or wanting to look as if he's considering carefully before acting precipitously) is undercut by my resigned near-certainty that he will accede to some degree to the request to send more troops.

The only sane thing to do is to withdraw all troops from our terror wars abroad. Bring 'em home and shut down our imperial crusades!

It won't happen, of course, and thus we continue our decline toward ultimate expiration as a world power.

Jason said...

I'm thinking there's a decision matrix out there that has a backwards time plan from 'boots-on-the-ground in time for campaign season' all the way back through the alert and pre-mobilization/mobilization process, and that the planning staffs know when that cutoff date is. It can't be far off, though, and the closer we cut it, the fewer options the president has.

former law student said...

Could this be because all the options suck?

I'm assuming that "turn the place over to the Taliban" is not our goal here. The other goals are much harder to reach, and may not be possible within the current constraints.

Peter S. said...

"[T]here's no point in wasting any more soldiers' lives."

Fair enough, but I seem to remember a time when any talk about soldiers' lives being "wasted" in a bungled foreign conflict was seen as unsupportive, unpatriotic, and disrespectful to "the troops."

AJ Lynch said...

So Robert Cook is despondent that we are in decline as a world power?

And yet you don't want us to use our world power in Iraq and Afghan? I am confused.

Peter S. said...

How is rejecting the options an example of continued "dithering"? Seems like a choice to me. Make your claim about whether you think it was a good or bad choice -- and, if the latter, which option he should have taken.

phosphorious said...

Just to be clear: it is Professor Althouse who calls this "dithering" and not the article, right?

I can't always tell when the opinions expressed are hers.

The Drill SGT said...

Lead, Follow, or get out of the way.

Obviously the mother that David cites has a better understanding of the situation that does the O.

It would be one thing to dither about attacking somebody (e.g Iran), but we already have troops under fire in A-stan, so the absence of a decision to reinforce or pull-out is a decision to leave them hanging, under resourced, under fire.

The more important issue is that in this fight, which is for the hearts and minds, uncertainity and lack of comittment dooms the effort. In a COIN operation, you are trying to convince 4 sets of folks that you mean business. The impacts of dithering by us on each party can be summaried as:

- the enemy: Increased will to resist and plans to wait us out.
- the people: Decreased cooperation, decreased information on enemy operations and the location of bad guys
- your allies: Lack of interest in supporting us with more troops or treasure.
- the local leadership: Increased corruption to get cash while they can, increased deal cutting with the enemy to provide an alternative base of power when we inevitably cut and run

The place will go down the toilet if we dont stop dithering. Any decision has a better impact on our morale and the 4 groups mentioned above.

Alex said...

All of your righties are pwned by FLS and Cookie.

Henry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...

"Could this be because all the options suck?"

That's the job of being President--to make and stick with a decision when the options suck.

The options pretty much sucked when Nimitz sent his forces to meet the Japanese at Midway.

Truman's options about whether to use the A-Bomb weren't very attractive either.

Lincoln did not have very many attractive options after the southern states succeeded.

Nor Roosevelt in 1933, or Washington at Valley Forge, nor Truman when the Chinese came pouring across the Yalu River.

He's the President but so far a weak and indecisive one.

I'm all for caution. This process is way beyond caution.

Balfegor said...

Fair enough, but I seem to remember a time when any talk about soldiers' lives being "wasted" in a bungled foreign conflict was seen as unsupportive, unpatriotic, and disrespectful to "the troops."

It would be one thing if the President actually had some plan, even if it was a bad one. But he's not even pretending to have a clue what to do. On the contrary, he is broadcasting a theatrical indecision about what we should do in Afghanistan -- even what our goals should be -- and has been doing so since at least August.

Robert Cook said...

Well, I almost added to my lament, "but perhaps that is a good thing."

However, we don't need to be a militarized nation in order to be a world power; we can withdraw from our murderous and financially ruinous military aggression abroad and focus on rebuilding our nation as a powerhouse of agriculture, manufacturing, scientific research and development, etc., while striving to provide good-paying jobs, housing and healthcare to our citizens.

As it stands, our determination to maintain our military infrastucture and expenditures will destroy our capacity to rebuild our domestic national health and wealth.

Henry said...

Peter S -- So?

The fact that our political class maintained a unified commitment to our military actions in Iraq for barely a year or two represents, in retrospect, one of the greatest hazards in starting the war in the first place. It should have been most obvious, yet it was almost entire unacknowledged. This is a lesson to apply to the present.

Methadras said...

former law student said...

Could this be because all the options suck?

I'm assuming that "turn the place over to the Taliban" is not our goal here. The other goals are much harder to reach, and may not be possible within the current constraints.


In war, all options suck. However, if you are going to fight a war, fight to win. This appears to be something that has been lost on leadership for the last 30 years or so. Rules of Engagement need to change and in that change, victory will ensue. But as long as the Splunge-in-Chief has his way, then nothing will get done and if he ever does make a decision it will be so neutered as to be rendered ineffective. But hey, at least he got off the pot from taking a shit, right?

traditionalguy said...

So make the decision and get in with a plan to win, or admit that winning is not possible, and get out ASAP. No one wants to die in the last fight before the Army and Marines are withdrawn. Just please don't put 30,000 more pawns in for a political cover up.

TosaGuy said...

"Could this be because all the options suck?"

They do all suck. However, true leaders face that quandry on a regular basis and it is not an excuse for not making a decision.

I will support the President if he goes all in or all out, but I won't support his inability to make a decision.

rocketeer67 said...

The only sane thing to do is to withdraw all troops from our terror wars abroad. Bring 'em home and shut down our imperial crusades!

Imperial crusades? Well, if you say so. You have a very strained and weird concept of empire, apparently.

Darcy said...

LOL! I truly hope Althouse comments on the idea that rejecting the options at this point is not "dithering".

More options, please. And faster, please. Commit or pull our brave Americans out. I think someone who ran on Afghanistan being the real war we should be fighting should be able to man up to that decision. In a timely fashion.

Original Mike said...

I'm assuming that "turn the place over to the Taliban" is not our goal here.

Well, unless your name is Robert Cook.

miller said...

President Dither sings "One Day More!", hoping that the decision will somehow be made for him as he waits for someone to do the icky task of, you know, leading.

David said...

Robert Cook:

You are right. We don't need to be a militarized nation to be a world power.

Unless of course the other nations seeking to exercise power throughout the world are militarized.

We were barely--just barely--militarized in 1941 due to the efforts of Roosevelt and some congress critters who actually were willing to take political risks.

Fortunately the nature of the world then was such that we had an opportunity to use our industrial power over time to become strong.

Somewhere between 100 and 150 million people died worldwide during the Second World War, which was caused and made extended and bloody in significant part because France, England and the United States were militarily weak and indecisive.

Spend some time, if you will, studying China's plans for military development. They are extensive and well thought out.

Do you want to cede world military domination to China?

Lem said...

Will no one tell me what I long to hear?

Lem said...

Will no one rid me of this meddlesome war?

Original Mike said...

I think someone who ran on Afghanistan being the real war we should be fighting should be able to man up to that decision.

He did say that, didn't he? Personnaly, I never believed him and I have a feeling my skepticism is about to be bourne out.

AlphaLiberal said...

Yeah, because anyone knows the most important aspect of a foreign policy decision is that it be rushed.

That worked so well for Bush and Cheney.

Althouse is just playing the con's favorite "Blame Obama" game. The merits be damned.

The Drill SGT said...

BTW: Henry is correct. It's not going to be easy to cut and run from A-stan and that is the default decision path we are headed for.

look at the facts.

- A-stan is landlocked. surrounded on 4 sided by, Russian Satellites, China, Iran, Pakistan
- it took us years to get our Army in there
- Any retreat would need to be done in months, summer months
- none of those border countries has any strong stake in helping us be successful in departing. Any retreat decreases our power and increases their leverage
- The enemy has a vote in all retreat planning. They wont let us go gracefully or quietly
- as our perimeter decreases and we fall back to Bagram airfield, you can expect attacks to increase. Utimately, we'll have only a permeter that keeps the Taliban from shelling the airfield. Then things really get interesting. The next imcre,emt have to come out in a surge of C-17s, we'll then have to either burn our log bases or expect they'll end up in Taliban hands. The last troops will need to come out in helo's. I suspect to Russian bases. I would expect we will try to bomb the area to try and keep the taliban heads down. This wont be like Siagon when we had aircraft carriers off the coast and any Huey had the legs to get there.

