November 11, 2009

"Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton are coalescing around a proposal to send 30,000 or more additional American troops to Afghanistan..."

... but Obama hasn't coalesced with them yet, supposedly....
... President Obama remains unsatisfied with answers he has gotten about how vigorously the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan would help execute a new strategy, administration officials said Tuesday.

Mr. Obama is to consider four final options in a meeting with his national security team on Wednesday, his press secretary, Robert Gibbs, told reporters. The options outline different troop levels, other officials said, but they also assume different goals — including how much of Afghanistan the troops would seek to control — and different time frames and expectations for the training of Afghan security forces.
He must go through his famous thoughtfulness routine....

62 comments:

vbspurs said...

Four months and counting...McChrystal must be pulling out his hair at the dilatoriness of his superiors. And I presume the decision won't come until at least 8 days later, after the President returns from his Asian State Visits.

Cheers,
Victoria

Montagne Montaigne said...

It could be a routine or it could be, ya know, actually taking his job seriously.

Rather than asserting that it's a routine (and therefore fake, right?) it would be nice if you tried to tease out the reasons you think it's fake. Your Obama criticism is harder and harder to respond to, other than just calling it BS, because there's no substance to it. You are just repeating over and over that Obama Sux.

MadisonMan said...

I will agree that sending more troops to Afghanistan might not be helpful if the Afghani and Pakistani governments aren't doing as much as they can to assist.

But I wonder if they'll ever to as much as they can to assist.

TMink said...

If the foreign governments are not helping, how does this change things? It seems to me that a lack of a diplomatic soloution makes the choices less instead of more complicated. Afghanistan is a dangerous boil that needs to be lanced either way.


I wish he had been this thoughtful about ANY of the domestic initiatives he has been attempting to push through.
Trey

Patm said...

Ah, the "thoughtfulness" routine. I'm beginning to think the "thoughtfulness" routine, aside from being a stall while he wets his pants, is simply meant to insure that every conceivable PR point has been covered, the correct media narrative has been established and digested and so forth.

In an era of Mad Men, we have ourselves a Madison Avenue President. All shine, no substance. I'm so disgusted.

George Galt said...

He must go through his famous thoughtfulness routine....

Translation: Althouse must go through her infamous Obama-hating routine.

Patm said...

"I wish he had been this thoughtful about ANY of the domestic initiatives he has been attempting to push through. "

The press is already in place on those domestic issues, but their anti-war; Obama has to be very careful to keep the press on his side, he thinks.

He does not have to worry. They'll tumble for him.

garage mahal said...

Thinking again? Idiot. We're so screwed.

AllenS said...

Looks like it's three against one.

WV: gutbom

Wow.

miller said...

Uh, Althouse voted for the guy. I doubt that she "hates" him.

Maybe she is just exercising her rights as a citizen (& not a subject) to criticize her elected leaders?

The Man-child President is not king & should not be immune from simple criticism and observation: he dithers and ducks hard decisions. He blasts police officers without factual basis and yet is a nervous nellie when it comes to admitting that the massacre at Ft. Hood was an act of SJS - Sudden Jihadi Syndrome.

He's not a President - he's just marking time until his next book is released: You can't spell 'Messiah' without 'ME'

(props to the original poster on that one.)

Bissage said...

Coalesce.

Right now.

Over me.

MadisonMan said...

Look at the time! And on 11/11!

Superdad said...

Perhaps someone should tell him that he is not the chief executive (required to make decisions) and no longer part of the great deliberative body called the senate.

He may wanted better information but the world is not perfect. Sometimes you have to make decisions based on the best information available. Its called leadership.

SteveR said...

Assume no help from anyone.

Superdad said...

opps - should be "is the chief executive"

rdkraus said...

His problem is what it has always been. All during the campaign, and for months after becoming President, he designated Afghanistan the war of necessity, the war we had to win, the war Bush should have been fighting when he was wasting time in Iraq.

Now it is time to act on his own words. He is thoughtfully taking time to discover how he can do the opposite of what he's been saying, run away and hide, and not have anyone notice. It is a tough chore. This will take an especially good speech, no? Maybe a powerpoint presentation would help?

Incidentally, I'm in favor of an immediate pullout. So, I probably agree with what he secretly wanted all alone. It's just that I never said otherwise, like he did.

If you'll say anything to get elected, anything to look strong and Presidential, there may come a day when you're expected to act on your words.

MadisonMan said...

Trey, if Afghans and Pakistanis aren't being helpful, that would influence how many American troops are needed. I'm guessing. At least that's what I'd be considering if I were President.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Thinking again? Idiot. We're so screwed.

