Rudderless Obama and General “Scapegoat” McChrystal
Last Saturday, eight American servicemen and two Afghan policemen were killed in a terrorist assault in Afghanistan.
This blow comes at a critical point in the war, when General Stanley McChrystal, the NATO commander, has reportedly asked Barack Hussein Obama for an additional 40,000 US troops in order to beat the Taliban and al-Qaeda. Despite pledges to improve security in Afghanistan, Obama now seems on the fence about fulfilling his commander’s request.
McChrystal has offered a promising strategy for the war. President Obama would be wise to embrace this long view strategy, writes Heritage’s Conn Carroll in the Morning Bell, “and avoid short-sighted policies that undermine our friends in Afghanistan and Pakistan, while encouraging our enemies.”
Americans should pay close attention to the path Obama chooses in Afghanistan, since his decision will prove critical to America’s national security interests, write Heritage Foundation experts Lisa Curtis and James Phillips.
“There appears to be some wishful thinking within the Obama Administration regarding the U.S’s ability to negotiate a political solution with the Taliban,” write Curtis and Phillips. But negotiations have yet to work with al-Qaeda and Taliban, who are now more unified than ever by their anti-Western aims. As Henry Kissinger wrote in Newsweek, “even so-called realists — like me — would gag at a tacit U.S. cooperation with the Taliban in the governance of Afghanistan.”
“If the Obama administration chooses to deny its field commander’s request for more troops and instead seeks to engage Taliban leaders in negotiations with the vain hope that these militants will break from their al-Qaeda allies, the results will likely be disastrous,” warn Curtis and Phillips.
“The struggle to set the future course of the Afghan war is becoming a battle of two books — both suddenly popular among White House and Pentagon brain trusts,” write Peter Spiegel and Jonathon Weisman in the Wall Street Journal.
The two draw decidedly different lessons from the Vietnam War. The first book describes a White House in 1965 being marched into an escalating war by a military viewing the conflict too narrowly to see the perils ahead. President Barack Obama recently finished the book, according to administration officials, and Vice President Joe Biden is reading it now.
The second describes a different administration, in 1972, when a U.S. military that has finally figured out how to counter the insurgency is rejected by political leaders who bow to popular opinion and end the fight.
The two books — “Lessons in Disaster,” on Mr. Obama’s nightstand, and “A Better War” on the shelves of military gurus — have become a framework for the debate over what will be one of the most important decisions of Mr. Obama’s presidency.
After months in office and bringing in a top commander to lead the war in Afghanistan the administration is now reading two books and discussing strategy with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. This provides no comfort to those with loved one on the ground and in the thick of infested Taliban and al-Qaeda provinces. Obama “leadership” is now officially an America disgrace and allies are backing out.
Liberals are forever locked into Vietnam, a war they started and continuously blame on the military although it was micro-managed from Washington DC. It’s becoming one more excuse to hang the fighting American forces out to dry and return in flag draped coffins to families who say fight, supply the troops exactly what they need and get the hell out of the way.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went after General McChrystal and allied forces in Afghanistan, “with all due respect,” for supposedly disrespecting the chain of command. Around the Congressional Democratic Caucus, members refer to General McChrystal as “General MacArthur,” after the commander in Korea sacked by Harry Truman according to the Wall Street Journal.
White House aides have fanned these flames with recent leaks to the media that “officials are challenging” his assessment asking for more troops. In the last two days, the White House National Security Adviser and the Secretary of Defense have both suggested that the general should keep his mouth shut. President Obama called him in Friday for a talking-to on the tarmac at Copenhagen airport.
Though a decorated Army four-star officer, the General’s introduction to Beltway warfare is proving to be brutal. To be fair, Gen. McChrystal couldn’t know that his Commander in Chief would go wobbly so soon on his commitment to him as well as to his own Afghan strategy when he was tapped for the job in April. We’re told by people who know him that Gen. McChrystal “feels terrible” and “had no intention whatsoever of trying to lobby and influence” the Administration. His sense of bewilderment makes perfect sense anywhere but in the political battlefield of Washington. He was, after all, following orders.
In March Obama unveiled his “comprehensive new strategy . . . to reverse the Taliban’s gains and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government.” The so-called “Commander in Chief” pledged to properly resource this “war of necessity,” which he also called during the 2008 campaign “the central front on terror.” Obama sacked his war commander, who had been chosen by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in favor of Gen. McChrystal, an expert in counterinsurgency.
Upon arriving in June, Gen. McChrystal launched his assessment of the forces required to execute the Obama strategy. His confidential study was completed in August and sent to the Pentagon. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Michael Mullen told Congress that more troops would be needed, and a figure of 30,000-40,000 was bandied about.
Non-Generals and non-military experts want to operation a war in Afghanistan on the cheap so they can fund the government takeover for healthcare. The non-experts don’t have a price for dead soldiers, only their families bear the costs of that and the mainstream media wants coffins containing dead military personnel on the evening news for a rating stream.
In fact, the White House is merely revisiting the idea rejected in its “careful policy review” last spring to move from ambitious counterinsurgency to “counterterrorism” that would involve fewer troops and target al Qaeda instead of the Taliban. Vice President Joe Biden champions the change, and Sen. John Kerry and Speaker Pelosi have endorsed it.
The Biden faction says changes in the region justify a U-turn: An expanded U.S. force would merely be fighting a motley group of insurgents who aren’t planning the next 9/11. This is partly true, but the links between the Taliban and al Qaeda are longstanding, particularly in the Pashtun areas of the south. If America pulls back and lets Mullah Omar create a Talibanistan in Helmand and Kandahar, al Qaeda operatives will soon follow.
As we’ve learned the hard way in Iraq and Afghanistan, successful counterterrorism requires intelligence. This comes from earning the trust of the people, which in turn can only happen if they are protected. The Biden approach would pull U.S. soldiers back behind high walls, far from the field of battle, and turns security over to the Afghan army and police before they are prepared for the job.
When you hire top people to run an operation in the military or in business it’s not prudent to then attempt to display your ego and arrogance and micro-manage the real experts. Joe Biden, John Kerry and the Leftist ilk in Washington are clueless when it comes down to anything military.
I don’t care how many committees, how many briefings, how many meetings politicians in their ivory towers sit on for 2 hours or 40 years, they are not true experts on military strategy.
Lives are at stake and Obama has already sent a few forces to live and fight in a God foresaken land where the enemy surrounds our young men and women who are helpless if the ilk in Washington don’t immediately listen to the expert 4-Star General Stanley McChrystal and not use him as a scapegoat for change our armed forces will die for.
It’s not time for Gen. McChrystal to “shut up”, it’s time for the creatures in the Beltway to “shut up”, listen and then get out of the way. Indeed!