It could be very ugly. And our guys know it.

I suspect our planners have done some reading on the British withdrawal from Kabul in Jan 1842. They marched out of Kabul with 16,000. Only 1 man survived the horrific retreat over the Hundu Kush.

Ann Althouse said...

"How is rejecting the options an example of continued "dithering"? "

Because Obama has still not announced what he is doing. This is just another leak about what he is supposedly going to do and it contradicts other leaks. Is that good command of the military on Obama's part?

David said...

Lem said...
"Will no one tell me what I long to hear?"

That nails it.

Scott said...

Maybe he's just procrastinating, taking a passive-aggressive posture, waiting for the situation to deteriorate to the point where he has no options left.

That's what that other narcissistic liberal populist, Lyndon Johnson, did. However, LBJ had the advantage of timing. He was able to dither long enough to kick his Vietnam problem into the next administration. Obama may not be that lucky. When Afghanistan finally collapses, it may be too late for Obama to credibly blame it on W.

With each and every new day, we find Obama sucks one more way. God help us all.

Lem said...

My daughter Malia (Amy) told me last night that war is a very bad thing... It brought tears to my eyes.

I want you all to reflect on that.. before we take up our next meeting.

Henry said...

Yeah, because anyone knows the most important aspect of a foreign policy decision is that it be rushed.

Unlike domestic policy decisions, of course.

Snark aside, the problem with Obama's lengthy reconsideration of the Afghan campaign is two-fold: a) He already has had lots of time to think about, starting with his focus on it in the campaign, and b) Events on the ground keep moving as he ponders.

As Lem suggests, he may be playing a kind of rope-a-dope strategy of waiting for events on the ground to give him an easier out. The Afghan winter is almost here.

But I don't think the U.S. forces already in Afghanistan, not to mention our Afghan allies, like the experience of being the dope against the rope.

Dark Eden said...

Its like playing chess and Obama is so busy making himself look thoughtful... finger on the piece, look this way, look that way, survey the board... examine all the angles, get out a sketch pad and mark out the next ten moves for each piece...

And at some point you have to just shout and say, "Will you just make a damn move!"

Except real people are really dying. Its not a game.

Dark Eden said...

Addition to post above: IN chess the enemy has to wait for you to make a move before they can. In real life they can keep making moves while you dither. And they are.

rhhardin said...

The decision is to make it clear that the US will not be the strong horse in the region.

It's the plan to win hearts and minds.

Obama was an avid "Go Fish" player as a youth.

Paddy O. said...

"Could this be because all the options suck?"

They could very much suck. For me at least, if they sucked, they sucked a month ago. The dithering comes in the months it took to arrive at the decision of non-decision, which leads only now to the re-crafting of new suggestions. Had he been decisive there could already have been many levels of honing the various responses. And the process would be that much farther along.

Now it seems like he is pursuing indecision until enough factors change so as to take away the demand for a decision in this way. He's looking for something, but I don't know what, to push him a certain way without him having to take responsibility for it.

Darcy said...

The Drill Sgt: Thank you very much for that glimpse into what we face with retreat. It does make me realize that that option is just as hard to make as committing more troops, even if you are politically inclined to the retreat idea.

holdfast said...

"...and the pullback will be under way before you can say "drone bomber.""

How about I say that the President is an unmanned drone?

Original Mike said...

He already has had lots of time to think about, starting with his focus on it in the campaign,

Excellent point. If he was sincere about the importance of Afghanistan that he professed during the campaign, he should have entered office with a plan.

Mark O said...

At first it might have seemed that he was being careful. Now it just seems he's not up to the task of understanding the problem and solving it. He has no background that would help These 75 days have been spent giving him a class in the general elements of war.

I would want my kids home. If there is no need to send troops there is no need to strip search me at the airport. Let's pretend.

TosaGuy said...

At some point in time when the winter storms ground our aircraft, a Taliban force will mass and attack a remote outpost manned by a hundred or so troops and it will be very very bad.

If Obama has not made a decision by that point, then the public will dictate the decision for him and his presidency will effectively be over.

AlphaLiberal said...

Ok, wise guys. What's the answer for our Afghanistan strategy?

Don't dither!

McChrystal should have been fired, anyway, for his role in the fabrication of events surrounding Pat Tillman's death.

Lem said...

How come we have never.. not ever discussed.. the.. the exit strategy.

Have you heard anything about our exit strategy Joe?

Has anybody drawn up anything along those lines?

hint hint ;)

TosaGuy said...

"McChrystal should have been fired, anyway, for his role in the fabrication of events surrounding Pat Tillman's death."

Then why did Obama pick him to run the show?

Dark Eden said...

Ok, wise guys. What's the answer for our Afghanistan strategy?

Don't dither!

>>>>

I'm pretty sure the answer isn't posing scratching your chin and going 'hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm' like you're deep in thought.

Or to quote some song lyrics, "If the answer isn't violence then neither is your silence."

Darcy said...

Just want to add that I don't know what I favor! I'm not sure what our goal is in Afghanistan anymore.

I don't want to retreat against any of our enemies, but I do want to fight them intelligently and efficiently. I'm not sure we can do that there.

It's too bad we are so polarized politically here. I'd like more reasoned debate on this. Not spin.

Dark Eden said...

Sometimes the president's job is to pick the best horrible plan from a list of really horrible plans. Sometimes there isn't a magic solution that fixes everything, but one that has slightly more positive than negative.

Alex said...

Drill Sgt - Afghanistan is already clusterfucked, might as well BRING THE TROOPS BACK HOME!!!

holdfast said...

The Drill SGT said...

"Lead, Follow, or get out of the way."


Sorry Sgt, but that is inapplicable here - it might apply to an indecisive Cpl, maybe to a reluctant Cpt, or even a Gen McLellan - but Obama is the Commander in Chief. Only Congress can relieve him of his command, and being an incompetent ass is not really an impeachable offense.


On your second post, have you considered the Xenopen option - a march to the sea through Waziristan, killing everyone who gets in the way?

AlphaLiberal said...

I don't know why he picked McChrystal. I don't always agree with Obama.

SecDef Gates makes a comment relevant to this discussion:

President Reagan was circumspect about putting or keeping America’s troops and America’s credibility at risk without a clear mission or strong odds of success. .

I'm glad Obama is taking the time to get it right. Many countries have sunk into the Afghanistan quagmire. He must follow that sage advice "don't just do something, sit there!"

The Althouses and Becks and Limbaughs of the world will attack him no matter what he does or doesn't do. Their conclusions are forgone and obvious: Obama is wrong.

It also bears mentioning what a mess the Cheney/Bush Administration made of Afghanistan. They took the heat off of OBL in Tora Bora, they pulled forces out to invade and occupy Iraq, they did not invest sufficiently in civilian infrastructure there.

So for righties to attack Obama over it stinks to high heaven.

Lem said...

Just want to add that I don't know what I favor! I'm not sure what our goal is in Afghanistan anymore.

I'm nominating Darcy as our WH liaison to Afghanistan ;)

Cedarford said...

AJ Lynch said...
So Robert Cook is despondent that we are in decline as a world power?
And yet you don't want us to use our world power in Iraq and Afghan? I am confused.


There have been many nations in decline that proudly said, "no matter, we have a magnificent military" - and the people will be happy if we still show we matter by endless commitments and adventurous wars, even though they don't help the average citizen in the least, even if we "win".

The last big example was the Soviet Union. It's mighty Red Army still only capable of being stopped with nukes. It or it's proxies in 25 or so "wars of liberation and advancement of noble local, and oh-so-grateful people into modernity. Its fighters were just a smidgeon away from US quality. It's blue water Navy most impressive.
But all while it's factories rotted and the people grew not angry with leadership and the system, but contemptuous of it.