Sam Gerard: Newman? What are you doing?

Newman: I'm thinking.

Sam Gerard: You're thinking. Well how about you think me up one of those donuts with the sprinkles on it while you're thinking.

The Fugitive 1993

bearbee said...

He's not a President - he's just marking time until his next book is released: You can't spell 'Messiah' without 'ME'

And the Nobel Peace Prize ..... uh, when it is going to be presented, already?!

To all the veterans: Happy Veterans Day.

O/T Google restored the 'search' button.

Chase said...

one of those donuts with the sprinkles

Just picked up a dozen chocolate iced with sprinkles from Krsipy Kreme for the office this morning.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm donuts ,aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

miller said...

"In related news today, President Dither was unable to decide whether he wanted the meat or the fish alternative for dinner..."

traditionalguy said...

The best decision is to withdraw ASAP. The next best decision is to send 100,000 more troops and their support personnel into a defensible areas of the country as a base from which we can threaten the Pashtoun held mountain valleys on one side and Iran on the other side. The worst by far decision is to place 30,000 more troops out on a string in Ambush Valley after Ambush Valley to save Pashtouns who have always been at war with their central government and enjoy the challenge to kill infidels by stealth Mountain Guerrila ambushes combined with and Iranian supplied IEDs every few miles along every road.

vbspurs said...

I thought there might be a blogpost with a photo of an US flag in Madison, so I was saving this up but...HAPPY VETERANS' DAY!!!

Thanks to all the veterans here and everywhere for helping to keep this country safe!

Meade said...

traditionalguy said...
The best decision is to withdraw ASAP.

Wouldn't that be incongruent with what the President said yesterday?:

"In today's wars, there is not always a simple ceremony that signals our troops' success - no surrender papers to be signed, or capital to be claimed. But the measure of their impact is no less great - in a world of threats that no know borders, it will be marked in the safety of our cities and towns, and the security and opportunity that is extended abroad."

k*thy said...

I vote to get the hell out.

ricpic said...

The Commander In Chief who has publicly stated that he is uncomfortable with the concept of victory has also declared Afghanistan to be a necessary war. As surreal as everything else about this complete fraud.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I vote to get the hell out.

Burke: Look, this facility has a substantial dollar value attached to it.

Ripley: They can bill me.

Burke: Ripley, he can't make that kind of decision he's just a grunt....um...no offense.

Cpl. Hicks: None taken. Ferro do you copy? We're going to need immediate evac. I say we take off, nuke the site from orbit. Its the only way to make sure.

Aliens, 1987

traditionalguy said...

Meade...So let's compromise and implement my Second Best strategy opinion. The political fallout from the opposition party will be a worry for Obama, but the American people are smart enough to get it if he will do the right thing. My fear is that Obama and Pelossi hate the military so much that they will do the worst thing that this story suggests is his likely plan. The best strategy to win is to attack...but the enemy wont stay in one place to be attacked in a guerilla war in the mountains in the middle of nowhere with no value to us except bragging rights. The Al Queada planners are smart enough to operate camps in Somalia or Sudan or even Venezuela. My best guess on Al Queda's next operation is back into Iraq again. That's where we need our forces.

Scott M said...

it will be marked in the safety of our cities and towns, and the security and opportunity that is extended abroad."

I wonder if the President or anyone on his staff realizes how Orwellian that quote is. I heard that comment too and instantly thought of the book's propaganda that aimed at keeping the country in perpetual hostilities.

The libertarian in me wants everyone home now, Europe included (let them put their own local economies back together without US Taxpayer support).

The conservative in me realizes how unrealistic and long-distance damaging pullouts are. I confronted a hippie (easily identified by clothing, hair, and hygiene, or the lack thereof) wanting a pullout NOW from Iraq (circa 2004). I asked him if he meant tonight and he said yes.

I asked him if he understood what a pogrom was. He didn't have a good answer.

Maguro said...

I'm sure Obama is tempted to just get the hell out. He's a pacifist by nature and seems to believe that most of the world's problems are caused by American arrogance and stupidity, so just withdrawing and letting the Afghans sort out their own problems must appeal to him.

The problem is that an American withdrawal would have unforeseen consequences throughout the region. What will happen to the Pakistani government if we pull out? What will Iran do? Would a Taliban victory in Afdghanistan revive Al Quaeda's sinking fortunes in the region? How about the Russians and the Chinese? And lots of unknown unknowns besides that. Obama would be taking responsibility for all that if he decides to pull out, so there's quite an incentive for him to stay the course.

Finally, if we stay, he can continue to blame Bush for fucking up the war and leaving him a mess, whereas if we pull out he owns the decision by himself.