America would do well to heed how Russia and before them Britain were humbled on being overstretched and bleeding lives and treasure in places outside the vital interests of each nation.

Decline is measured in many ways. As the Soviets woke up in shock to realize...their "hero troops" and their military were just one component of what needed to work to sustain Russia as a major power. It could be "world class" but when nothing else in Russia was, the military inevitably got dragged into the toilet with the rest of the USSR.

But the whole time they were collapsing they had whole passles of "hero troops" and kickass world power.
Next thing you know they were cutting up tanks and nuke missile subs to sell the scrap to fill ships so Indians could make rebar for Rising China's and Abu Dubai's skyscrapers.

The Drill SGT said...

"McChrystal should have been fired, anyway, for his role in the fabrication of events surrounding Pat Tillman's death."

Without getting into who did what when, who lied, and who is culpable, I can tell you how the lies begam innocently.

Just like there are some classic lies told by all parties in romancing, like:

- I'll always love you
- Of course I'll respect you
- I'm safe,
- of course the baby is yours, dear.

there are some classic fibs told whenever a commander writes home to the family of a soldier killed in action. The two biggest are:

- he felt no pain. It was over suddenly
- he died bravely, defending his position and his men.

The Tilman lie was of the second kind. Likely the squad and their commander knew somebody had screwed up, be it Tilman or a buddy, but nobody thought tht telling the family that would improve the situation so they told lie #2.

Alex said...

Why would Obama continue a policy that only has 29% support among Democrats and 66% support among Republicans? Obama is totally doing the right thing for his party.

Mark said...

This is, of course, the "Necessary War" according to Candidate Obama. I think he keeps looking for a plan in which he looks like a hero, without also risking looking like George W. Bush. In lieu of that, he just looks like Bambi caught in the headlights.

I agree with those here who say that the worst-case scenario is looking weak in the eyes of the enemies of the West. Bin Laden was evil, but he wasn't an idiot.

Obama in his first nine months is recapitulating every mistake every president from LBJ through W made. Give him a Bay of Pigs opportunity and I'm sure he'll push back into JFKs boondoggles as well. (Heck, considering his track record on support for W's "illegal" security policies, you could make the case that he's already on JFK's turf...)

Joaquin said...

*YAWN*
Obama could care less about the war in Afghanistan. It means nothing to him.
He has been sitting on the McChrystal report for 90 days and has been listening to all opinions about what course to take. YEAH RIGHT!
Only a complete fool would believe a word this guy says.

rhhardin said...

The idea was supposed to be to deny radical Islam anywhere on earth to operate with impunity on a large enough scale to do serious damage.

When states won't guarantee that within their borders, we'll have to do it for them

The preference being to get the states to do it.

Which is the goal, not just some abstract idea like spreading democracy.

The leaked Obama design won't work for that - "if you won't take over, we'll leave" being his supposed plan.

So it's a fairly deadly issue of competence that's in question.

Alex said...

BTW, it's the economy stupid. The American people don't care about troops dying in Afghanistan!

Henry said...

AlphaLiberal wrote: "President Reagan was circumspect about putting or keeping America’s troops and America’s credibility at risk without a clear mission or strong odds of success."

I'm glad Obama is taking the time to get it right.

You do realize, I hope, that America's troops and credibility are already committed. The question at hand is about giving a clear mission to troops already in the field.

Obama has had a year -- as soon as he was elected he was privy to Bush Whitehouse strategies.

As for the best strategy -- I'm under no illusions about that, as I've written.

AlphaLiberal said...

Darcy
I'd like more reasoned debate on this. Not spin. .

After 9/11 I supported the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan (and actually got behind Bush on that). I wish we had poured money into improving the lives of the people there in a new Marhsall Plan instead of just blowing shit up.

I've been holding off on supporting withdrawal. But I'm swayed by the observation that we're now involved in an urban-rural civil war and our presence exacerbates that. Our
own debate ignores on-the-ground "all politics is local" understanding.

But after 8 years, we've really reduced a lot of our options. I don't think we can put Humpty Dumpty back together, much as they are trying.

Also, our goal is our security and I don't think Afghanistan continues to present an imminent danger. (AQ is in Pakistan anyway, we think, right..?) The Taliban are fuckers but we can't and shouldn't run every government in the world.

Wish that had gone better but the die is cast. So let's declare victory and leave.

Gorbachev has some good points from bitter experience:

“I believe that there is no prospect of a military solution,” Gorbachev said in Russian through a translator. “What we need is the reconciliation of Afghan society -- and they should be preparing the ground for withdrawal rather than additional troops.”

David said...

When he gets back from Asia Obama will decide when to decide when he should decide what he should decide.

wv="loomede"
Althouse saying "Honey aren't you done in there yet?"

AlphaLiberal said...

The question at hand is about giving a clear mission to troops already in the field. .

Partially right. But there is also the question of removing them from that theater. Or of committing more troops.

Troops can't solve all the world problems. And Afghanistan has more than it's share.

Lem said...

I remember back when our parents left us back in DR with our grandparents for a while.

Whenever I did anything i thought punishable somehow i would go and spend the rest of the day at one of the uncles hoping that by the time i got back in the evening the old folks would have been forgotten everything.

Obamas no 1 priority is self preservation.

wv deesse

rocketeer67 said...

“I believe that there is no prospect of a military solution,” Gorbachev said in Russian through a translator. “What we need is the reconciliation of Afghan society -- and they should be preparing the ground for withdrawal rather than additional troops.”

He would say that, wouldn't he?

Here's a tip: Never seek advice on winning from a loser.

AlphaLiberal said...

Touche, Rocketeer.

But, who would be the winner from Afghanistan that we should listen to, then?

Lem said...

BTW - Has anybody heard what everybodys favorite general has to say about this?

To me that can only mean Powell is talking to Obama.

Meade said...

rhhardin said...
The idea was supposed to be to deny radical Islam anywhere on earth to operate with impunity on a large enough scale to do serious damage.

When states won't guarantee that within their borders, we'll have to do it for them

The preference being to get the states to do it.

Which is the goal, not just some abstract idea like spreading democracy.

The leaked Obama design won't work for that - "if you won't take over, we'll leave" being his supposed plan.

So it's a fairly deadly issue of competence that's in question.


Bears repeating.

Repeating until understood.

Especially understood by our government representatives.

holdfast said...

Alpha - probably the local tribesmen, as they have at least endured which is as close to winning as you will find in Afstan.

Seriously, what do they want from us, and what will they give us in return? Not Karzai (who is not a bad guy just ineffectual, because central government is ineffectual in Afstan).

Tibore said...

Well now... I think Uncle Jimbo over at Blackfive sums it up best:

Now months after his hand-picked commander has told him the situation is bad and getting worse, our troops in the field fight and die without the support of their Commander in Chief. He sent 21,000 more brave men and women there and now they are flappin' in the breeze. How can a squad leader look his men in the eyes and tell them to saddle up and head out on a patrol, perhaps to be the last to die for a cause their President no longer believes in?

You can't set the circumstances for victory before you commit to trying to win one. You can't set your strategy based on the hope that quality government will just spring up in the midst of chaos with no security. You can't just magic a functional, fighting Afghan Army out of nothing without competent US forces to first beat the insurgency down to a manageable level. Then they take the Afghans to the field for joint operations to build their confidence just like we did in Iraq. If your goal is simply to turn things over to the Afghans, then hand them the goddamn keys right now. Make a couple of passes over the worst Taliban strongholds, bomb the living shit out of them and then bring our troops home.

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Montagne Montaigne said...

Once again folks, it's good to remember that Obama has DOUBLED, yes that's right, ALREADY DOUBLED the number of troops in Afghanistan since he took office.

The next step is pivotal.

Do you think proceeding carefully-- "take your time" was Colin Powell's advice to Obama on this-- is always "dithering"?

But again, I'm too stupid to figure out if the use of the word "dithering" is a withering Althouse parody (TM), or just the numbing incantation of a moronic strain of "common sense."

Synova said...

Okay, yeah... I'm way behind this conversation...