Considering all that, he'll eventually approve the 30,000 troops after a long thoughtful, super-caring pause.

Cedarford said...

rdkraus - Incidentally, I'm in favor of an immediate pullout. So, I probably agree with what he secretly wanted all alone. It's just that I never said otherwise, like he did.

Yep, that's The One's problem. He campaigned for two years on how he was strident about pulling out of an unwinnable Iraq War like yesterday so he could Win the War of Necessity, pour troops in who were "diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq:, and of course FIND BIN LADEN(liberal Dem trademark talking point).

But he didn't mean a word of what he said.

Pity, too, because his instincts are right on this one...Americans have no appetite for endless wars to "free the noble people" of nations that in return for "freeing the freedom-lovers!!" then begin killing any American they can if they think they can get away with it.

It might be worth it if Afghanistan had ANYTHING of geostrategic importance to us...but it doesn't...So as is, it is of even less importance than Vietnam, with a far harder guerilla threat, and no logistics path in except by Vlad Putin's whim or our pals the Pakistanis (where Binnie actually is thought to be)

edutcher said...

Montagne Montaigne said...

It could be a routine or it could be, ya know, actually taking his job seriously.

FDR decided the course of WWII in the Pacific in 2 hours. And I do believe more lives were at stake then.

In any case, the Healer-In-Chief (according to AP) is voting "present" yet again. One might have hoped Fort Hood would have decided it for him, but, apparently, no...

MadisonMan said...

Trey, if Afghans and Pakistanis aren't being helpful, that would influence how many American troops are needed.

Last I looked, the Paks were kicking ass. The Afghans need some more training, but, then, so did the ROKs during the Korean War. By the time 'Nam came along, the usual reaction of US troops was, "Thank God, they're on our side".

traditionalguy said...

The best decision is to withdraw ASAP. The next best decision is to send 100,000 more troops and their support personnel into a defensible areas of the country as a base from which we can threaten the Pashtoun held mountain valleys on one side and Iran on the other side.

By all means. We need the Taliban to set up a safe haven for Al Qaeda. And the strategic hamlets thing was tried by the Russkis, I believe. Didn't work too well.

WV "warines" Nasty marines (airborne?)

miller said...

Don't expect a decision from President Dither anytime soon. He's getting tired keeping his finger up in the wind.

AllenS said...

Sorry, Miller, but that finger you see isn't up there to find out the wind direction.

traditionalguy said...

edutcher...If there are no safe areas in Afghanistan for 180,000 troops to be based outside of the mountains, then why would we want to send our forces out into the unforgiving mountain terrain where fire comes down from everywhere above which will be like refighting hundreds of mini Iwo Jimas for years to come for no reason except bragging rights.

John Lynch said...

All this coalescing and coming together. Decision making as the early solar system. People converging in a great word cloud of hot gas.

Ah, phoney balogna. The President makes the decision. He's perfectly capable, as we've seen, of making large changes happen quickly.

On Afghanistan, there seems to be a large party invested in a strategy that didn't work in Iraq, and didn't work in Afghanistan, either. Why repeat the same mistake of expecting the Afghan government to fix all its problems? If it could, we wouldn't be there, would we? You cannot build a government or army in an environment without security.

If Bush was to blame for not sending enough troops to Afghanistan, why then are so many people who opposed him advocating the same strategy? We are not going to win by sitting around in bases or playing whack-a-mole with the enemy. Drones and raids cannot take and hold territory nor protect civilians. Simply killing the enemy while allowing him to control the daily lives of Afghans will lead to defeat.

For people who think we can simply kill enough of the enemy to make him quit, I'd remind them that 1.1 million VC and NVA never went home. And they still won.

If we aren't going to properly support the war effort, then we're just throwing lives away, ours and the Afgans'. I'm all for taking an appropriate amount of time to make a decision this important, but it's beginning to seem like the war is not being taken seriously at all, rather than the reverse. A country of 25 million and our entire armed forces are being put on the back burner.

wv logic

really, it is "logic"

mccullough said...

The "thoughtful" meme would be more credible if Obama had ever made a tough decision in his career.

But voting present all the time shows his pattern: He cannot stand by a tough decision.

Also, if he decides to increase the troops (not saying he should) the biggest (and only) support he'll get is from most of the Republicans in Congress, which makes 10 times more uncomfortable.

He should stop floating trial balloons and waiting for the polls to improve. He has all the information he's ever going to have.

Decide.

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

One way the Afgans are helping is to allow us to conduct a war designed to improve our security in their country. Not much of a country by our standards, I know, but it's what they've got. So I give them quite a bit of credit for that.