Cook: "The only sane thing to do is to withdraw all troops from our terror wars abroad. Bring 'em home and shut down our imperial crusades!

It won't happen, of course, and thus we continue our decline toward ultimate expiration as a world power.
"

Total random tangent on this, Cook. But aren't those two things actually in conceptual opposition?

I'm not *for* imperialism (I don't think we're engaged in that in any case), but how does imperialism obviously lead to decline as a world power?

FLS: "Could this be because all the options suck?"

All the options ALWAYS suck.

Henry said...

The leaked Obama design won't work for that - "if you won't take over, we'll leave" being his supposed plan.

That's not true at all. The New York Times reports that the plan will "show resolve" without "a commitment."

Okay, I left out a few words. Obama wants to avoid "an open-ended commitment," but frankly, I'm not sure how "open-ended" really changes the equation.

Roger J. said...

As someone pointed out, Obama made Afghanistan his personal war during the campaign--And clearly he hasnt done squat--He's had over a year to figure out what he wants to do--

For me, this one is easy--get the hell out and let the afghan tribes go back to their medieval exitence. frankly I dont give a damn if they kill each other, stone their women or f**k their goats. If withdrawal is the strategy behind curtain number one, might also want to buy futures in afghan poppy products.

I would not have advocated a withdrawal a year ago, but given Obama's foreign policy he has already projected his weakness as a resolute leader. Putin, Achmadenijad, and Kim have already taken his measure. Staying in Afghanistan isnt going to increase his credibility among our enemies let alone our allies.

Photog714 said...

Peter S. said: How is rejecting the options an example of continued "dithering"?

Obama adheres, heart and soul, to an unconstrained vision. He believes that no problem is so complex that it cannot be solved by a group of enlightened experts.

What he is confronted with now is the reality that he and his band of experts cannot analyze problems in Afghanistan and map out a strategy, in advance, that clearly achieves peace.

But his unconstrained vision cannot see this. When strategies are laid before him that are vulnerable to one failure or another, those obviously won't do. So he rejects them and calls for more. He dithers.

The unconstrained vision slavishly insists that some plan can be laid out -- in advance -- that leads like a golden road to whatever outcome he desires. The "fog of war" can always be dispelled if the planners are smart enough.

We see this mentality in his economic policies, his social policies, and his war policies. And we are going to pay a very large price for indulging this man as our president.

edutcher said...

AlphaLiberal said...

Yeah, because anyone knows the most important aspect of a foreign policy decision is that it be rushed.

That worked so well for Bush and Cheney.


They rushed it for 2 whole years. Good one.

Funny how the "All the options suck" excuse didn't faze a guy named Grant after McClellan spent 2 years crying, whining, moaning, and complaining.

In any case, I expect the characterizations of Barry as Nero to start soon. After Fort Hood, it would seem there would be a little more urgency.

And, in answer to the question commenters were making on blogs six months ago, "Is he trying to destroy the country?", the answer is, of course, "Yes".

garage mahal said...

Obama should quietly remove all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and just tell everyone [especially the dither worriers] that they're still over there keeping them safe over here.

The dither worriers don't have an actual plan of course, and Cheney of all people we find out spent a whole hour on the Afghanistan strategy report they handed to Panetta on the way out.

Lem said...

Good..

Bush is going to speak in 20 min.

It will be good to catch a glimpse of a president.

Henry said...

Montagne, try thinking this through. Obama send thousands of troops to Afghanistan with no clear plan.

You wrote: The next step is pivotal.

No shit! There are thousands of troops in a combat zone waiting for the President to make up his mind.

To be sure, Obama was following-through on Bush Administration plans when he sent the additional troops to Afghanistan, but he could have turned off the autopilot with a little more dispatch if he was this confounded by their mission.

avwh said...

"The New York Times reports that the plan will "show resolve" without "a commitment."

I wonder how many Obama voters were "showing resolve" when they voted for him, and by now would like out on that commitment to our Ditherer-in-Chief?

Robert Cook said...

"Do you want to cede world military domination to China?"

We've already ceded our financial security to them...they own us! If they stopped all financial lending to us, that would be our end...with no shots fired.

We would certainly never win in a conventional land war against China, in any case, given their land mass and far larger population. But then, so-called "conventional" land warfare is archaic: we have a choice of fighting guerilla wars against insurgents--if there were ever a case where our waging war were justified...there not having been such a case post-WW II--or, in especially dire circumstances, unleashing doom upon the world via our nuclear stockpiles.

We maintain standing armies primarily to act as our policemen and bullyboys around the world, to apply the "taser" of American might against the unwashed heathens whose lands and treasure we covet, and whom we presume to have a right to push around.

Lem said...

No he started.. Bush is on!

Titus said...

I haven't been horny and my loaves have been uninteresting.

I apologize fellow republicans.

Thank you.

Having sex with the same person becomes boring...quickly, but I am ok with that. I am actually enjoying boring.

And life isn't just a bunch of anonymous loads shooting from every bush and tree.

William said...

If tomorrow Honululu was transformed into a radioactive ash, this would be Obama's response: The attack was a repsonse to the previous administration's disastrous policies. We should not discriminate against Korean-Americans--remember our shameful policy of interning them during the Korean War. If the only thing he knew about Kim Il Jong was this one intemperate act, he too would condemn him, but he, Obama, knows that a man should be measured by more than just one rash act. He, Obama, knows that you make peace with your enemies, not your friends, and he, Obamaa, will therefore redouble his efforts to make peace with this troubled soul. Finally and most importantly, with the growing spread of radiation sickness from the bombing, Obama will demand that Congress pass a true, public option national health program.

rocketeer67 said...

Touche, Rocketeer.

But, who would be the winner from Afghanistan that we should listen to, then?


Well, there's a reason Kandahar's named Kandahar. Maybe we could learn something from it's namesake? Like, say, when you go into the Hindu Kush, you go in with overwhelming force. And for God's sake, whatever you do, don't dither about going in.

The Drill SGT said...

Roger J,

I agree that winning in A-stan looks impossible or at least very hard (as I have said on other posts before), mainly based on 2 factors

- A-stan isn't a countru so much as a collection of tribes
- They know already we are going to run, the only question is when and how.

So when and how would you run. The options in running also look very unpleasant when you get down to the last BDE out.

Holdfast asked about the Anabais option through Pakistan. For the unlettered, in 401BC Greek mercs fighting for a Persian pretender lost their sponsor, then had their leaders slain in a trap. After that the 10,000 Greeks led by Xenophon didn't exactly trust the ambushers to honor any deals, so they marched 500 miles through Northern Iraq, Turkey and Armenia to reach the Black sea.

the problem with a fighting withdrawal through Pakistan I think boils down to three points:

1. Our force isn't made up of honest tankers, like Roger and Drill, but instead a bunch of walking infantry who lack sufficent transport.
2. we cant carry enough fuel to get out and our fuel comes up the roads we're attacking down, so the right ploy is for the Taliban to cut fuel and let us perish in the mountains.
3. Nuclear Pakistan, or at least the opposition there would be in a tizzy if the US Army attacked Pakistan, and that is how it would appear to the world. They would cut our fuel. US Carriers bombing nuclear Pakistan? Obama doesnt have the nads for that. McCain might have been able to bluff that hand, but Obama? ROFLMAO

Darcy said...

Thank you for the thoughtful reply, AlphaLiberal. I may not agree with you, but I appreciate it.

For one thing, I don't assume that our soldiers haven't done their damnedest to improve the lives of the Afghanis they've worked with over there. I've read too many wonderful stories from Iraq in this regard to believe otherwise. I don't think they just "blow up shit".

Dark Eden said...

Obama should quietly remove all troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and just tell everyone [especially the dither worriers] that they're still over there keeping them safe over here.

The dither worriers don't have an actual plan of course, and Cheney of all people we find out spent a whole hour on the Afghanistan strategy report they handed to Panetta on the way out.
>>>>

This seems to be the far left position on pretty much any war... the troops are over there for no reason, they're accomplishing nothing, and they could be removed and no one would even notice and the world would be unchanged.

Arturius said...

I'm assuming that "turn the place over to the Taliban" is not our goal here.

I think that would depend on whether they have a price. In other words, if we could negotiate a treaty in which they don’t harbor terrorists who are bent on our destruction, I have no problem with a modest subsidy to guarantee such cooperation. It certainly would be much cheaper than what we’re spending now.

However, we don't need to be a militarized nation in order to be a world power

A country of 300 million souls whose military is ‘stretched to the breaking point’ due to what historians would refer to as a low intensity colonial police action is hardly the definition of a militarized nation.

The Drill SGT said...

William said...
If tomorrow Honululu was transformed into a radioactive ash, this would be Obama's response


For the record, the first nuke to go off in the US won't be a Nork delivered one by missile.

It will be in a cargo container in a Liberian or Maltese freighter into Oakland, or Seattle, or New Orleans. And nobody is going to claim credit for it either.

Synova said...

"The dither worriers don't have an actual plan of course, and..."

Oh, right. Like the people who have absolutely nothing to do with making any sort of decision over there, not even a vote like with the health care take over, ought to have a detailed and executable plan or they ought to shut up.

Do you listen to yourself?

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

I say it's time to cut N Run from A-Stan now! I'm with Robert Cook on this one!

Maguro said...

In other words, if we could negotiate a treaty in which they don’t harbor terrorists who are bent on our destruction, I have no problem with a modest subsidy to guarantee such cooperation.

Yes, a treaty with the Taliban sounds like a grand idea. I'm sure we can trust them to hold up their end of the bargain.

Obama stepping off the plane shaking a copy of this treaty would make a great photo op.

Robert Cook said...

"A country of 300 million souls whose military is ‘stretched to the breaking point’ due to what historians would refer to as a low intensity colonial police action is hardly the definition of a militarized nation."

A nation whose annual military budget is equal to the combined annual military budgets of all other nations on earth is certainly, by definition, a militarized nation.

Alex said...

Cook - military budget doesn't mean much if we're not using it for imperialist aims. It just means defense contractors getting rich.

Roger J. said...

re a treaty (with who precisely) in afghanistan--Although it would certainly give Obama his Chamberlainesque moment about peace in our time thus perhaps giving his NPP a bit more luster than it has now.

rocketeer67 said...

A nation whose annual military budget is equal to the combined annual military budgets of all other nations on earth is certainly, by definition, a militarized nation.

Well, yes - I suppose that would theoretically be true. Sadly for your ham-handed comeback, that nation does not exist.

I'd suggest in future you fact-check bumper stickers you may stumble across in Burlington, VT.

Synova said...

Cook believes that we're best off being politically and economically isolationist in a completely globalized world.

It's sort of like incest.

Alex said...

Cook does have a point. Why are we spending more on defense then all the other countries combined? Why?

Alex said...

Once again - I'm challenging the righties on this blog to justify why America should stay in A-Stan one moment longer.

rocketeer67 said...

Cook does have a point. Why are we spending more on defense then all the other countries combined? Why?

Pssst. We're not.

Hey, Cookie? Quick - what's China's military budget? For that matter, what's Russia's?

The correct answer is "anybody who gives a definitive answer is making it up."

Original Mike said...

Cook does have a point. Why are we spending more on defense then all the other countries combined? Why?

We have more to defend?

Of course, Obama is quickly eliminating this "problem".

edutcher said...

Alex said...

Cook does have a point. Why are we spending more on defense then all the other countries combined? Why?

A We're at war.

B So our "allies" can live like the cowardly socialists they are by spending next to nothing on defense (see George VI's view on the subject when asked about allies right after Dunkirk) and doing almost nothing to honor their treaty obligations.

C We remember Pearl Harbor

D We remember the Cold War

E All of the above

Alex said...

edutcher - let the EU fund their own defense, and we can slash our military budget by 50%. Not saying to do it overnight, but it should be a huge priority with our gigantic budget deficits!

PatCA said...

Alex,
We didn't "supervise" Europe until after WWII, which happened because of WWI. Let's talk Napoleon and then the revolutions of 1848.

I like Europe the way it is, a defanged power and mostly museum for tourists.

AllenS said...

Let's take a good look at what slashing our defense budget by 50% would produce. A lot of military people, who are now employed, would be looking for a job. Defense procurements, which are costly, actually employ thousands of workers (mostly union people) making such things as bullets, bombs, and other articles such as boots, clothing, food preparation, not to mention clerical workers, would be on the street looking for work.

WV: culler

Someone who is desperately needed to cull the idiots from this blog.

Pogo said...

Brave Sir Barry ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.

Yes, brave Sir Barry turned about
And gallantly he chickened out.
Bravely taking to his feet
He beat a very brave retreat,
Bravest of the brave, Sir Barry !

Original Mike said...

let the EU fund their own defense, and we can slash our military budget by 50%.

Yeah, good luck with that.

Original Mike said...

Brave Sir Barry ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.


I didn't!

Synova said...

Alex... Why spend so much? Because nukes and nuke delivery systems are cheap ways to make sure no one dares to attack us but we aren't willing to use them. Because we spend more on safe equipment, facilities and support troops. Because others know we'll step up they underfund their own militaries at our expense. I'm sure there are more reasons than that including that we can't know what our future needs will be and it's not possible to wait until the military is needed to decide to have one. The people won't be trained and the vehicles won't have armor.

Why stay in Afghanistan?

Maybe we shouldn't.

Potentially it could be a good thing, but without direction it most certainly will not be a good thing. I'm increasingly convinced that it would be better to withdraw than to not have a clear focus and goal.

I know what I'd suggest be done, but it won't happen.

Alex said...

Who cares if the EU won't fund defense? If you talk to young people on university campuses, they are against the American military spending and for socialism! Republicans are losing the demographics BIG TIME. Esp in 2012-2016.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Obama's been reading Leadership Secrets of Buridan's Ass again.

Alex said...

Synova - I think it would cleans the body politic to get rid of all the rancor surrounding our military industrial complex. Just tear the whole thing down and rebuild back up as necessary and with 100% of the American people behind it!

Alex said...

In general I think the American people are too divided on all issues and this is horrible for our nation. We need to unite ourselves around policies we can all get behind!

garage mahal said...

Oh, right. Like the people who have absolutely nothing to do with making any sort of decision over there, not even a vote like with the health care take over, ought to have a detailed and executable plan or they ought to shut up..

Well they've been in Iraq and Afghanistan for 8 yrs. In Iraq, Maliki has already revealed to be a brutish asshole, so what actually was accomplished from those 8 long years? Maliki could end up making Saddam look like decent guy. Nobody could really know, which is the best reason in the world for not going there in the first place. Nobody can really explain what they are doing in either Iraq or Afghanistan anymore, other than "rooting out terrorists", and if that's the case just say we'll be there forever.

Original Mike said...

Who cares if the EU won't fund defense?

World War I
World War II

In case you haven't heard of them, look them up. And when you do, take note of the costs encumbered.

Alex said...

Original Mike - you are making me laugh. The idea that Europe would have another world war with themselves has no basis in reality. If anything the bigger threat is the demographics inside EU nations, not the threat of external attack. But keep up the militaristic bluster!

Arturius said...

A nation whose annual military budget is equal to the combined annual military budgets of all other nations on earth is certainly, by definition, a militarized nation.

No it isn't unless you refuse to take into account the fact we have an all volunteer military which uses state of the art technology, two major factors which are not cheap.

Alex said...

garage - there is no point in discussing it further with these militaristic wingnuts. They don't know reason.

Synova said...

"If you talk to young people on university campuses, they are against the American military spending and for socialism!"

That's because they are children who have had someone else pay for their food, clothing, and roofs over their heads for their entire lives.

They want it to continue.

Who wouldn't?

And since "their" allowances and cool fun-money is going to pay for the military, they'd rather it didn't.

I'd rather not enable perpetual children just to win a "demographic."

Michael said...

Alex: You are quite right. The "necessary to win the election war" was won last November. They don't even fly good kites there anymore and when you come to think about it their women really do prefer to be illiterate and all that. And besides the gang in the universities are all for socialism and when they take to the polling booths the military budget will be half of what it was. When your parents lose patience with you or when your grant runs out you might think differently, but for now I think you have it just right.