As to corruption, administrative confusion and military weakness in their society, we knew that going in.

There's a huge difference between Afghanistan and Iraq. The Iraquis have a broad and deep educated class, a more open and mobile society, more familiarity with the west, better infrastructure, a significant source of wealth and a more favorable geography and climate.

Obama knew--or should have known--of the weaknesses in Afgan society when he made the conflict a priority. He and his people seem surprised by the obvious right now.

From Inwood said...

Alas poor Obama, I knew him well.

Hamlet as The Thinker.

Obama has pre-PTSD.

It's funny that when the Dems don't know whether to spend $20,000,000, $40,000,000, or
$60,000,000 on a social problem, they coalesce around something like $120,000,000.

Or when the Military guys don't know what to do with Maj H, that is, to discipline him, to deny him promotion, or to cashier him, they just let things roll on as they were.

LarsPorsena said...

Adm Mike Mullen.....is it just me or does anybody else see the irony of an admiral in charge of a ground war in a landlocked country?

jaltcoh said...

Was Bush going through a "thoughtfulness routine" when he was considering whether to have a surge in Iraq?

edutcher said...

traditionalguy said...

edutcher...If there are no safe areas in Afghanistan for 180,000 troops to be based outside of the mountains, then why would we want to send our forces out into the unforgiving mountain terrain where fire comes down from everywhere above which will be like refighting hundreds of mini Iwo Jimas for years to come for no reason except bragging rights.

Nowhere in a combat zone is safe, hence the name. Your assumption is based on the premise that every Afghan hates (not true) and that we would suffer the same fate as the Russkis (who are really lousy fighters (No, Montagne, I'm not forgetting WWII)) which is not likely, given how successful we've been so far.

We have fought in mountains before and won (Luzon, Arizona, Montana, etc.)As for Iwo, with all respect to the former Marines out there, thankfully, Chester Nimitz and "Howlin' Mad" Smith aren't calling the shots on this.

Alex said...

Actually I say pull all the troops out now! Keep the Bagram Air Base, and a carrier in the Persian Gulf. We can continue Predator drones and air attacks with no loss of American life! The American people overwhelmingly support withdrawal.

Alex said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_public_opinion_on_the_war_in_Afghanistan#Growing_American_opposition_to_the_war

A majority 57% of Americans now oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan, while only 42% still support it.

No wonder Obama's approval rating is dropping like a rock!

Alex said...

"Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan?" Date Favor Oppose Unsure
Sep. 11- 13, 2009 39% 58% 3%
Aug. 28 - Aug. 31, 2009 42% 57% 2%

Consistently high 50s opposed!

AllenS said...

50+% oppose no plan.

Ralph L said...

Mullen ain't in charge, he just advises SECDEF and POTUS. Petraeus and McChrystal are actually in the chain of command.

Air Force Gen Myers was Chairman for the first two years of Iraq, not that things improved when a Jarhead took over.

Joe said...

This has already become another Vietnam. There is no real strategy except a vague peacemaking mission and attempting to keep a neighbor from destabilizing. We'll stay several more years and when we leave and the place will look little different than when we arrived. Unfortunately, thousands of American soldiers would have died for the status quo.

(Other parallels include a completely corrupt government propped up by western support fighting an idealogical enemy that doesn't care about losses. I think we actually had a better chance in Vietnam. [We will NEVER win in Afghanistan unless we go Ghengis Khan on their asses and that isn't going to happen.])

traditionalguy said...

edutcher...The name Afghanistan drawn on a map does not a country make. There are areas where the Kaubal government has never had any authority that stretch across the ink on paper line called a border into the same area but named Pakistan on the British Empire's Maps. So why do we want to police that part of the world again? See, David's comment @1:42. Bragging rights are not needed that bad after 8 years of fooling around. Let's tell the Pakistan Army to clear out their Pashtoun Tribal Mountain strongholds and come on over to join up with us around Kaubal while we still have an Army left for them to join. Otherwise we need to have our Army survive to guard our real interests that include the world's oil supply choke points which is not hiding in any caves in the Afh/Pak mountains.

Alex said...

Joe - those 1000s of soldiers are screaming from the great beyond for justice against Bush & Obama.

John Lynch said...

It's not Vietnam because we haven't lost yet.

edutcher said...

tg, this has nothing to do with bragging rights. It's a strategic issue - don't allow the Taliban to occupy several sparsely populated provinces to set up a mini-state.