Alex said...

Arturius - and probably 70% of military spending is wasteful, designed to line the pockets of defense contractors from the buddies in Congress.

rocketeer67 said...

If you talk to young people on university campuses, they are against the American military spending and for socialism!

It was ever thus. College students have always wanted their ganja for free, and if it means cutting the...military, or, like, whatever, to do it, then...hey man, are those Doritos?

Alex said...

Michael - your last post was nonsensical drivel. Be more succinct next time.

Robert Cook said...

http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174884

Okay, the balance of expenditures has slightly changed since I last checked. We're slightly less than equal to all other military spending combined. I've been so wrong!

The last linked article discusses the peril to us from our recklessly out of control military spending.

Original Mike said...

Alex - Your naivete makes me laugh. Sure, the next WW would likely not be in Europe, but with a hollow military, it's likely to be somewhere in the world. And the costs saved in the build down will pale, once again, with the costs of the war. How many times do we have to travel down the same road?

Having said that, I do think we should have a much smaller footprint in Europe. But the money saved should not go to your pie in the sky social programs. And if you can get Europe to contribute more, more power to you.

Synova said...

Speaking of not knowing reason..

"Synova - I think it would cleans the body politic to get rid of all the rancor surrounding our military industrial complex. Just tear the whole thing down and rebuild back up as necessary and with 100% of the American people behind it!"

Alex... please describe how the military could be built up "as necessary?"

It takes 10 years to train a military person. It takes years to convert industry to equip soldiers.

I suppose that in the land of "reason" all of our enemies will give us a decade's notice?

After 9-11 there really *was* this "all get together behind the effort" thing... how long did that last? With revisionism most people think they were always against military action. (Nuke carpet bombing would correlate pretty well with people's attention span.)

Alex said...

Original Mike - I didn't say the money should go to socialist programs. It should go to reducing the deficit. Also why do Republicans support military bases in Europe? Democrats are all for shutting down all those bases, but the Republicans keep favoring it!

Cedarford said...

Robert Cook - We would certainly never win in a conventional land war against China, in any case, given their land mass and far larger population.

You don't understand war. War is not decided by who has the larger land mass or the more people. But by tactics, ability to bring resources to bear, military capacity. You could go back in the history books and study the great conquests that started small, then spread gobbling up far larger foes in their path...but sticking to China, same-o.
It is a history of small kingdoms overwhelming larger more populous ones and creating Dynasties,...interrupted by Mongols, Manchus swarming in and kicking ass. Then of course more recently the "carving of the melon" Period, as the CHinese say -as Euros swept in and called the shots, followed by "tiny" Japan having its way. (Also known as the Great Twin Humiliations) Even the Korean War was a disaster for the Chicommies - they were thought to have killed about 20K of the 50K we lost there - but were driven back and lost 1.2 million soldiers in the bargain.

The only thing that constrains our capacity is laws, ACLU Progressive Jews, Euroweenies that seek to handcuff Western militaries to rules others disregard.
In that context, it is stupid forr the Left to claim that "there is no way 300 million Americans could ever beat 1.4 billion Noble Muslims."
As they say, Way!

Meaning beating the 1.4 billion Muslims would just take the Will to use nukes and then employ ruthless police and occupation tactics to cow the rest. (Unthinkable now, but if a Western or Asian city of a dozen gets hit with Islamoid nukes..tata Islamoids.)
Conventionally, with as few limits on our actions as Jihadis have, it would be the same result but just take a bit longer.

I note that several cities always surrendered to the Mongol Horde after one city resisted before them. The trick was to keep several dignitaries alive and send them on in front of the Mongols to tell exactly what happened when they resisted and then fell.
Same with the Imperial Japanese Army in Indochina. You know, tough Vietnamese, and all that. The Japs conquered with 60,000 then garrisoned and ran the place with 2800 troops. The trick was that everyone knew what happened to the two towns that used IEDs on the Japs. The Japs declared them in insurrection and sent troops in to bayonet everything, even babies and cattle, then burn the towns to the ground. That was the end of resistance.

Bob said...

Cook, the answer to your question is:
1. we pay our personnel extremely well. China and Russia use conscripts.
2. we spend big money on equipment that works (and some that doesn't but which have Congressional sugardaddies).
3. we spend money to train & maintain equipment and personnel.

Alex said...

I'd rather not enable perpetual children just to win a "demographic."

It doesn't really matter because that demographic will render the GOP useless after the 2010 elections.

Alex said...

C4 - so if we turn tail and run, become totally isolationist like you want us to be, will that make us safe? Or then it's time to redirect our tender mercies onto the banker Jews?

Alex said...

All polls show GOP identification at an all time low and Democrat id growing by leaps and bounds.

Bob said...

Cook, our military expenditures is about 3.5 to 4 percent of GDP. During the Cold War it averaged about 7 percent. We don't have a draft so please spare us the "militarized" tag for the US. Less than 1 percent of the population is in military.

Original Mike said...

Actually, I don't follow this a whole lot, Alex, but from what I've read, the biggest opponent to us pulling out of Europe would be the Europeans. Same reason that base closings are opposed here; the local economy. But with a sweet talking President, fresh off a Nobel Peace Prize, maybe Obama can pull it off. And I repeat, I'd support it. We should be spending a lot less in Europe.

As to defecit reduction, do your homework. Find out the percentage of savings compared to Obama's projected budgets (and don't forget Soc Sec and Medicare liabilities) and report back. If cutting the military takes a big enough bite out of the deficit, we can talk.

Alex said...

Original Mike - of course along with slashing the military budget, we should not adopt any government health care, as well as not spend any more stimulus money. We shoudl focus on gaining a balanced budget in 5 years AND then starting to pay down our national debt.

Alex said...

If we don't get a handle of the debt situation, the economy will simply collapse from hyperinflation as China, Japan and Saudi Arabia will not buy our worthless treasuries anymore and the government will be forced to simply print money. I can't understand why NO politician is talking about this!

Bob said...

Wonder which "senior administration official" is unhappy that the boss has rejected all of the options? Reminds me of a couple of bosses I had who rejected every staff option and never made a decision. Events would just render a decision moot.
Obama shows himself a perfumed prince more & more.

Eric said...

Okay, the balance of expenditures has slightly changed since I last checked. We're slightly less than equal to all other military spending combined. I've been so wrong!

As a percentage of GDP we spend less than many countries and far less than we did during the cold war. Medicare will break us, but the military won't.

Robert Cook said...

"Let's take a good look at what slashing our defense budget by 50% would produce. A lot of military people, who are now employed, would be looking for a job. Defense procurements, which are costly, actually employ thousands of workers (mostly union people) making such things as bullets, bombs, and other articles such as boots, clothing, food preparation, not to mention clerical workers, would be on the street looking for work."

Or, the money saved could be used for other domestic expenditures, for a reinvigoration of our domestic manufacturing base, to rebuild our crumbling national insfrastructure, help provide health care to all citizens, thus freeing individuals and businesses alike from that burdensome expense, to create new jobs where the military jobs were, and so on.

Shanna said...

For one thing, I don't assume that our soldiers haven't done their damnedest to improve the lives of the Afghanis they've worked with over there. I've read too many wonderful stories from Iraq in this regard to believe otherwise. I don't think they just "blow up shit".

Damn straight, Darcy. Several years back, a co-workers brother was over there and they were soliciting stuff for an orphanage (our office sent a box). This was not some big campaign, just something done by a few soldiers, aided by a few civilians. There were lots of pictures of the orphans and the soldiers doing what they could for them.

That's not the kind of thing you hear on the news, but it's the kind of thing our soldiers do, unasked.

rocketeer67 said...

Oh, dear Lord, Cookie...you're going to have to come up with, you know, actual sources if you want to bolster the point you've just unsubtly conceded.

You're not even right when you rely on cooked numbers!

Pogo said...

"The better part of valour is discretion
Therefore, more valor is gained by two discretions, then three, and on and on.
By repeated discretions, I am most valorous, and in this better part I have saved my hide.
"

Obamastaff, in King Barry I Part One

Original Mike said...

of course along with slashing the military budget, we should not adopt any government health care, as well as not spend any more stimulus money. We shoudl focus on gaining a balanced budget in 5 years AND then starting to pay down our national debt.

You know? Maybe we can talk.

Step number one is going to be removing the sitting politcal class.

Robert Cook said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alex said...

Or, the money saved could be used for other domestic expenditures, for a reinvigoration of our domestic manufacturing base, to rebuild our crumbling national insfrastructure, help provide health care to all citizens, thus freeing individuals and businesses alike from that burdensome expense, to create new jobs where the military jobs were, and so on.

The problem is even if you eliminate the military, you've only cut the deficit to $1 trillion. There is no way you can fix the crumbling national infrastructure until you balance the budget!

Alex said...

Step number one is going to be removing the sitting politcal class.

How? For most people they just see what's straight in front of them, which is their unemployed or anxious about their job. They could care less about the national debt bomb!

Original Mike said...

Step number one is going to be removing the sitting politcal class.

"How?"

I wish I knew.

Robert Cook said...

"Medicare will break us, but the military won't."

Sez who?

Kirk Parker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kirk Parker said...

"we don't need to be a militarized nation in order to be a world power;"

Cute. And how the disarmed US economic powerhouse will fare under the resulting Pax Russica or Pax Sinica is left as an exercise for the reader, I suppose?

rocketeer67 said...

My point was simply that a nation that spends as much as the rest of the world combined on military expenditures is a militarized nation.

That's not a point. That's an assertion. An incorrect one, no less.

Now, a nation that uses the threat of jail and the force of a militarized federal constabulary to compel it's own people to purchase insurance? That's arguably a militarized nation.

Alex said...

Robert Cook - all out entitlements will break us. But keep your head in the sand.

Alex said...

Now, a nation that uses the threat of jail and the force of a militarized federal constabulary to compel it's own people to purchase insurance? That's arguably a militarized nation.

Robert Cook gets to define what the term "militarized" means. Not anyone else.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Alex,
"Once again - I'm challenging the righties on this blog to justify why America should stay in A-Stan one moment longer."

How about you explain what the likely result will be, in terms of attacks on America and American allies/assets, if we do leave immediately. And then discuss whether that will embolden Russia and China with their expansionist dreams. And then if leaving Afghanistan now will make other nations more or less likely to support us in the future.

Synova said...

"Original Mike - I didn't say the money should go to socialist programs. It should go to reducing the deficit."

That would be a good choice. Or else not collect the money in taxes at all.

"Also why do Republicans support military bases in Europe? Democrats are all for shutting down all those bases, but the Republicans keep favoring it!"

Because it's not magically easy to get from here to any place in the world and back again. (Unless we're talking intercontinental ballistic nuclear missiles - which don't come back again.) We could, perhaps, do with a whole lot less but we'd be really screwed if we couldn't med-evac to Germany.

mdix said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Robert Cook said...

"Cute. And how the disarmed US economic powerhouse will fare under the resulting Pax Russica or Pax Sinica is left as an exercise for the reader, I suppose?"

And who says we would "disarm?" There are points on the spectrum between overspending on dining out at overpriced restaurants every night and going on a fast.

Given that no war we have bought since WWII (and almost none before that) has been necessary for our self-defense, I suggest that this idea that we must be bristling with arms in order to be "safe" is an idea borne of either paranoia or propaganda pushed by the munitions manufactureres to a gullible and cowardly public in order to guarantee for themselves the steady flow of our tax dollars into their pockets.

It's a scam, that's all...a theft of gargantuan proportions.

AlphaLiberal said...

Suggested reading, especially for the Obama haters. It's a moving piece from Veterans' Day.

Synova said...

Cook: "Or, the money saved could be used for other domestic expenditures, for a reinvigoration of our domestic manufacturing base, to rebuild our crumbling national insfrastructure, help provide health care to all citizens, thus freeing individuals and businesses alike from that burdensome expense, to create new jobs where the military jobs were, and so on."

Alex: "The problem is even if you eliminate the military, you've only cut the deficit to $1 trillion. There is no way you can fix the crumbling national infrastructure until you balance the budget!"

The problem is... he didn't propose "saving" any money. He proposed using to to fund other things. So the deficit is not cut even by $1 trillion, if that's what eliminating defense spending would do.

Read the paragraph. It's all about doing wonderful things with free government money. My favorite was this... "provide health care to all citizens, thus freeing individuals and businesses alike from that burdensome expense,"... because anything paid for with TAXES is not a BURDEN to anyone!

Yay! Free shit!

And a PONY!

garage mahal said...

The United States is world's largest arms dealer, surely that qualifies. In 2008 the U.S. accounted for an astounding 70% of all arms agreements, anyone care to guess who the top two buyers were? Hint, they are both solidly Arab countries. This only includes government to government sales, not commercial sales, which they don't even track.

Robert Cook said...

"Several years back, a co-workers brother was over there and they were soliciting stuff for an orphanage (our office sent a box). This was not some big campaign, just something done by a few soldiers, aided by a few civilians. There were lots of pictures of the orphans and the soldiers doing what they could for them.

That's not the kind of thing you hear on the news, but it's the kind of thing our soldiers do, unasked."


All the more reason to bring our soldiers home. They're underpaid and they risk their lives in fighting our wars of theft of resources around the world and they contribute their own money to such helpful endeavors. In the meantime, the power players who plan and run these wars get ever richer and fatter off the billions we spend to kill and steal.

The soldiers are getting fucked worse than anyone by the swine in Washington who lie twice when they claim that our wars abroad are necessary and noble.

rocketeer67 said...

It's a scam, that's all...a theft of gargantuan proportions.

Sleep soundly in the peace your inconsequential bloviations have purchased, brave keyboard warrior! Oh, and thanks for the warships, suckah.

Synova said...

Cook... you're a moron.

What do you value? On what grounds whatsoever do you, who thinks that soldiers helping children is BAD, on what grounds do you make any moral argument about war whatsoever?

What the hell do you care?

Is this an intellectual exercise for you that somehow lets you feel superior? Because it's clearly not about human beings.

rocketeer67 said...

The soldiers are getting fucked worse than anyone by the swine in Washington who lie twice when they claim that our wars abroad are necessary and noble.

That's funny - the soldiers and sailors I know think they're getting fucked most by the people who hold your views.

Are you calling them stupid, Cookie?

Robert Cook said...

"My favorite was this... 'provide health care to all citizens, thus freeing individuals and businesses alike from that burdensome expense,... because anything paid for with TAXES is not a BURDEN to anyone!"

An expense spread among all is far less a burden that an expense borne by one. This, of course, is the philosophy behind our socialist expenditures on such things as our police forces, fire departments, public schools, roads, bridges, waterworks, parks, uh, military, etc.

So, yes, my statement is 100% correct.

traditionalguy said...

Cookie...I would agree with you about over armaments by hte USA since there has been so much peace the last 20 years while we were the Super Power militarily. Lets let things go. That works like firing the Police Department since the crime rate is so low. Lets try it in your hometown first as a test case.

Robert Cook said...

"That's funny - the soldiers and sailors I know think they're getting fucked most by the people who hold your views.

Are you calling them stupid, Cookie?"


If that's what they truly think, yes.

Synova said...

Seriously... how do you justify the argument that we have some sort of moral duty to provide health care when you can't even find personal generosity and compassion something to admire, but instead think it's victimization?

Robert Cook said...

"Cook... you're a moron.

What do you value? On what grounds whatsoever do you, who thinks that soldiers helping children is BAD, on what grounds do you make any moral argument about war whatsoever?"


Given you that you've completely misread my comment, you might want to check again which of us is a moron.

Synova said...

"An expense spread among all is far less a burden that an expense borne by one."

The total expense is the same. The total burden and drag on the economy is the same. But the damage to production, motivation, and reward for innovation or hard work is utterly destroyed. Freedom and liberty is torn to shreds because it is inevitable that expense spreading is not ever voluntary, it must be coerced.