As I noted before, the Paks are doing a good job on their side of the border (take a look at strategypage.com some time) and we're hardly in a 'Nam situation. The bad guys are in no position to overrun the country and, unless The Zero allows it, not even the Russians are going to be setting up bases for them in a safe haven.

Simple fact of history, most insurgencies fail. We left 'Nam because the pro-Communist left in this country did everything it could to support the Communist cause and it's tough to win a fight like that - too many traitors in your rear. Granted LBJ, like Bambi and unlike Dubya, dithered and didn't want to face the fact that he needed to win that war, but the British, fighting a similar conflict in Malaya, won handily. Everything you say was said about Iraq four years ago.

You said, "while we still have an Army left for them to join". For Christ's sake, you make it sound like the Bulge or Bataan. Nothing could be further from the truth and I would hope you know that.

As to the fact that we shouldn't soil our little patties with a corrupt government, what in God's name do you think Bambi and Pelosi Galore are running these days in DC?

Oh, and Alex, if you want to quote polls, consider that the American Revolution never had the support of more than one-third of the American people at any given time.

John Lynch said...

I keep hearing how the war is overstressing and destroying the military.

This is odd, since war is what the military is intended for. It seems to me that if the military isn't big enough to complete the mission the civilian leadership has set for it, then we need a bigger military. Or, the civilian leadership needs to restate the mission. The military is ultimately a tool to achieve a goal.

Defeat will destroy the volunteer force far more comprehensively than multiple deployments. Morale is important, and soldiers will wonder why their buddies are dying in a war no one is interested in winning.

The US Army took a decade to recover from the defeat in Vietnam. If we'd had a conventional war in the 1970s or early 80s, we'd have lost. The military is made up of human beings, and they like to win. They don't like fighting and dying for nothing. So far morale hasn't collapsed, but anecdotal rumblings from the front are getting more negative.

traditionalguy said...

edutcher...I hope that you are right and another 8 years will be enough. I hear that another 40 years is a better estimate of how long it will take to convert the Pashtuns into middle class Americans that like to live more than they like to die in a fight to the death over who controls their Mountains. Do you remember how long was it until the Olympics bomber came in from the cold in the Fontana Damn Area of western NC's Smokies. About 8 years I believe. He was only one man being hunted diligently by thousands of Federales and locals law officers who knew the local population already.

traditionalguy said...

Just in...The Commander-in-Chief has rejected all advice he has recieved and wants more study on how soon we can pull out. That's good news, if it's true.

John Lynch said...

It's odd that people forget that Nixon was the one elected to "end" the war in Vietnam, and he was reelected by a landslide when he succeeded in doing so.

The antiwar hippies didn't vote for him, either.

Ralph L said...

That isn't quite accurate, John Lynch. Our ground forces were largely withdrawn by Nov. 72, but we were doing plenty of bombing until Jan 73, when "peace" was declared. Twenty years ago, I worked for an AF LtCol who'd been shot down in the Christmas bombing.

JAL said...

Tradguy -- Rudolph was picked up dumpster diving.

But true. He was there (with some help, no doubt, a long time.

A friend (tree cop with National Forest) spent some time in the woods with the FBI most of whom were not woodsy folks.

JAL said...

Don't I recall that Obama made a big -- and I mean a big -- deal over how he was going in and find Osama bin Laden because Bush had blown it and wasted all that tinme and money on Iraq.

Obama was the man and he was going to make it happen right away.

Until he forgot to.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Thinking again? Idiot. We're so screwed.


Ripley: Nash, any suggestions from you or Mother?

Ash: No, we're still collating.

Ripley: What? You're still collating? I find that hard to believe.

Ash: Well what would you have me do?

Ripley: Just what you've been doing Ash, nothing.

Alien, 1979

Methadras said...

garage mahal said...

Thinking again? Idiot. We're so screwed.


What level of nuance is required for master to finally come to a conclusion on what needs to be done, hmm? It's not so much the level of his thinking that is the problem, but rather the time it is taking him to come to a decision. He isn't apt to think to deeply about this problem, because frankly he is to dumb to understand the problem. Furthermore, that is coupled with his utter hatred of anything militaristic as demonstrated by his paralytic inability to act. He projects the air of meaningful and deliberate thought to a request that was already deliberated and thought upon and contains a conclusion for solving a problem and yet doesn't act.

Does he have an alternate solution? Does he have a better solution? If either of these conditions are true he has neither forwarded an answer to either nor has he intimated or even demonstrated that he has reached a conclusion to either. Therefore one can conclude that he either doesn't care and/or doesn't understand the the problem at hand and in the face of that conundrum would rather not act or make a decision lest he be perceived as looking like he made a wrong one. He's splunge.