So we end up with the same burden and same expense with a smaller industrial and economic base to support it and fewer liberties and freedoms.

All because someone doesn't want to pay their own bills.

And thinks it's clever to point out all cooperative endeavors, even voluntary ones, as some reason that people aren't entitled to object to a system that has never ever in the History of the entire world led to anything other than tyranny and human misery.

rocketeer67 said...

If that's what they truly think, yes.

Priceless.

Synova said...

I didn't misread you *much*, Cook.

Your immediate reaction to Americans helping brown children in Afghanistan (and yes, I *do* mean to include a very blatant racial suggestion there) is that the Americans should not, absolutely NOT, be there doing what they are doing.

Is it because they're doing it as individuals and not part of a great government redistribution of wealth?

It's very easy to be generous with other people's money, Cook.

Very easy.

Because the generosity is yours and the payment belongs to others.

Perhaps the soldiers shame you.

Kirk Parker said...

Robert Cook,

So your 12:39 PM comment wasn't a call for a greatly reduced military? Yeah, right.

Joe said...

The only reason to stay in Afghanistan is to keep Pakistan from destabilizing too much and the only reason to do that is because Pakistan has nuclear weapons.

One solution would be to go into Pakistan and take their nukes away. Then nobody will give a shit what happens to them.

Beyond this, I've yet to hear a clear reason why the hell we're staying that shit hole of a country. (Keeping the Taliban out of power is really easy as long as you don't give a shit who is in power otherwise.)

Alex said...

Robert Cook has a good point about government spending for the common good like police, fire, roads. But Cookie - how does welfare fit into that? That's just redistribution!

Alex said...

BTW, I'm not buying the idea that Russia and China have expansionist plans. Sounds more like neocon scare-talk to me.

Robert Cook said...

"So your 12:39 PM comment wasn't a call for a greatly reduced military? Yeah, right."

Of course it was! But I didn't say we divest ourselves of ALL arms or ALL soldiers. As I said in a subsequent post, there's a spectrum with points in between feast and famine.

Jeez...so many people here don't read carefully.

Alex said...

Cook - so put yourself on record. How big a % should the military be cut and over what time period?

Robert Cook said...

Synova, wrong again, says:

"Your immediate reaction to Americans helping brown children in Afghanistan (and yes, I *do* mean to include a very blatant racial suggestion there) is that the Americans should not, absolutely NOT, be there doing what they are doing."

You simply can't have such poor reading comprehension...can you?

Lem said...

The reason why the Soviets left Afghanistan had a lot to do with the reasons why they went in. Their conquering and expansionist ideals proved unsustainable.

The longer we appear indecisive there the more it starts to look like we are not there for the reasons rh elocuently stated b4. As Meade said, it does bear repeating.

"The idea was supposed to be to deny radical Islam anywhere on earth to operate with impunity on a large enough scale to do serious damage.

When states won't guarantee that within their borders, we'll have to do it for them

The preference being to get the states to do it.

Which is the goal, not just some abstract idea like spreading democracy.

The leaked Obama design won't work for that - "if you won't take over, we'll leave" being his supposed plan.

So it's a fairly deadly issue of competence that's in question
".

wv desseman

edutcher said...

Alex said...

edutcher - let the EU fund their own defense, and we can slash our military budget by 50%. Not saying to do it overnight, but it should be a huge priority with our gigantic budget deficits!

I'll put Barry right on it. He did such a swell job getting the Euros to reinforce us, this should be a piece of cake.

In any case, for once, I agree with you. The trouble is people have been trying to do this for close to a hundred years (see George, VI, England King, Dunkirk, remarks). It has yet to take effect.

Penny said...

Just talking to myself...

If we give up our role as the world's protector, it would be interesting to see how our European and Asian "allies" respond?

We've been the unofficial leader of this world protection effort for SO long, that the members of our own international "team" don't care enough to follow our lead anymore.

"Pushing on a string" doesn't feel like a good plan.

Kirk Parker said...

"so many people here don't read carefully"

I'll take them over those who have no power of reasoning: e.g. it's not necessary for us to get rid of every last soldier in order for Russia and/or China to gain military dominance; we only need to greatly reduce our forces, just as you called for. At some point (far above zero, mind you) our capabilities will cross over.

Alex said...

At some point (far above zero, mind you) our capabilities will cross over.

Explain to me, why this is a problem. If Russia & China want to bankrupt themselves on the military like we have they're welcome to it!

Alex said...

We've been the unofficial leader of this world protection effort for SO long, that the members of our own international "team" don't care enough to follow our lead anymore.

Did it ever occur to you that to most Americans this is irrelevant! It's the economy stupid!

Penny said...

"Did it ever occur to you that to most Americans this is irrelevant! It's the economy stupid!"

Sure that occurred to me, Alex, and not one of us would ever downplay the importance of a healthy economy. I was just trying to put myself in the President's shoes because he's ultimately responsible for both our economic health and our country's security. The "most Americans" you referred to are clearly not responsible for either.

Synova said...

I figure that "everyone is worried about this" or "everyone is worried about that" is every bit as irrelevant as phone in television polls to determine the guilt of a murderer. If "everyone" is worried about the wrong thing all of their worry isn't going to do any good at all when what they weren't expecting comes to pop them upside the head.

OTOH, the economy is an issue and it's something that people expect the Democrats to be good at, somehow. The old saw is that people vote for Republicans for foreign policy and the Democrats for domestic policy. (Maybe the new saw is different.) So Bush neglected the domestic side of things (for sake of argument) saving his political capital to spend toward trying to win in Iraq.

What has Obama done domestically? (Since we expect him to suck on foreign policy anyhow.) Is he working to improve the economy? Last I saw he was claiming that in relation to the economy and jobs "government can't do everything instantly"... huh? Maybe that just applies to the economy and job creation? Because it sure seems that every thing else he proposes that he claims needs to be done, does in fact, need to be done *right* *now*.

Robert Cook said...

"Robert Cook has a good point about government spending for the common good like police, fire, roads. But Cookie - how does welfare fit into that? That's just redistribution."

No, it's a means by which we can offer help to people who have nowhere else to turn. One might it's the public policy version of Christianity.

Penny said...

"Because it sure seems that every thing else he proposes that he claims needs to be done, does in fact, need to be done *right* *now*."

Oh, come on now, Synova. We both know that's an old trick to get our attention. And it still works! Just not as effectively as it did when we were kids.

Now that he has our attention on this healthcare "stuff", I think we're supposed to sit down and listen to reason or have a family pow wow of sorts.

Synova? Where'd you run off to, girl?

Woo hoo! It's pow wow time!

Synova?

Synova said...

"No, it's a means by which we can offer help to people who have nowhere else to turn. One might it's the public policy version of Christianity."

Sorta kinda like forced conversions and the inquisition for those who don't cooperate. But hey, the *theology* is right and good and saves your soul. What could *possibly* be wrong with making it a law?

Synova said...

"Oh, come on now, Synova. We both know that's an old trick to get our attention. And it still works!"

My dad broke down in belly-laughs when I was yelling "Now!" at my kids. In between laughing he says... "They know they don't have to listen until you say, "now"."

The old coot used to undermine my mom's attempts at discipline too! But back then I was on the receiving end. ;-)

peter hoh said...

I realize that Obama could quiet a few of his critics by throwing more money and more troops at the Afghanistan problem, but I hope that he is pressing for some sort of assurance that doing so will actually serve the interests of the United States, instead of just quieting some critics.

former law student said...

It takes 10 years to train a military person. It takes years to convert industry to equip soldiers.

Maybe to train the backbone of the military, but not everybody. In WW II they turned out officers in only 90 days. My dad was carrying a Garand in combat just weeks after his 17th birthday.

The second sentence is truer than it's ever been: nowadays, even the suppliers of beans boots and bullets have moved overseas. Only Buy American requirements are keeping some suppliers in the country.

Red A said...

The reasons why the US spends so much on its military, say vs. China or Russia.

1. Our salaries are much higher, and so are the benefits.
2. We buy the best equipment made in the USA which is very expensive.

You might as well wonder why a meal costs so little in China versus Paris.

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